June 3rd, 10am
Impact Church Family,
This is an update to our previous statements because this is a dynamic situation and as things change rapidly, we are prayerfully making decisions accordingly. Please read the letter from Pastor Daniel on Impact’s re-gathering strategy.
Re-gathering Letter From Pastor Daniel
Hope you are are doing well. Here is the latest update from our elder team about plans to re-gather physically. It has a lot of information, so it’s pretty long. Therefore, we made a video which also gives you the benefit of hearing my heart behind the decisions we are making for our church.
CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO MESSAGE or keep reading for a transcript of the video details.
June is here and it feels as though things are changing. It’s a little hotter in the afternoons, traffic is beginning to build back up, businesses are opening, and restaurants are serving people inside again (AMEN). What has not changed is the polarizing emotions and opinions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Before we get into the details of our church’s next steps to re-gather physically, I feel it necessary to mention a few principles that should guide our hearts as believers:
1) No one has all the answers. None of us have all the information and it is dangerous to refuse to receive outside counsel. Time and the wisdom of others afford us the clarity that is important to make decisions for the future. (Proverbs 26:12)
2) The church is about the body and not just an individual. We should consider the needs of the weak and disheartened with patience, serving them first where we are able. (1 Thess 5:14)
3) Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. We have rights that no one can take away. However, in exercising our constitutional rights, we cannot ignore our responsibilities. (1 Corin 10:23-24)
Hopefully, these biblical truths can bring us to a place where we can address this complex crisis as Jesus would have us to: in humility, compassion, and grace. Your elders are doing their very best to ensure we can gather again as soon as possible and keep everyone safe, at the same time.
We Can Re-open Now…
A little over a week ago, President Trump deemed “churches essential.” This statement energized many church leaders and believers that felt a sense of spiritual persecution over being forced to close the church doors. Listen, we have always known that “Jesus is essential” for life. This is not new information. We also know that the church building is just the convenient location by which we the church gather to collectively worship Him and receive encouragement to run the race set before us. The church has and never will close, though the building itself may need to from time to time – be it a hurricane or pandemic. The ministry of Impact Church has never ceased and therefore doesn’t need to RE-OPEN now.
Taking Intentional Next Steps.
As our local and national leaders slowly lift the restrictions in our community, we look forward to safely taking steps towards incremental re-gathering. As mentioned earlier, though we may have been given permission to gather, it doesn’t mean that it is responsible for us to do so yet. During this time, we are developing plans and preparing to safely re-gather in phases. Our preparation is most critical for those with health risks which make them the most vulnerable to the virus. Impact is fortunate to have doctors on our elder team, that have shared real-life data with us to help us make informed decisions. Here is what Jason Holmes had to say about the timing of our re-gathering:
“As our city and the beaches begin to ‘reopen’ the next couple of weeks will be crucial. As people start to gather more and move around more freely the risk of spread of the virus will surely increase. To what extent exactly, time will tell. Fortunately, we have much better access to testing now, and our health officials should be able monitor for and detect any potential spikes quickly. We are already seeing an increase in the number of confirmed cases over the last week or so. This is certainly, at least in part, a result of increased testing. Yet, there remains the fact that more gatherings can mean more spread. Therefore, Impact Church will need to remain cautiously vigilant as we monitor what is going on in our community to determine when we can open our doors and regather as a church family in our building. That Sunday will come, but until we can be sure that it can be done in a manner that keeps our church family, particularly those most vulnerable to COVID, safe we will need to remain patient.”
What’s Our Plan to Re-gather.
The following dates are general targets and are subject to change as the situation changes. The last thing we want is to re-gather prematurely only to have the church shutdown again, because we are a local source of infection. Therefore, we will start adding to our gatherings responsibly and slowly. The following are a few ways in which we can begin to re-gather:
1) IMPACT FELLOWSHIP EVENTS – Though Life Groups are on break for the summer, small groupings of families and friends can gather for Impact Fellowship Events at the park, the beach, and other outdoor locations starting immediately.
2) THE OFFICE IS OPEN – We have resumed our regular business schedule for the office. Staff and volunteers are temperature checked daily and the in-office meetings are limited. Small meetings of 10 people or less are allowed in the building. However, special events and outside requests are not allowed at this time.
3) SMALL WATCH PARTIES – The first step to re-gather for worship is to host small watch parties of the Sunday morning service. Is 10:30am too early for guests at your house? After the service airs on Sundays, it is available to view on-demand. This will allow you to plan a time to meet up physically and worship together, maybe even at night. Call some friends and neighbors together and host a service.
4) GATHERINGS IN THE BUILDING – Being limited by space in our building, our schedule will look different and will require multiple timeslots for worship gatherings. We have tentatively placed July 12th on the calendar as our first Sunday morning back in the building. Due to limited seating, we will ask everyone to reserve their seats. This will allow us to ensure a manageable capacity for our services. The building has been professionally cleaned and we will limit contact in the service.
I’m Not Ready Yet.
We understand that not everyone will feel comfortable returning on July 12th. We will still offer an online alternative for gathering, so that you can phase back into physical community at your comfort level. Online worship was never intended to be a substitute for being physically with the body of Christ. However, we want you to return when you are ready. Note, our on-site gathering for worship will be a “Family Service.” Impact Kids’ Ministry will have further hurdles to overcome before we can confidently provide a safe environment for the children in the back.
Finally, please remember that we are sharing this information with you for general planning purposes. We want you to know that we are assessing the situation daily and we will move as quickly as we can to re-gather, while keeping your personal safety in full view. These dates and strategies may change, and we will need to adjust as they do. Knowing that we, your elders, are ultimately responsible to God for your well-being, as a church, we ask that you would pray for us often. We love you very much and can’t wait to worship in-person with you again. Until then, may the Gospel take deeper root in your heart as you put on display His compassion and His grace for one another.
Please understand, we are not responding out of fear or panic. Currently, the best way for us to serve our community and provide a safe environment for you and your family is to adhere to the direction of our local leaders. Like with all struggles and adversities we face in this life, God is not surprised nor is He overwhelmed by COVID-19. We will not respond in fear, but in faith that the Lord is on His throne and will guide us through this time.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” – Isaiah 26:3
There are several ways you can stay connected as we implement our re-gathering strategy.
1) Worship with us LIVE each weekend online at 10:30am. All Live events will be primarily broadcast to our Facebook page.
2) Follow our updates on Facebook and Instagram. This is where we will push immediate updates and valuable content over the coming weeks.
THE IMPACT OFFICES
We have resumed our regular business schedule for the office. Staff and volunteers are temperature checked daily and the in-office meetings are limited. Small meetings of 10 people or less are allowed in the building. However, special events and outside requests are not allowed at this time.