Thank you for continuing to meet the needs of your church members and the communities you serve. I know you are prayerfully considering all of your decisions and relying on the counsel of the Holy Spirit and your church leaders. You are amazing ministers serving the Foursquare Church.
I understand that some of our churches are considering meeting in their church parking lot or other outdoor facilities. Please keep in mind that we must adhere to President Glenn Burris’s communication to follow all national, state and local government directions and the CDC’s recommendations for community health.
If you are considering parking lot services, I would ask you to stop and measure the potential risks to your church leaders, your members, and the community. I know that’s a tough question, but an important one when discerning how your freedom to meet impacts others (1 Corinthians 8:9).
- How does this decision help your local community leaders?
- Does this show respect and support for our health care workers and service providers, our community front-line warriors?
- How might people who are struggling with the isolation that comes with stay at home orders view Christians gathering in one place because they were given an exception?
- How will this impact members of your church who are infected and unable to attend?
- Are you certain the benefits are worth the possible health risks?
Dear friends, there is simply no way to know who is carrying the virus. We do not have the training or equipment to identify who is symptomatic and it’s impossible to identify who is asymptomatic. Let’s prayerfully consider any decision that places our members, their family, and friends at risk. Online church services are actually reaching far more people with the gospel than our “in the building” services were. We must operate in faith that God watches over us while responsibly caring for all people.
Likewise, we all believe that the church gathering together provides hope, encouragement and comfort; that it is an essential service to our community. I agree and I also recognize that God has always led his people through seasons of plenty and seasons of need; through seasons of hardship and seasons of prosperity. Our methods might adjust but our message will always remain the same. We will all need God’s perfect and powerful direction during this “in-between” season of ministry. We are ministering in a crises with a message of faith, a message of God’s power and a message of care and comfort for all people.
If you are considering meeting in your church parking lot or other outdoor venue you will need to verify that such gatherings are permissible. Also, remember that government directives are constantly changing, so what is permissible this week may not be okay next week.
- Please confirm with your state Governor’s Office that parking lot church services are allowed. Local or national news articles, emails from friends or opinions from parachurch organizations are not enough. You need verification from the state officials.
- Please confirm with your city or county government offices.
- Please notify your local police or sheriff’s department. Make sure they are okay with this type of public gathering.
- Follow these guidelines for outdoor meetings. Again, remember these directions could be changed at any time by our national, state, local leaders or when CDC issues new directions:
- If your church is planning a parking lot service, you must (1) adhere to these guidelines and (2) notify the Foursquare Southeast District Office (Kaysie Larkin at email@example.com)
- Everyone MUST remain in their vehicle. No wandering around outside to socialize and no outside play time or organized ministry time for children.
- Keep cars at least 6 to 8 feet apart. Have parking attendants available to help guide vehicles to a spot.
- Unfortunately, your church’s bathrooms and any other onsite bathrooms are off limits. They may be the most contagious area for a gathering like this. You should make this clear to people before Sunday and have signs posted. Don’t wait for a bathroom emergency to tell people the bathrooms are closed for health reasons.
- Be a good witness to your neighbors. Following orders and guidelines will display that we love others.
- Follow any additional guidelines as directed by our government agencies (see Paragraph 2).
- Please be sure to record/stream your service for any church members that have chosen to remain at home. People may choose not to attend for health reasons, family member concerns or convictions regarding the stay at home orders.
Thank you for taking the time to prayerfully consider all of your ministry decisions. The Holy Spirit is guiding us through this health crisis and is leading us with wisdom, discernment and healing power. Let’s pray powerful prayers for immediate divine healing. Lord Jesus, heal every person who is sick! By your mighty hand CRUSH this virus now and forever! “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:30 NIV).