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Church Leaders, Don’t Feel Pressured to Re-open Your Buildings

Dear Current Church Leaders,

I’ve served the Church, from volunteer to full-time, from janitor to pastor. I speak to you as a brother. Thank you for your leadership. I know you’ve very likely dealt with political division in your congregation, and the pandemic has been a whirlwind for you. These are great burdens upon you and I applaud your strength.

I know that President Trump has spoken today, declaring his intent to pull out all proverbial stops to re-open churches, as early as this weekend. It pleased me to hear when President Trump spoke, saying of U.S. Christians, that “they love their congregations and they don't want anything bad to happen to them or anybody else.” So, since I believe that statement, I’m speaking to you, church leaders, as a congregant:

Don’t feel pressured to re-open your buildings for our sake.

Don’t re-open because of outspoken voices in your congregation. Don’t re-open because President Trump wants you to. Don’t re-open because it would sure feel nice to be visibly treated by the government with the same rights as department stores, liquor stores, and abortion clinics. Only re-open if you've prayerfully considered all the factors and you know it would significantly help the spiritual well-being of the congregants under your leadership. And still take necessary precautions, as outlined by the consensus of trusted medical leadership.

For we are the Church. Our life does not come from governmental circumstances or public physical health, but the power of the Holy Spirit and our faithfulness to the Word, which includes our ability to be suffering servants. For the sake of public physical health, we may need to gather online for a longer period of time. You may need to make tough budget cuts, and some smaller churches may need to shut down. But more people will live. And the Church will not die.

Myself, I’m not planning to return to my church until I have learned from the consensus of trusted medical leadership that it is safe to do so. I currently serve at two churches, one of which has a congregant who tested positive for COVID-19. In the meantime, I’ll continue to attend online, talk with my small group on WhatsApp, and continue my weekly financial donation. And I’ll see if there are other ways I can serve the vulnerable with what I have.



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