Gathering Update

Sorry for the long read, there’s just a lot to talk about – please take the
time to read it all.

This past week or so we’ve been gearing up to begin gathering in a bit
larger groups… to a max of 30 people based on some new freedoms the
government has given. You’ve probably got wind of this through me or others
or through your 5Alive leaders or in the news. Well, I was gearing up for
this and after the board meeting last night, it became clear to us that we
are not quite there yet! So, we are not going to start gathering in larger
groups… yet.

So, now you’re wondering, “What’s the scoop?” Well, turns out that
facilitating us gathering into larger groups isn’t as straightforward as we
thought. Here’s the lowdown as I see things in the form of a little Q and
A. Keep in mind we are trying to balance three things: the need to be
legal, the need to be safe and maintaining the health of the body of
Christ. I would argue that those three things will not always line up.

*Why Can’t We Meet in Groups of 30?*
We can. Or rather we could if we wanted to. But as you think about the
logistics of meeting in groups of 30 (check out the Sask Health Website),
whether outside or inside, following the guidelines makes meeting very,
well, not easy to meet and follow the guidelines as groups get bigger.
Social distancing, sanitizing surfaces, no contact etc… throw a few kids
into the mix to boot and it is tough! I’m not saying we won’t get there,
but the practicalities of meeting this way don’t work if we want to stay
above reproach and still meet – so we are gonna slow down a little.

*People Are Shopping at Walmart in Droves, I’ve Been There Too, Let’s Meet
True and in some ways I agree, but I also want us to again, be above
reproach. I don’t want to organize some larger meetings, knowing that we
just are not going to be able to maintain the guidelines. It’s one thing
for a group of families to get together and meet, it’s another thing for us
as an organization to organize the meeting. I don’t think that meeting in
groups of 30 would be life or death for the body. In fact I honestly think
that by not meeting in larger groups we can posture ourselves to be a more
effective and healthy body by meeting in smaller, more intimate, and
organic groups.

*But We Are the Body, We Need to Get Together Pastor Dave. What gives?*
Again I agree, but you don’t need me to organize meetings. Nor is an
organized meeting where it’s at for the church. Like I said, maybe this is
good for us. I think the church needs to move beyond the word
“organizational” and be more organic.

*Why Can’t We Have a Cycle of Meetings in The Church???*
Again, yes we could meet in the church, to a maximum of 30 people. So, with
our regular attendance numbers being around 100-110, that’s 4 services – if
you could call them services. No singing, social distancing, no food,
arrows on the floor to mark flow through the building, staggered arrival
and departure and some other guidelines… and well, it feels more
traumatizing than a blessing. We’ve actually set up the sanctuary as a test
run with 30 chairs the appropriate distance apart and it ain’t pretty – it
feels really bare.

*So What’s Your Idea, Cause Dude We Need to Meet!???*
So here’s the idea.

*You be the body of Christ and let your pastors equip** you and serve you!*

Now, let me unpack that a bit. Here’s what I am thinking for the next
little while. We are still gonna go through the *Realignment* content. If
you have not watched the overview video yet, you should (here’s the link
). This is going to guide us for a while.

Over the coming weeks, we will be releasing two things every week o*n top
of our Sunday Experience* (our online church). One, we will release a 15-20
minute teaching video and two, a handout that helps to guide some
discussion on the teaching and maybe a scripture to read. We’ll put all
this on a separate web page so people can work through them at their own
pace. Our job as pastors will be to equip you with tools and teaching to
facilitate these small groups – first with the focus of Realigning the
Church… and then on to where God will lead!

Your job as the body will be to get together with others in small groups to
go through this together, perhaps 2-3 family units in total, with of course
an awareness of the guidelines the government has enacted (we can help if
anyone has questions). In reality, I think this is really what the church
ought to be doing and the way it should be functioning anyway. This means
that I need to trust you and empower you to care for one another – it’s
kind of exciting to me that we are being forced to do this!

*How Will We Ensure Everyone Has a Chance to Meet with Someone?*
Well, this is where our 5Alive Leaders will come in. We will use them as a
resource for tracking down anyone who might be falling through the cracks.
We won’t expect our 5Alive Leaders to be doing anything more than they are
already doing, other than helping Pastor Dave and Pastor Mike find the
people that are not making any connection. Of course if they want to,
connecting with the people in their group is totally cool. And to be clear
5Alive leaders don’t need to feel confined to their group. They have some
responsibilities of care for those groups, but are free to fellowship and
reach out to others.

Of course people who are immunocompromised, who are sick or who have
travelled will have to make special arrangements – and that’s where your
Pastor’s can come and help!

*I Need Some More Connection, What Else Can I Do?*
There’s lots you can do.

– Call the Pastor’s and ask for a visit. We are happy to meet with you
in any way you are comfortable. Back-yard, cell phone through the window…
whatever, we will make it work.
– Start or join a prayer group. Meet for prayer in small groups at home
or even at the church. Just give me a shout and we can make sure we are
using the building correctly.
– Come to *Front Lawn Friday’s. *Starting this Friday there will be a
pastor on the front lawn from 10-12am. We’ll be available for prayer or a
chat or just a hello. Stay in the car or join us on the lawn – at a social
distance of course 🙂
– Walk through the community and pray on Sunday’s. You never know who
you will see out.
– Call your Pastors Sunday morning if you need a visit or if you’d like
to come by. We’ll make it work based on your comfort level.
– Be creative. You have my permission to serve and love each other. You
have my permission to ask for help, fellowship or prayer if you need it.

*What’s the Bottom Line???*
We are not at the point where it feels right to organize larger group
gatherings (up to 30), but we are at a point where getting together is
becoming critical. Smaller, organic connections are the order of the day.
That means you need to engage. Get involved.

We will plan on having the first video and discussion sheet in the
Realignment series ready for the weekend of June 20-21st. That will give
you some time to digest and think about who you might try to connect with.
It will also give you more time to watch the overview video:

God bless,