Coronavirus Update from Pastor Ryan
Friday, May 8, 2020
Our Plans for Regathering as a Church Family
As you know, we have willingly canceled all on-campus and in-person ministry gatherings for our church and school for the past two months. This has been a very difficult season of ministry, but we gladly did this out of a heart of love for our community, a concern for the health of our church families and those we could come into contact with, and respect for our governmental leaders. We are grateful for the unique doors of ministry that God has opened during this crisis, but we long to meet together again.
Initially, we were told that it might be two weeks to “flatten the curve.” Then, that was increased to thirty days, with the stay-at-home order eventually extended through May 1st. Last week, as the May 1st date arrived, our governor revealed additional details regarding his four-phase plan to reopen the state. While daycare centers and schools could start opening up very soon as part of Phase Two, in-person church services were categorized by our governor with personal care businesses like gyms and salons, which he stated would be “months, not weeks” away from opening as part of Phase Three. It was suggested that it could be toward the end of summer or into Fall before he would allow churches to gather again.
As I see the spiritual and emotional needs of our congregation, consider my God-given calling as a pastor, and weigh the reality of the virus in Orange County, we do not believe that continuing with online-only services for months is an acceptable option for our church. Simply put, as the pastor of Liberty, I cannot, in good conscience before God, oblige an indefinite, months-long continued shutdown of our church gatherings. Understanding the biblical mandate for the local church to assemble, and understanding our Constitutional rights in America to assemble, the leadership of our ministry has prayerfully met and carefully prepared for an incremental re-opening of our in-person gatherings in the month of May and beyond.
I would invite you to listen to the video update where I share more details and more of my heart on this situation.
Here is our plan for services for the next 5 Sunday mornings (all of this is subject to change as things progress):
May 10 – Drive Through Sunday (Online service at 10:00). Drive through to say hello and receive a Mother’s Day gift an hour before or after the online service.
NO PM Service this Sunday
May 17 – Drive-In Service – enjoy the morning service from the comfort of your vehicle.
May 24 – Memorial Day Drive-In Pizza Party – We will host another drive-in service, and every vehicle will receive a pizza.
May 31 – Blood Drive and Outdoor Service
June 7 – Take Me Back to Church Sunday! (Indoor gatherings in our Worship Center)
- We will only gather on campus on Sunday mornings for now.
- All other services (Sunday PM and Wednesday PM) will still be online.
- All in-person services will follow social distancing and sanitization guidelines outlined for stores, restaurants, and businesses that are open during this time.
- Safety policies and procedures will be posted on our website and e-mailed out to our church family next week.
- We will continue to offer our Sunday morning services online for those who are not comfortable gathering at this point.
- If you are in a high-risk category, are sick, or have any other health concerns related to this virus, we encourage you to stay home and watch our online services.
As I mention in the video, there is no decision or plan for regathering that will be agreed upon completely by the hundreds of people in our church. And, that’s ok. Some people think we should have stayed open the past couple of months. Others may believe we should stay closed indefinitely. No matter where you stand on these issues, let’s treat one another with Christian love, respect, and unity.
We will respect your individual decision as to when you are comfortable regathering, and we will rejoice when the time comes that we will see each of you again! May this whole situation draw our church closer together, not divide us.
We love you. We miss you. We have prayed for you, and we have sought to lead through this in ways that are pleasing to Christ and helpful to His people at Liberty. As we see beaches, grocery stores, restaurants, sporting goods stores, florists, and other businesses opening back up in our state, we are excited to see many Bible-preaching churches doing the same as the month progresses!
We can’t wait to see you all again soon! Please pray for us, and let me know if you have any questions or if there is any way that we can serve you during this challenging time.