Connection Point Church
Building Reopening Plan
In March, we kicked off our Acts: The Church on the Move series. We were moving toward Acts 2:42-47, where we read about the gathering of the early church, who lived in unity, found favor with their community, and saw the Kingdom of God advance daily. As church leadership discussed our way forward as a congregation we found these principles important for the three-step approach we plan to take.
How did you arrive at these steps?
The simple answer…scripture:
- First, the defining characteristic of the Christian faith is love. The great commandment is to love God and others (Matthew 22:37-39). The new command Jesus gave His disciples was to love others like He loves (John 13:34). Jesus said no greater love does a person have than to lay down their life for others (John 15:13). We will follow guidelines provided by the CDC and governing authorities, not for our own sakes, but for the well-being of others.
- Second, these are uncertain times. As much as we can see how God has been preparing us for this situation over the last several years, we couldn’t see the future back then nor can we see the future right now. And we realize it is the unknown that often creates fear. Yet, as our Fearless series showed us, we are people who can live fearless lives as we abide in Jesus (Psalm 91:1-2) and rest our confidence in Him (Psalm 91:14-16). God is in control! Therefore, as we follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and governing authorities, we do so because we love our neighbors, not because we are living in fear.
- Last, Romans chapter 13 encourages us to follow the recommendations of governing authorities, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you” (Romans 13:1-3). We agree to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and governing authorities because we chose to honor God in all we do.
What are the steps we plan to take as we move forward?
- Step 1 – House Church Sundays
- Interesting thing is, we were planning on having a House Church Sunday about now as we worked through Acts 2:42-47. God certainly knew what He was doing as He lead us! Following the recommendations provided by our state government, we will encourage everyone to participate in House Church Sundays, while the state works through stages 1 through 5, from Governor Holcomb’s “Back on Track Indiana” plan.
- We would like to encourage you to meet with others from your small group or to invite a neighbor to join you for a live, online Sunday service at 9am or 10:45am.
- You can do this either in your own home or continue to meet online through a Facebook watch party or a Zoom screen share.
- We simply encourage you to follow the guidelines already provided by the state (as listed in the “Back on Track Indiana” plan).
- Step 2 – Family Church Sundays
- Once the state reaches stage 5 of the “Back on Track Indiana” plan (which could be as early as July 4th), we will gather again in our church building for Family Church Sundays.
- The governor has encouraged churches to wait to reopen kids areas until schools reopen. Following this recommendation, we will host family-friendly Sunday services (more details to follow) until schools reopen and wait to open kids areas until it has been deemed safe to do so.
- Step 3 – Together Again
- When we have moved through stage 5 of the “Back on Track Indiana” plan and schools have reopened (as early as August 11th), we will celebrate with a “Together Again” service, celebrating our ability to gather together once again and move into the future God has for our church.
- Kids areas will reopen and we will celebrate all that God did while we were apart, in house churches, and providing family services.
A special note to those that are considered high-risk in this pandemic.
As said before, we cannot see the future and we know that our country’s leaders cannot either. Data is being gathered and models are continually being formed, but in the end, we’re just not infectious disease experts. Therefore, we are committed to continue investigating and investing in expanding and improving our methods of staying connected while we are apart. We certainly do want to gather together again, but we want you (and you family) to be safe and healthy. So, please know that we love you from the safety of your home just as much as we love you here with us.
What about other churches who open before stage 5 of Governor Holcomb’s plan?
The state has given allowance for religious “services” to resume on May 8th. But as we read through the entire 33-page document, we understood, it is preferred that groups of more than 250 not gather until the fifth-stage of that plan. In the end, much grace will be required as leaders make decisions regarding what is best for their congregation. We, as your church leaders, will need your grace too. We have been in ongoing conversations with churches across the Greater Lafayette area, the state, and the nation. We trust God will lead every congregation well.
The Church is not closed, nor has it ever been – His Church is on the Move
Because He is moving in and through us, we trust that as people stay connected in small groups – we will grow in unity as a church. Similarly, we trust that as we follow our Governor’s guidelines, we will continue to gain favor within the community in which we live and minister in together. Last, we trust that as we love our neighbors, the Lord will add to our numbers daily those who are being saved. This is the extraordinary life!
In closing, I would like to remind you that in January, we began a six-week series on a Great Awakening, with a message about a “Awaken to a New Beginning.” In that message I shared from Isaiah chapter 43, where God declares, “‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:1-3, 18-19).
The good news I shared is that we belong to God and His leading in our lives is always good, even when that leading looks different than the way He worked in the past or the way we think it should. I shared that God is leading us toward a new beginning, one where He is doing several important things:
- Getting rid of self-centered, consumer mindsets and replacing them with servant-hearted individuals who are truly devoted to the work of the Lord.
- Emphasizing the priesthood of all believers, where everyone serves as an everyday disciple maker of Jesus.
- Helping churches understand the limits of their buildings (I think everyone gets this now :-).
- Encouraging believers to holistically share the Gospel in word and action, like Jesus did.
- Fostering greater unity among believers.
All of these new things and new ways and new beginnings equate to a lot of change – and change can be hard. However, it’s not unexpected. Carey Nieuwhof, in his article, “Are Churches Behaving Like Malls in the Age of Amazon, Just Hoping for People to Shop Again?” points out, “Crisis is an accelerator, it reveals and amplifies the weaknesses that were already there, and also accelerates trends that were emerging anyway.”
This crisis has more clearly highlighted the weaknesses of the American church and has accelerated the trends we have been talking about for years now. Is this pandemic part of what God will use for the church rummage sale He holds to bring about a new beginning? Maybe. What is important for us, is we follow God in the work He is doing and not try to go our own way or simply return to what we knew from before.
I think America 2.0 is going to look much different than what we experienced before, and I think church 2.0 (it’s probably more like 5.0, with the 500-year rummage sale God seems to systemically do) is certainly going to look different as well. We don’t want to miss what God is doing right now and I am confident He has prepared us for such a time as this.
Nieuwhof goes on to explain, “Crisis doesn’t create failure, it accelerates it. Crisis doesn’t create momentum, it accelerates the momentum that was already there.” Because of how the Lord has already been leading our congregation, He is simply accelerating the momentum we already had. Our greatest days are yet ahead as everyday disciple makers of Jesus!
Know that we will continue to provide you with updates regarding all of our plans including youth, summer Connect Groups, Mega Sports Camp and such as we move through the months to come.
Shellie and I love you all and we are honored to serve as your pastors.