Before diving into this, it is important to state right up front that we believe that the church should be open to everyone. That people, all people, matter to God and therefore matter to us. We wish we were in a position where we could operate as we always have with our doors open to all people.
Yet, we also believe that we have a responsibility to uphold and adhere to the laws of the land. The New Testament makes it clear that as followers of Christ, we need to pray for those in authority and to come under the laws of the land.
So we really are stuck between a rock and a hard place. A position where there is no easy answer, no right way forward. Yet in the midst of this, we are required to make a decision and proceed accordingly. Also of note, over the past 20 months, since the start of the pandemic, we have seen the resilience of our church. We have pivoted, tried things, some super successful things, some not so successful things. Yet we have consistently adapted and moved depending on what we could and couldn’t do. That adaptiveness, the ability to pivot is still there. And as things play out, and adjust and move, we will continue to embrace that same spirit.
Also, we are acutely aware of the fact that a church is larger than its Sunday Service. While a Sunday Service plays a role, church isn’t a place we go, or a service we attend. We are the Church, you and I. This truth needs to remain central to all we do and as we move forward and things change (they will change) I am convinced that it will be vital that we keep this truth front and centre.
With that being said, let’s answer the question.
The primary reason we have taken this approach is we failed to see a viable alternative. The unpredictability around the size of groups you can have at the various traffic light levels, currently 50 (but subject to change between 100 at green & 25 at red), makes it very hard for a church of our size to operate at a sustainable level. We also don’t know how easily the colour will change, therefore making it very hard for us to plan anything.
A follow up question to this could be – does this mean LifeSwitch no longer cares for or values unvaccinated people?
I hope the tone of what was communicated on Sunday, leaves no room for people to believe this. The elders, the staff and people right throughout LifeSwitch are committed to loving all people. Some of the people within our community who are not vaccinated are incredibly close friends of mine. If you are unvaccinated, please know we value you. That is precisely why I want to sit with you, and hear from you how we can best serve you. To know what it is we can do to ensure you feel valued and connected. I could make assumptions, try things. Yet I’m not in your situation. I can sympathise with, but not fully appreciate, all you are currently feeling. Nothing is off the cards, that’s why I want to talk.