Last week the President’s Coronavirus Task Force came out with a three-phased plan to “Open Up America Again.” While not delving into specifics, the plan did offer clear guidelines to the nation’s governors in order to assist them in filling in the details that might get our country’s economy back up and running once again.
In Alabama, Governor Ivey has yet to make her final decision, though the task force she appointed, led by Lieutenant Governor Ainsworth, has made public their recommendations on what opening up our state for business might look like. According to the Governor, she is waiting for public health officials to assist her as she makes this all-important call.
You should know that while those of us on the ministerial staff are, like you, on the edge of our seats awaiting the Governor’s go-ahead, we have not been sitting around twiddling our thumbs. We have instead been discussing a host of scenarios, any one of which we might select when we not only get the green light to open up the church but also the guidelines that will tell us what and how much of church we can do. Since the particular scenario we will select awaits the specific direction, I can only give you a general outline of the assumptions that have been guiding our planning.
In the first place, our plan will be responsible. We understand how we have reached this place of possibly reopening things because of how everyone has done a remarkably good job of attending to the recommendations handed down by public health officials. Their wise counsel has enabled us to flatten the curve and decrease the spread of the virus. Going forward, we must continue to heed their advice so that we can make sure that when the church does reopen, we will be able to provide an experience that is as safe and secure as it possibly can be.
Because we plan to open up the church again responsibly, we recognize that our plan must also be gradual. Once we are given permission to resume operations, we recognize that we won’t be able to flip a switch and return to full programming as we knew back in February. That sort of move would be the height of irresponsibility. Instead, we anticipate rolling out our programming, beginning with worship in whatever form the authorities allow and incrementally adding other ministries as the situation improves.
Lastly, we see the need for our plan to be flexible. As with everything else about this current situation, the future will be fluid. There will be ebbs and flows. There likely will be starts and stoppages. As we move along, we’ll likely need to make “in-game” adjustments. This type of approach will teach us the wisdom of how the flexible are never bent out of shape by life’s uncertainties.
I wish I could give you a more precise picture of what opening up MBBC again might look like, and in time I will. But until then, keep following the instructions our elected leaders and public health officials are giving us so that when the time does come, we will be ready to begin gathering once again “to love God and live with grace and generosity.” What a day of rejoicing that will surely be!
“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).