When Will It Happen and What Will It Look Like?

April 22, 2020

When Will It Happen and What Will It Look Like?


I think we are all agreed on this point—we can’t wait until we can worship again as a congregation, physically, together, in one place, in our church!


So, when will that happen and what will it look like? As I told you recently during one of the streaming sermons, your leadership is already thinking about those very questions! To keep you informed, let me share with you a summary of our discussions. Do keep in mind that what follows below is our best thinking for the moment and guesses made without any real information from federal or state agencies.


  1. Timing—I don’t see us getting back in our building before June 7th. We have had no word about an official end to social distancing policies, and even if we had that word today, I think many of us would want to be very careful about rushing back into close quarters. I wouldn’t mind being wrong about the date, but please know that your safety is very important to us!


  1. Online Services—We recognize that many of you may prefer to stick with online services for a while before you come back into the building, particularly if you are 70 or older. We are absolutely fine with that. We want you to know that we will continue to provide streaming services every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. We also know that many of you prefer to use a video service other than Facebook Live, so we are exploring the purchase of equipment that will allow us to provide the same quality video through YouTube and our church website. For those of you who are home-bound or live at some distance from our church, please know that we have also made the decision to continue to offer video services in some form from now on. Even if things get much better in terms of social distancing, we don’t want to leave you without a connection to First Baptist Church.


  1. Distancing—Once we come back into the building, we will probably still be under some form of social distancing order. We plan to have seating in every other pew with family units spacing 6 feet apart from each other on the pew. That will essentially cut our seating in half. For that reason, we will likely offer two Sunday morning services for a time. The schedule will be something like a first service at 9am and a second service at 10:30am. The services will be identical in format.


  1. Other services—We will likely not resume Wednesday evening Family Dinners and Children’s and Youth activities until August (we normally pause those activities during the summer anyway). We will not have a traditional Vacation Bible School this year. If conditions permit, we would like to have some short-term VBS-type children’s experiences later in the summer. We are still waiting to hear from WIRED about how their summer program will change.


  1. Some simple changes—We still want to have greeters once we restart services in the building, but obviously they will not shake your hands! We will not pass the plate for offerings; offerings can be given when you leave the building. Until we move past mobile devices and Facebook Live as a way of broadcasting our services, we will ask everyone in attendance to put their phones on AIRPLANE MODE so the number of phones in the room do not cause the recording devices to lag!


  1. What we’re still working on—Given that we will likely still be under some kind of social distancing policy when we come back into the building, we will not resume our traditional Sunday School program immediately. We are working on an alternative that will work for you regardless of which service you plan to attend.


A final note—the latest report I have received is that you have been faithful in your giving! Many of you have simply mailed your tithes and offerings to the church, and many of you have chosen the online giving option. In either case, the point is that you have been faithful! Thank you for that!


Dr. Ed Scott

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