I will offer a disclaimer at the beginning of my post. The challenge that follows is not intended to make anyone feel guilty, or minimize genuine concerns people have due to their own health or the health of others. It is intended to challenge those who have returned to other normal activities of life, but have not yet returned to church.
When the coronavirus came about in 2020 none of us knew what to expect. So we adapted and made decisions based on what we thought we knew and the guidance we received from health officials. Unfortunately and sadly, many individuals have been affected around the world and many have lost their lives to the virus. Even now circumstances are dire in some parts of the world while things are steadily improving in our context. Continue to pray for the hardest hit areas of the world particularly.
I chose to take the vaccine. I believe it is a personal decision and we still live in a free country. I would never pressure or shame anyone else into doing something they are not comfortable with regarding the vaccine. I have had more vaccines than I can count since I was a child and I simply am not afraid of taking it. Also, I want to be able to travel personally and on mission, and I am hoping this will expedite those possibilities.
Churches were hard hit by the pandemic from the beginning because of the fear of numerous people gathering in confined spaces. Our church closed to in-person services for three months. We went with the information we had and did what we felt was best for our people at the time. We reopened the first Sunday in June of 2020.
Our church has now been meeting again in-person for eleven months. We do not take any of this for granted, nor do we boast of it. We are simply thankful to God for his grace. There have been zero deaths among our active congregation and to my knowledge zero hospitalizations due to the virus. Additionally, we have had zero known outbreaks related to in-person gatherings. There have been quite a few people I am aware of in the congregation who have had the virus and most have made speedy recoveries. We know any of this can change in an instant. So we continue to take precautions and follow state health guidelines for the well-being of our people and others. Currently, we are around 70% of pre-Covid attendance numbers.
The challenge is as follows. If you have returned to other normal activities including work, school, shopping, sports, kids activities, travel, and so on, you need to return to church. It is so easy to get into a habit of not going. Online church is helpful and necessary for staying connected. I am thankful we have it for folks that are homebound, or may be traveling, or have other good reasons to utilize it. We all know however, that if you are able to be present with the body of Christ, watching on a screen is simply not the same.
We are commanded to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. It is good for you, and it is good for others. All of life is a calculated risk. We take risks when we get in our cars. There are multiple other diseases that can and do make people sick and in this sin fallen world this will always be the case. We cannot live in a protective bubble perpetually.
If you have not yet returned to church, what are you waiting for?