What's your decision process regarding fully opening the church?
Over the past several months our elders, pastors, and staff have worked in teams and have prayerfully considered the best path for navigating this global pandemic of COVID-19. We recognize differences in opinion and questions inside our community of believers at MVF around how to proceed as a church in this season. After many meetings and LOTS of prayer, we've developed a set of priorities to guide us as we proceed. Our goal is to:
- Glorify God
- Maintain a great witness in the community (and not appear either reckless or fearful)
- Encourage the spiritual and physical health of the MVF Family
- Enable continued effective outreach
- Respect the Federal, State, and County authority placed over us.
Why are we not already open? President Trump said churches are considered essential and other churches are open, so what are we waiting for?
Yes, we're essential, but we are still following local (and our own) guidelines. In Adams County, we're currently under "Safer at Home" Level 2 Guidelines, which means maintaining a 6' distance from others not in our family group and avoiding gatherings over 50 people, with great preparation before the event (cleaning, ensuring social distancing in seating, etc...); the MVF Work Day and Women's Bibles and Breakfasts are two examples.
But if we're essential, shouldn't that mean we can just fully open back up?
We are submitting to local authority. Currently, businesses are allowed up to 50% of their work force to be in place, and restaurants are allowed up to 50 people. These guidelines still don't work for a full open. Here are the orders from Adams County specifically regarding churches:
j. Houses of worship and Life Rites may operate at 50% of the posted
occupancy limit indoors not to exceed 50 people, whichever is less, per
So then, when will we be back in the building?
We can't say for sure. Right now, we're focusing on praying that Adams County will raise the meeting limit for churches to 150-175. We feel like we could start moving things closer to "normal" at that point. In the meantime, we're taking some baby steps toward gathering again.
What are the baby steps?
Initially, we started with online and drive-in services. Then we progressed to outdoor "Lawn Chair" services, and now we have full live-stream capabilities (no more pre-recorded and uploaded services). As the weather gets colder, we're moving towards assigned groups (A, B, and C) attending in person on a rotating basis. During any group's "off" weeks at home, we're asking folks to gather in House Churches and watch that week's live-streamed service.
Will we have to wear masks when it's my group's turn to attend in person?
As we start the process of reopening our campus, we are following a set of community boundaries to comply with the guidelines of local health authorities. Those guidelines include wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and other measures. The elders and pastors have prayerfully considered each of these and are choosing to comply so long as it doesn't compromise our convictions on how we are to worship God or preach the truth of His Word.
While some in our MVF Community see these boundaries as an annoyance or disagree with them altogether, we believe going against the wishes of our local authorities will likely be outside the bounds of Scripture. The restrictions placed on us are not singling out churches but are being applied to all public places of assembly. We do not believe current health orders in Colorado are asking us to sin- they're simply asking us to do what we can to help keep others healthy, in essence- to love our neighbor.
What about the MVF Kids Ministry?
We are considering all options as we move forward. For the next stage utilizing Groups attending in person on a rotating basis, we have decided to open the nursery and toddler areas. We feel this will allow us to help out the parents of some of our youngest members who might have a more difficult time sitting through a service (the toddlers, not the parents!). For our older elementary-aged kiddos, we'll still have activity packets available during the services.
What precautions are being taken as the building opens back up?
We're practicing deep cleaning inside the building, especially in high-touch areas. We've purchased a special spray for our auditorium chairs and mist them after each service. We've installed multiple hand-sanitizing stations throughout the building. We've also increased our volunteers so we can clean and disinfect our restrooms, door handles, and other high-touch surfaces after services, youth group meetings, and other large gatherings. So if you're looking for a place to jump in...