Today is May 10th, 2020. Mother’s Day. It is our second Sunday having normal, in-person services, and the congregation is excited to be back. The fellowship is sweeter, the smiles are brighter, the songs are dearer, and the love is stronger. In fact, excited would be an understatement. Many people have thanked me multiple times for reopening the church, making it very apparent that our church family is glad to be home!
Before we decided to postpone services, there were approximately 450-500 people in attendance on any given Sunday. For the last two weeks of March, we had 214 in attendance and then the numbers dropped to 192. This is after the buses had already stopped operating. We closed the church during the month of April and live streamed all of our services. On Sunday, May 3 rd , the church reopened for normal services. We had previously scheduled Jeff and Sheri Easter to sing for us that day, so we kept the engagement and enjoyed their performance on our first Sunday back. It was an awesome homecoming time! The services were Spirit-filled and powerful. We had 332 people in attendance for the performance and today, we had 347.
Our live streaming has gone very well, but now that we have reopened the church, viewers have diminished by about two thirds. We plan to continue live streaming throughout July and then discontinue it altogether.
Our buses began their regular routes on our first Sunday back, but are only running half of the regular riders. Safety precautions include having the riders sanitize their hands before entering the bus, sitting in every other seat, and disinfecting the bus after everyone exits.
It is interesting to watch the congregation mingle and fellowship before and after services. Some are serious about social distancing, a few people wear masks, but a majority of the congregation are hugging and shaking each other’s hands.
Our offerings increased the entire time our church was closed. On our first Sunday back in the building, the total offerings were a little over $31,000, which is high even for a first Sunday of the month.
For the time being, we have decided not to host our monthly Senior Citizen’s Luncheon and have also refrained from door-to- door soul winning.
We are located in a rural area with our entire county only containing about 45,000 residents. Our county did not have a confirmed case of Covid-19 until the last week of March. At the peak of the pandemic, we had a total of 16 confirmed cases. As of last week, our local news reported that the county health department does not know of any confirmed, active cases of the virus in our county. Keeping abreast of these numbers helps us make wise decisions about reopening all ministries of the church in a timely manner.
This has been an unprecedented time in the world’s history, and being cautious is a wise thing to do. However, God is still on the throne, and we must place our trust in Him and serve until Jesus comes. I hope that this information will be valuable to all of my friends and that they will see success and God’s blessings on their churches as things return to normal.