Greetings GracePoint family,
The question that remains before us is “when will we resume in-person services?” Your elders have exhausted themselves trying to answer this question. The pandemic places us in a very complex situation and there are no simple answers. The following points are those we continue to come back to:
- GracePoint should comply with the state guidelines.
“Let every person be subject to governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Rom 13:1-2 ESV
Christians do not have the luxury of selecting the laws and guidelines to obey. When one starts to pick and choose which laws or guidelines to submit to, it becomes a slippery slope. Notice, there are no exceptions or conditions given in this passage. Remember, when Romans 13 was written, Caesar (Nero) and the authorities in Rome were persecutors of the church. We can be certain that some of the laws were used for selfish (political) ambition and the level of corruption was high.
Regarding the question of why we are not regathering in person, some people ask us, “What are you afraid of, the virus? Of dying? Of what other people think?” Our answer: No, but we do fear God. It is a matter of faith to submit to God and His Word. We believe that through this submission, He will both protect and strengthen GracePoint. Again, we acknowledge that there are times when we “must obey God rather than men” per Acts 5:29. But in our present situation, the authorities are not preventing the proclamation of the gospel or public assembly and therefore we do not have Scriptural mandate for civil disobedience.
- The guidelines for religious places of worship, though necessary, are burdensome.
Under Phase 2, which Grant County is currently in, the maximum number of attendees we can have in one room is 58, and, of course, they must be distanced and masked. Overflow of the 58 would be seated in another room, which would be set up and technologically equipped. Or we can have a second service which would require vinyl chairs that could be sanitized. The manpower required to set up, sanitize, and monitor is extensive for the benefit of being in one room for one hour per week. Therefore, to be practical, the cost to benefit ratio is quite high. But being practical does not mean we are not spiritual. Rather, we only have so much human and financial capital.
- GracePoint should focus on mission
Auxano, a consulting firm that serves churches throughout the country, recently asked in a webinar; “what if regathering everyone onsite for worship shouldn’t be the highest priority of your leadership right now? What then might happen if we shifted the focus from getting everyone in one room, to getting everyone in one heart and mind about mission?” These questions capture the essence of your elders thinking. Resuming in-person meetings will not “fix” the deficiencies in the church. Throughout the pandemic, we have been asking ourselves, “what is God is trying to teach GracePoint?”
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and show perfect courtesy toward all people……And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.” Titus 3:1-2,14 ESV
We, as leaders, think GracePoint can be better and we are discussing how to encourage and facilitate the execution of our mission and we will be in communication about this soon.
Given these considerations, the GracePoint elders are resolved to not resume in-person meetings until the pandemic has been sufficiently mitigated.
What you can do now.
It is crucial, now more than ever, that each of us find ways to connect with one another.
- Connect with Prayer. The prayers of the righteous are effective.
- Connect with the Word. Both in your daily reading and with Gary’s sermons.
- Connect with people. Use every safe means possible to reach out to others every day.
- Connect with our communications. Check your mailbox, email, social media, and our website often.
In Christ’s love,
The Elders of GracePoint Church
Bill Correll ∙ Wes Crago ∙ Dave Gossett ∙ Kevin Guinn ∙ Dave Johnson ∙ Gary Nock