Many years ago, I heard a statement that has stuck like glue to my soul. “God is not so much concerned about what happens to us as He is what happens within us.” Of course, God IS concerned about what happens to us but I took the statement to mean that His ultimate objective for us is not external happiness but internal holiness- not comfort but character. These statements can seem like refrigerator magnet mottos until life gets hard and it hurts. Then we have to dig deep and find out from where we get our life, identity and strength. It’s my prayer you are spending more time with Jesus than you ever have before during these days of pandemic. And in communing with Him, He has been speaking to you and re-shifting the priorities of your heart. As the above Scripture reveals, spending time with Jesus changes us. The confidence that the religious leaders noticed in Peter and John was a confidence fashioned from the crucible of life experiences lived out with Jesus.
Has God been speaking to you in recent days? Has He begun to identify areas of your life that need to change? Has He revealed His sovereignty and love for you? Has He shown you that….He’s got this? The days we spend with Jesus during the pandemic are going to reap huge rewards afterwards. I look forward to seeing what kinds of changes God has made in us from the days apart. I look forward to seeing how these external circumstances have shifted internal priorities, character and passion. May Jesus use these days of isolation and social re-shifting to deepen our dependency upon Him!
Speaking of the future, as I mentioned in last week’s post, the Church Council (CC) met this week to begin discussing plans to return to campus activities. Even though we are in the initial stages of formulating a plan, I can pass along the following information:
1) We will look to the governor’s office as a basis for making decisions about Sunday and midweek ministry activities. In other words, our decisions will not be made independent from what the governor’s office and health officials recommend. We will also place a high priority on what Davis County and Layton City officials recommend.
2) Once the governor’s office gives the green light for groups up to 100 to meet (and local officials affirm), we will resume adult worship services on Sunday
mornings. In order to stay within the 100 limit, we will provide two different worship services, most likely at 9am and 11am. Sunday School, Nursery and Kids Worship will be added at a later time.
3) Concerning Sunday gatherings, the auditorium chairs will be arranged in such a way to accommodate social distancing. We will also work to implement
touchless entry and exit points. Multiple hand sanitizing stations have been purchased and will be placed throughout the building. Diligent efforts will be made to wipe down high traffic/touch points between the services. Snacks and drinks will be discontinued until the governor’s office lifts any limitations on public gatherings. Offerings will be received through placement in boxes at entry and exit points. Online giving will still be available.
4) Sunday morning live streaming will still be available for those who feel uncomfortable returning to the corporate worship service. We recognize that our senior adults and those with underlying health issues may not feel comfortable returning to the large group gatherings until a later date. Please know that we respect your decision to remain at home and prefer that you not attend until you have peace about it.
5) In order to ensure the safety of our families, we have decided to cancel all in person, face-to-face children’s ministries for the summer. Until the governor’s office removes the new 20-person limit for groups (and local officials affirm), we are encouraging children’s ministries to maintain activities through online connections.
6) Off Campus Life Groups (under 20 people) are ok to meet as long as careful consideration is given to those who are in the high-risk category and social
distancing is both possible and practical. Where social distancing is not practical and members at higher risk are not comfortable meeting yet, we would encourage groups to continue to meet online.
7) We humbly ask that you use common sense and pay attention to your physical health. If you are experiencing symptoms of sickness that might include a fever, shortness of breath, coughing or achiness, we ask that you avoid weekly gatherings (on campus or off). Plain and simple, if you or your children are sick, please stay home.
We realize that we cannot eliminate all risks of infection and at some point must trust God with our health concerns. However, a common theme the CC shared was that we provide as safe an environment as possible for our members as we return to the new normal. We want to maintain the highest level of safety protocols for all members but especially our vulnerable population, which includes senior adults and those with underlying health issues. We also acknowledged that this is going to be a staged return that requires time and patience. Even though our corporate life changed dramatically during the course of a few days in March, it will probably take several months for us to resume normal activities. With the “long game” in mind, please pray for the CC as we seek to interpret all of the information available on this subject, seeking to discern God’s road map for MV. If you have questions (or suggestions) for the CC, please call or email our church office at (801)771-3204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“….regardless of the circumstance we find ourselves in now, the God who led us will lead us - and the God who fed us will feed us – and that at the end of the day, He will bring every single one of us - safely home.”
Jesus Loves Us,