Church guidance

The pandemic is not over, regardless of what some might say. I wrote about the reality of the situation yesterday (for both the US and then specifically for Texas), and we are nowhere near where we need to be. The threat of more contagious variants (this is not fear-mongering, this is reality) is very real, especially in Texas. Houston has all 5 variants – all 5. So, really nothing has changed for me regarding church guidance – because the situation hasn’t changed. My guidance I wrote for 2021 still stands – https://tinyurl.com/y5zgmod2.

This is especially true since we will have widespread vaccine availability coming by May – for everyone. So, why let up now? I have said from the beginning, “What if the church led the way out of this?” and continue to believe that. In summary, now is not the time to lift precautions for your church. There is no data that supports doing that.

My recommendations have nothing to do with “virtue signaling”, as lots have messaged me about these past few days. This is about living out Galatians 5:13 specifically when it comes to masks. It has nothing to do with fear, and everything to do with faith. Everything to do with love for neighbor. Perhaps that’s virtue? Or Jesus?

Here are my recommendations:

✅ ***Some practical tips:

1. If (that’s a risky if) you continue indoor worship, masks should be mandatory at all times (even in the sanctuary) and distancing should still be observed. This is more critical now with the new variants AND being so close to widespread vaccines coming. If you want to hear me to discuss all this in a video with other pastors, here’s the link. The first 15ish minutes is me talking about navigating the data, and then we move into a Q&A with the other pastors to hear what they have done. We also discuss why and how the Church can lead the way out of this. https://tinyurl.com/y3gqefht

2. I would encourage you to move the line. With the threat of the variants, towing the line for your congregration needs to be virtual (or outdoors, still distanced) or masking at all times. The line used to be choosing between mandatory masking versus masking-as-a-choice for indoor worship. Where we are now with the variants and being so close to vaccines being more widely available warrants a different line. Please don’t make masks optional, especially in the sanctuary, if you continue indoor worship.

3. Lastly, please change the narrative. I fully recognize the backlash church leaders get with lots of opinions coming at them. However, we are beyond keeping everyone happy and need to shift the narrative to faith, love, and hope. Masks are faith-filled and faith-ful. Faith-filled is about us. Faith-ful is about the neighbor. Both/And are important. The distinction matters. https://tinyurl.com/y2od5n6f

✅ Let’s have Faith over Fear – https://tinyurl.com/yxsaatcf

For our neighbors – https://tinyurl.com/y9ykykve

While praying Psalm 91 and living Galatians 5 – https://tinyurl.com/y2od5n6f

What if Christians led the way out of this? Redefining our freedom according to the Cross-https://tinyurl.com/y2qoow7t

-FNE

If you’re new here, welcome! I’m a Christian pastor’s wife who loves the Church (big “C” church). However, I do not write these to be exclusionary – “love your neighbor” is just good humanity, isn’t it. =) Here’s all of my other church/faith writings:

𝐂𝐇𝐔𝐑𝐂𝐇

1. What if Christians led the way out of this? Redefining our freedom according to the Cross-https://tinyurl.com/y2qoow7t

2. How to navigate church in a pandemic based on data.https://tinyurl.com/y9gpyte2

3. Who is the neighbor? – https://tinyurl.com/y9ykykve

4. What about singing?- https://tinyurl.com/y9vcnhco

5. Other good articles. – https://tinyurl.com/yb4s3w6c

6. A guide for closing and re-opening based on data -https://tinyurl.com/y9gpyte2

7. A cautionary tale for churches – https://tinyurl.com/yxklylpo

8. We cannot draw water from an empty well https://tinyurl.com/yxc57ecm

9. Discussion with church leaders on leading during COVID-19 – https://tinyurl.com/y5zxfbz5

10. Faith over fear: Including a discussion on John MacArthur – https://tinyurl.com/yxsaatcf

11. Church is at risk of being a super-spreader – https://tinyurl.com/y6do6n7p

12. Masks are faith-filled and faith-ful. Faith-filled is about us. Faith-ful is about the neighbor. Both/And are important. The distinction matters. https://tinyurl.com/y2od5n6f

13. Recommendations for church in the midst of a surge – https://tinyurl.com/y6ez4ydx

14. Church video – Church and COVID: A Conversation with Dr. Emily Smith – https://tinyurl.com/y3gqefht

15. Daily cases and deaths, with and without precautions. With a note to churches – https://tinyurl.com/yxuyzlzx

16. Love Your Neighbor challenge – https://tinyurl.com/y967vxnc

17. To the shepherds – Reframing advent during the pandemic – https://tinyurl.com/y9e9y56c

18. In honor of MLK Jr – https://tinyurl.com/y2epyoek

19. The Capitol Riots and the thread – https://tinyurl.com/y6y3oxr7

20. 2021 guidance for churches – https://tinyurl.com/y5zgmod2

21. Faith and vaccines – https://tinyurl.com/yb5ydlf2

22. Let’s make room – my reflections on Advent – https://tinyurl.com/ydgx77tg

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