May 14, 2020
After much prayer and discussion among our staff, pastors, and elders, we are incredibly excited to announce that we will begin gathering again at The Brook on Sunday, May 24! I’d like to take a few moments to talk more about what that will look like, how that will unfold, and give you all the information you need to make the decision of when it will be best for you and your family to join us here in person.
Before I dive into some of these details, I want to address a couple of things. First of all, for anyone who has a suppressed immune system, a history of health or medical issues, or is currently recovering from a surgery, illness, or infection of any kind, as frustrating as this may be, this decision (for at least the first few weeks we gather) has probably been made for you. In this season with the apparent risks from this virus, we want you to know that as much as we long to see you and be with you (and we’re betting you want to see us), it is totally OK for you to wait a few more weeks. In fact, not only is it OK, we highly recommend it. Along with this, we know that some of our families have children who are more at-risk. We give you the same encouragement and exhortation. Hang in there! Know that we are praying for you. And let us know any way that we can serve you during these weeks.
Now I’d like to share with you what we are doing to prepare for May 24, some of the new practices and safeguards we are putting in place, and our tentative plans for the next 6 weeks.
In the next days leading up to May 24, we will be fully cleaning & sanitizing all our facilities, setting up hand sanitizing stations all over the campus, sending out our well-child policy to all parents, and removing a select number of chairs in the worship center to provide more space between us. That’s much of what we are doing beforehand to prepare. Now, let me speak to what these weeks will look like as we gather.
When we gather on May 24 and May 31, there will be NO children’s activities. Everyone on campus will be in our worship services. Our Connection Team will be opening all doors for all people (except the restroom doors, of course), placing bulletins in chairs instead of handing them out, hosting a full-serve coffee counter (not self-serve), disinfecting the worship center & restrooms in-between services, and asking everyone to completely avoid hand-shaking or hugging (unless it’s your own momma). We will also be livestreaming both services (rather than just 9:00) for at least the first 2 weeks so that everyone has an opportunity to “be with us” during those corporate gatherings. At this point, we will encourage our Missional Communities to begin gathering again as well, possibly in small groups at first for some, giving people and families the opportunity to ease back in as they are ready. Dusty will be contacting all of our MC leaders during the next days to assist them in preparing and making decisions.
We realize that these first 2 weeks might make it very difficult for families with small children to attend. We completely understand. This is one of the many reasons that we will continue providing our Family Worship resources on our website for the indefinite future.
Beginning June 7, The Brook Littles (Birth-Pre-K) will resume on Sundays & The Brook Students activities will resume during the week. We will be scanning the temperature of all workers & kids at the check-in counter with contactless thermometers, all our children’s workers will be wearing uniform masks, we will be disinfecting all rooms in-between services, and highly encouraging all our members & regular attenders with a child in The Brook Littles to use our text-to-check-in feature, which will eliminate multiple people touching the iPad screens, passing and spreading germs. If you are not familiar with the text-to-check-in process, we will send out simple instructions next week.
Beginning June 21 (Father’s Day), ALL Family Ministry activities will resume (The Brook Littles & The Brook Kids on Sundays). We will potentially remove masks from our workers, but continue taking temps. We will also be holding our Parent/Child Dedication that morning during both worship services, and our Discover Class during the 10:45 service in the Connection Center.
As July approaches, we will continue assessing what new practices need to stay in place and what (if anything) can begin to be relaxed or reconsidered. Let me repeat what I said previously: these aforementioned plans are tentative. Our staff and leadership are in a constant state of evaluating everything. We appreciate your patience during this time of being away. We will continue to need your patience as we begin to gather.
Let me wrap up by mentioning a few more things that you can be aware of that will help all of us have the best experience possible back here on campus.
By now, you are probably getting used to (if not sick of) seeing signs in doorways telling you to social distance, signs on floors telling you where to stand, signs in restaurants telling you where you can sit, and so on. While you may see a bit of this here on campus, for the most part we are trusting you to honor, respect, and be considerate of others. You may not be concerned or worried about getting sick or breathing in germs. To be very honest with you, that’s me. However, I’m trying to think more about the people around me who are concerned. Be conscientious of other people. Let’s all take Paul’s words to the Philippians to heart as he told them to “consider others more important than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others.”
In closing, and in keeping with Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I have to say that over these last days and weeks his opening words to the church have ignited in my heart for you: “I thank my God every time I remember you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
God has been so good to us during this season. Our staff has been an unspeakable blessing to all of us. And your faithfulness and encouragement has made it a joy to lead and serve alongside you. Keep living intentionally to bring God’s Kingdom everywhere you go! I’ll see you online this Sunday and hopefully at The Brook on May 24.