As the school year opens and vacations come to a close, we’ve noticed an increase in our weekly attendance worship. As a matter of fact a few weeks ago we saw the highest number of people in worship since the pandemic began. It was crazy joyful! Here is a photo from last week, which was slightly down from that.
As the Session has followed this trend since late July, we’ve been praying and seeking to discern whether or not to add another service to accommodate more people. This was a conversation we began before summer vacations started.
We have decided that rather than run into a scenario where we have to turn people away, we are going to proactively accommodate this trend with sanctified optimism that the Lord is bringing his people back to worship. This opens up some possibilities for us. First, I’ll give you the plan and then I’ll give you some explanation.
- Starting Sept. 13
- 9 am Service – Current Protocols (Temperature Checks, Social Distancing, Face Coverings during entry, exit, and singing)
- 10:45 Service – Face Coverings Optional (All other protocols in place, such as Temp. Checks, and Social Distancing)
- Other Things Affected
- Adult Bible Hour – 9:30
- Youth – Taylor will contact families to work out the details
- Toddler Nursery – we will evaluate the need and come up with a plan. We have been offering during the Sermon.
The 2 sets of protocols might lead to some concerns. For instance:
- Will this be opportunity for judging or more division in the body?
- Does this violate what we previously taught on the matter?
To answer the question on judging, either outwardly or in our hearts, Romans 14 repeatedly tells us not to “quarrel over opinions” nor to “judge one another” in these matters. I pray that y’all will follow our Lord in this. And that is all I’ll say about that.
As to the question of our previous decision, here is an abbreviated progression of our rationale. A fuller explanation is offered in the video below.
- Our priority has always been to allow the maximum number of people to worship and Glorify our Lord together. That has been our driving focus. It was cited in March when we went to Livestream, in May when we worshiped outside, in June when we moved inside, and in July when we added protocols.
- While many factors certainly were discussed as it relates to face coverings, the driving force of our decision was a consideration that this is an issue that is not agreed up on the body. If the body were unified in its feeling on this, then it would have been easy.
- We were not willing to divide the body based on an issue the body was disagreeing over, believing that the body is called to be together and view their unity in Christ as more important than their differences on an issue. We looked at Scripture like Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8 & 9, and Philippians 1 & 2.
- 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5)
- So, we came up with a way that we believe honored a way for the body to come together and worship our King, that honored both viewpoints and in doing so caused everybody to have to give up a little in order to worship as a body.
- At this point, as we saw before the Summer, we believe we need another service based on our current attendance pushing the limits of the space of our building.
- If we are going to have 2 Services, we can offer them in way that loves our brothers and sisters in Christ on both sides of this issue. Our goal was never to force a viewpoint on anyone and still isn’t, but to enable people to worship.
- If it turns out that the Session is wrong in the direction we believe we have been led to go and we don’t actually need the space that 2 services afford us, we will go back to 1 Service, because the Body is called to be together. That will mean that once again the Session will have to enact protocols that enable the body to worship.
Meadowview, I hope you are encouraged by what the Lord is doing within our body.
If you haven’t been attending for any reason, I pray this change will enable you to attend. We are called to “come together as the Church” (1 Cor 11:18, 14:23) and worship together. (1 Corinthians 11,14) Hebrews 10:24-25, Acts 2:42-47) We believe that our numbers warrant the change to 2 services anyway. But, we hope that in this change it also enables those of you who are staying away because of COVID an even safer more spread out space in the 9 am Service and for those of you who have stayed away because of face coverings the 10:45 offers you the freedom you are seeking. In neither case is there “Judgement” (Romans 14) nor “Condemnation” (Romans 8). We are free in Christ. Let us express that in congregated Worship.
I love you very much Meadowview, but praise be to God He loves us so much more!
This video is a more full explanation and some teaching on this.