Important Sunday Service Change

Dear Living Grace Family,

We have made the decision that Living Grace will resume in-person worship services at Laurelglen Bible Church (LBC) on Sunday evenings at 6:00 PM, beginning August 9, 2020. This decision was not made flippantly in defiance of governing authorities, or because other churches have made the same decision. Our singular purpose in this decision is what’s best for the body of Living Grace Church. We do not believe that an “indefinite” time of remaining apart is best for our church, nor is it best for the spiritual health of the individuals that comprise our church body. Our goal during these difficult times remains to seek the mind of Christ in leading us as we shepherd His church at Living Grace and navigate the difficult balance between being obedient to these two Scriptures: “submission to authorities” (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17) and “not neglecting to meet together” (Hebrews 10:24-25). Additionally, your safety, health, and spiritual well-being has been paramount in all of our decisions regarding these present circumstances. It is our desire to be attentive to the concerns expressed on all sides of the coronavirus issue, while remaining biblical and respecting government authority. The following is a summary of our thoughts:

1. Our decision to close in-person worship services on March 22 (and again on July 26) was not contemplated or communicated as permanent. Rather it was a short-term solution as governing authorities wrestled with the nature of Covid-19 and how to safely reopen. After 20 weeks of uncertainty, and now the governor’s decision to shut down in-person worship services “indefinitely”, we can no longer agree to an arrangement (not worshipping together in-person) that has serious negative impact on your spiritual well-being, our ability to minister to your needs, and to function as a healthy church in unity with one another. Now that more is known about the virus and we can partner with LBC in implementing a comprehensive plan to meet safely, we have decided it is best to make it possible, for those who are able, to worship together in-person.

2. While there has been ongoing debate on which businesses or entities are essential or non-essential, we strongly disagree with those who have characterized churches as non-essential. By God’s design, the overall health of an individual includes their “spiritual” condition as well as their physical and mental conditions. In fact, our spiritual health has a direct impact on every area of our lives and should be considered critically essential to our overall well-being. A key means that God has ordained to ensure the spiritual health of His people is the church; and more specifically, the church body gathering together regularly and being in continual fellowship with one another. Therefore, we strongly affirm that churches, and all that pertains to life in the church body, is essential.

3. We do not want to create a culture or contribute to an existing culture of an “on-line” or “virtual” life experience. While we are thankful that technology is such that we were able to provide a virtual alternative to in-person worship services, and can continue to do so for those who can’t attend presently, for the church as a whole, it cannot persist as the “new normal”. When this fist began, there were many who were logging in and watching online. However, in our current state, that novelty and curiosity has worn off for many and far too many have become disengaged from the church. As followers of Christ and embodied souls created in the image of God, we are not independent of one another, but interdependent. We are one body unified in Christ all working together to build the body up in love (Ephesians 4:1-16), which cannot be accomplished in the same way through virtual distance. A healthy church demands the physical presence of its people!

4. Of course, we understand that meeting together is not possible for everyone in our church body under the current circumstances. For those of you who are a more vulnerable, elderly, or whose conscience will not allow them to meet in person at this time, we completely understand. We will continue to record our services and make them available on-line. We need to display grace, love, and humility towards one other in ways that we may have never even considered before. Let us shine the love of Christ to each other as we care for one another and give grace and understanding to those who think differently than we may on these complicated issues.

We love you, Living Grace. We do not take this lightly and have not come to this important decision without much prayer and deliberation. Our goal is to shepherd you well, and we are convinced we cannot do that any longer, nor “indefinitely”, from afar. We hope you understand, and we hope, for those of you who can make it, to see you on Sunday nights at 6:00PM at LBC as we worship our Lord and Savior together.

Living Grace Elders
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