As churches across the country remain overwhelmingly closed, and a smattering of anti-lockdown protests begin to creep up and bloom, Liberty Council just announced that they were launching reopenchurch.org an initiative created to get congregants gathered back together and having legitimate services, and not exclusively through the interwebs.
The date set for the churches to reopen is May 3, a day chosen to also coincide with the beginning of National Day of Prayer week. The campaign advocates flinging wide the church doors and having services while still taking social distancing and sanitation precautions:
“Reopen Church should include appropriate measures of sanitization and appropriate social distancing between families. Churches may also consider reopening with a variety of service options, which may include a combination of: (1) reduced seating inside the church; (2) parking lot services for those who cannot get or do not want to participate inside the church; and (3) online service for those who are unable to attend or who are in a higher risk category due to age or predisposed health conditions.”
In a quote from their website, Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said,
“The lockdowns have closed churches at a time of greatest need, and they must reopen to meet the burgeoning needs of the community. Churches are now more essential than ever to bring comfort, hope, and help to the people they serve. Each church is different and each one must assess when and how best to reopen.”
While we are pleased another that organization is calling for the churches to be open, we see no reason anyone must wait until next week to do so, irrespective of the symbolism it represents when aligned with a made-up American calendrical designation.
Rather, churches should be assembled this Sunday for their services. That’s two days away. Not next week. 48 hours from now. And quite frankly, one of the very first things that most pastors should do is ensure their prepared message has a big long section where they repent and ask their churches to forgive them for being closed in the first place, for allowing fear to foment rather than being faithful.
The pastors don’t need to add caveats, explanations or excuses for why they closed in the first place. Rather they should admit their error, explain why it was an error, ask for forgiveness, then move forward while thanking God that the shame of their actions has led them to repentance.
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