Word of Encouragement – 4/22/2020

What’s church going to look like at FBC Palmer when we get the go-ahead to open back up?

First of all, it won’t be practical to see the house packed shoulder to shoulder on that first Sunday. That may not happen anyway, but we must be prepared.

If we start back up with our usual crowd of 65 – 85, we will want to ask people to space themselves at least 6 feet apart. Since husbands and wives and parents with small children have been huddled up in the house for 2 months, the 6 foot rule shouldn’t apply to them. Sunday school should have the same ruling when it meets at 9:30 a.m. which shouldn’t be a problem — although in a way, I hope it is!

I want to propose that we be in an absolute state of readiness for an unusually large amount of people. I propose that we announce 3 services — one at 8:30 a.m. one at 10:45 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. Of course we won’t know how many show up, until they show up. If 200 people show up at 8:30 a.m. we will make a crowd control decision then -perhaps allowing the first 75 standing in line to come in – with the same practice at 10:45 and 2 p.m. Also, this would place an extra burden on the praise team. But maybe they can be in full force at 10:45, and just have a skeleton crew at 8:30 and 2 p.m.

Please understand, such a crowd of people may not happen. In that case, if we resume with our regular pre-quarantine number, we will just insist on the 6 foot rule. But we must prepare so we won’t have pandemonium during the morning of that first service.

Let’s adopt these practices:
1. Six foot rule in seating and visiting in the foyer(s)
2. Rather than handshakes and hugs, just a cordial smile and greeting. At the most, an elbow or fist bump.
3. Masks are encouraged.
4. Hopefully we can find hand sanitizer dispensers to station around the church in entryways and restrooms.
5. Take special precaution during times of handling offering plates and offerings.
6. Six foot rule applies during altar-calls. If responders to invitation do not feel comfortable coming to the pastor during the invitation, we will schedule a time when we can meet about your decision or burden.

All these thoughts are strictly from your pastor’s head. The leadership team needs to meet and establish procedures which will promote cleanliness and safety to all.

It is still hard for me to believe I’m even talking about this. Who would have ever thought these days would come. But they’re here — and we want to promote and practice the maximum safety to all attendees. But let us all remember — this is the Lord’s Church — Jesus established her on the Rock of Himself: Jesus gifted her with all the ministry gifts she needs. The Holy Spirit empowered her — she has been given a Great Commission to reach the lost world — and one day Jesus is returning for her. If He has done all of this for her, then He will see us through trials crises.

All these things seems like overkill and overreaction. But the safety of our church and visitors is paramount. I am calling for a good number of leadership team members/deacons to meet and finalize plans for reopening. It is not likely things will open up before the second week in May, so I am asking that leadership meet at the church at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 30.

I love each of you and am glad to be your pastor.

Bro. Paul