If you’re a part of Roots Church and wondering how we are responding to the Coronavirus outbreak, this video is for you.
As many of you know, I was scheduled to fly to Switzerland this weekend. To make a long story short, the Swiss church and I agreed it would be best to cancel at this time. So don’t worry... I won’t be taking any bugs to Europe or bringing any home because I’m staying this side of the pond.
Now... regarding our church. As you know, Roots doesn’t operate like a typical church. Our primary expression of “church” happens in small groups in homes, which means we are already uniquely positioned to continue operating even if the Government puts restrictions on large meetings.
The reason so many churches in our area are cancelling is *not* because of fear. The vast majority of people who catch this Coronavirus will be fine. The government is limiting meeting sizes to slow the rate of contagion so that the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed. And I applaud churches doing their part to limit the speed of contagion.
Here at Roots, we don’t really have big meetings. Our primary focus is small groups, which do not pose the same contagion risks, especially if we take precautions. At Roots, your house church IS your church. It is where we take communion, where we baptize, where we study the Bible, where we pray for one another, and where we worship and fellowship.
With regard to our big meetings, which we value but consider secondary and non-essential to the ongoing life of our church, we will comply with the recommendations of public health officials. At this time, the recommendation from our governor is to limit meetings to fewer than 100 people. While we have nearly 100 people involved throughout our house church network right now, our Encounter Nights on first and third Sundays tend to only run about half that size. At this time, even our “big meetings” are technically small meetings. But in the likely event that we continue growing during this time of quarantine, or if the State restrictions are tightened, we will begin limiting our large meetings to the State-recommended limits, or else we will cancel. Again, this is not because of fear but because we want to do our part in helping to slow the speed of contagion, thus helping the already overburdened healthcare system.
We will announce any changes of plans on the General Discussion Forum at MyRoots.church or the Wix app. Contact your house church pastor if you’re not sure how to set that up.
It should go without saying that we are a church who believes in divine healing. We have seen more miracles since our launch in September than I saw in my first 25 years of life in a Spirit-filled church. These are exciting times, and the Gospel is advancing with power. With that said, we are also honest about our desire for 100% results and the fact that not yet everyone is healed when we minister.
For this reason, and especially for the sake of our elder members, we still recommend staying home—even from our small meetings—if you are experiencing any symptoms of sickness or believe you have been exposed to the virus.
Jesus knew He had the biblical promise of not dashing His foot against a stone, but He still didn’t jump off the temple to prove it. Instead He responded, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Likewise, we know we have the biblical promise of healing, but we still will not be haphazard or cavalier in our response to this contagious illness that poses such a risk to those who are more vulnerable among us.
I recommend to the elder folks in our church and anyone who is at risk—or who is the primary caregiver for someone who is at risk: Make a wise judgment for your own health and the safely of those closest to you. You are not a bad Christian if you choose to stay home. Stay connected in our online forums, and let me know if you’re staying home for safety reasons. If there’s enough interest, we may start up an interactive, online house church using Google Hangouts so that those who are at risk can still participate in church life. Don’t worry—it’s not that complicated, and we’ll help you get set up.
To those of us who are not at risk, I applaud you if you are choosing not to live in fear, but please be considerate of those among us who might be in danger if they catch the virus (so keep washing your hands, and please stay home if you think you may have been exposed).
House church pastors who think they may have been exposed can cancel their individual meetings or move them to someone else’s home and assign someone else to lead. These changes will be posted in your house church forum at MyRoots.church or the Wix app.
In short, we refuse to live in fear, but we also refuse to live without love for the vulnerable. Be wise. Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Educate yourself. And as Scripture admonishes us, “submit yourselves to the governing authorities.”
This Sunday at 5:30pm, I will be preaching a short message at our Encounter Night about how we ought to respond to the current pandemic with fearlessness, faith, and love. My hope is that I can challenge you to think differently about how we can best represent Jesus during this time of public concern. I hope to see everyone there who feels it would be right for them to attend.
After that meeting, we will have a time of prayer for our nation and the world, trusting God to work miracles, spare lives, and bring a safe end to this worldwide event.
(The video concludes with prayer.)