FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART
The exciting news of the day seems to be that some governors are beginning to lift or lessen the “stay-at-home” orders related to COVID-19 on businesses and individuals. At the same time, other governors and city leaders in major metropolitan areas are extending the time and/or expanding the restrictions within more heavily populated regions. A difficult and delicate decision is facing the nation, as we try to find a balance between economic health and public safety.
Within the state of Tennessee, we are seeing a duality of regulations. Governor Lee announced that the statewide “stay-at-home” order would expire on April 30th. However, the Memphis and Shelby County mayors are extending their orders to May 5th. Even as the businesses are re-opening, they are doing so under strict guidelines designed to limit occupancy and avoid overcrowding. We are still a long way from a return to “business as usual.”
There are just as many questions facing the leaders of our churches as government officials, since we share a common desire to resume the routine of life in a safe manner. Pastors are anxious for their congregations to return for corporate worship, but we do not want to do so at the expense of the health and wellbeing of our people. Even churches that have found alternate means of maintaining worship services are ready for the return to that sense of fellowship and family that cannot be duplicated by drive-in church, live streaming video or recordings.
The highest priority of Cordova Baptist Church is to be found pleasing to the Lord and obedient to His Word. As Christians, we are instructed to submit to those in authority over us (1 Peter 2:13-17) and to be good citizens (Romans 13:1-7), knowing that our conduct reflects upon Christ. As a family, the safety of our members is also a very high priority for us. For these reasons, we are going to follow the directives from our local mayors and delay resuming our worship services until after May 5th. Tentatively, our first worship service together will be on Mother’s Day, May 10th. My advice is that every member uses their good judgment in determining whether or not they should be in attendance on that day. We will only have our 10:30 a.m. Worship Service that first week. We will follow the practices put in place at our last gathering: no hugs or hand shaking; no passing of bulletins or offering plates; and, keeping safe distances apart in the sanctuary. Feel free to wear a mask and/or gloves to the service, if that makes you more comfortable. In the event that these plans change, you will be notified in advance. I am looking forward to preaching once again to people, not just pews!
Serving in love,