March 19 Response to COVID-19
This is not the last announcement you will receive like this. This is just the next announcement. We will do our best to keep you well informed.
We continue to receive credible, crucial information regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 from both state and national sources. We also have some people who are well connected in the health industry who are part of our church family, and we are listening closely to their wisdom, insights, and counsel as well. What we are hearing is that this virus is not going to be going away anytime soon, and we will need to adjust accordingly. We will have more to say about how we will stay connected and provide care for one another soon, but it is important for us to get this message out today. Please read to the end.
There has been some confusion regarding recommendations, mandates, or regulations. The guidelines for State of Ohio are not completely in sync with the Federal Government’s recommendations. Churches are being told on one hand they are exempt (so far) from gathering size limits, and at the same time churches are being told by those same government leaders they are crucial when it comes to battling the spread of this virus. This is a deadly virus. Yesterday the governor told a group of pastors on a conference call that 15% of those over the age of 80 who contract this disease will not survive.
It is important for every Dayspringer to know that leadership has decided that as it relates to battling this virus, we will be fully compliant with the recommendations, not just with what is required. As such:
- We are not opening our building on Sundays for worship. We will re-evaluate this regularly, but this is our reality for the foreseeable future. We will continue to broadcast our worship services via Facebook and YouTube, but “in person” attendance will be limited to those necessary to lead or broadcast worship.
- All necessary meetings need to be held remotely via technology. Pastor Charlie is coordinating Zoom meetings, for example. There are other sources for this to happen as well, but meeting in person is counterproductive to ending this threat.
- We will be sharing a plan soon for a coordinated care and connection plan, but in the meantime, please connect with others to make sure they are well and safe. The building is not the church, you are. If someone needs groceries or medications or other necessities, please pass that information along to one of our Pastors. Check on neighbors (from a safe distance) to make sure they have what they need. This is a time for the church to BE the church.
- We believe one of The Big K Kingdom assignments in speaking life is for all of us to personally do all we can to avoid spreading this virus. We do not want to be part of the chain that could affect the most vulnerable, nor do we want to place an unnecessary burden on caregivers (doctors, nurses, hospitals). This means individually:
- Staying home when possible. When we asked the Health Department worker if this was age specific (65) she said not necessarily, if the goal was to stop the spread. She advised all to stay home when possible.
- Taking the initiative when being near others is unavoidable. Stay 6 feet from others and practice great hand care when you are out (avoid handshakes, cough into elbow, wash before and after you go out, etc.).
- Following these practices is expected from anyone on the Dayspring premises.
I have been asked by several people how we can stop meeting together when Scripture tells us in Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” From a Biblical, theological perspective, what does this mean in this context today? Here are several thoughts from both the Old and New Testaments:
- There was an expectation in the Old Testament (specifically spelled out during the time of the Exodus) when Moses gave instruction that came from God to isolate those who were dealing with some type of infection, outside the camp. This was not God being mean-spirited toward those who were infected. The point was to protect the community from the spread of something that could do great harm. This was a matter of wisdom. It was not a lack of faith.
- The Apostle Paul told Timothy in I Timothy 5:23 to “use a little wine for the sake of your stomach.” Speaking to this young leader in the church, Paul was stressing the need for Timothy to be healthy to carry out the ministry to which God called him. Use the available and necessary weapons provided by the medical community. Again, this is not a lack of faith, it is wisdom.
- We are not neglecting meeting together. In fact, meeting like this will take greater intentionality, not less. Those of us who are working at making this happen are investing as much or greater effort into this form of meeting than gathering in person. Meeting online is not ideal, but it is the best available. Had this happened even 30 years ago, we would not have had the technology to make this happen. I thank God we have this ability.
- As I stated in my message this past Sunday, we would do well to not neglect looking at this, and other life experiences in a more holistic way. When Jesus was touched by the woman who was exhausted physically, financially, emotionally, and relationally, He did not say to her, “Why did you spend the last 12 years looking for help from the medical community?” Too often we see these events as a competition of sorts between God and medicine. We need to place our ultimate hope and trust in God. If He stops this virus in its tracks the way He did at various times in Scripture, praise the Lord. I pray to that end. But God, the Great Physician, has not told us to avoid wise medical treatment and counsel.
God does not intend for us to live in fear, but He does expect us to use wise caution in times like these. Unfortunately fear and wise caution can appear to look the same. They are not the same, but at times they appear to be.
Know you are loved and being lifted before our Heavenly Father. Jesus, we long for Your healing touch. Spirit of God, blow across this nation and this world.
Pastor Jim on behalf of Dayspring’s Leadership