Temple’s News from Pastor David
email to church July 31
Dear Temple Family,
I hope this email finds you doing well and having a great week! I have some very important information to share regarding Phase 4 of our church reentry plan, so I’ll get right to it. I am also asking you to please read the entire email.
As you know, our tentative plan from the beginning was to start Phase 4 of our reentry plan on August 9. Phase 4 was to start our “New Normal” where preschoolers, children, students, and most of our Adult Bible Fellowship Classes came back on campus in a more traditional Sunday morning and weekday format. While myself and many others were excited about the possibility of reaching the next step in our plan, our Pastoral Staff/Directors, after consulting with the team of medical professionals from within our church, we have decided to push Phase 4 (with the exception of the Learning Depot which follows the school calendar and will restart as planned) to January 2021. To be clear, we will not bring all the different age group ministries back to campus on August 9. Why?
- There are too many unknowns and factors outside of our control that we have to try and take into account and to plan for (A continued spike in COVID-19 cases, the possibility of more shutdowns and mandates, additional changes to the school calendar/school week format, the upcoming cold and flu season, etc.). As you’ve experienced in your own life and family, it’s hard to make long-term plans when so many things are changing on a week-to-week basis. In times of uncertainty, clarity is the way forward and the decision to push the start of Phase 4 to January 2021 will give all of us some much-needed clarity in the area of Sunday morning and weekday church.
- Our current Sunday morning plan is working! Since returning to campus for Sunday worship on June 7, our church family continues to do a great job in following that plan. Our staff feels very confident in our ability to maintain social distancing, etc. for those coming in and out of the worship service. However, once we bring everyone back on campus and have hundreds of people of all ages walking around the entire facility at the same, we lessen our ability to keep everyone safe, spacious, and sanitized which was our goal from the beginning.
- The church is not the building! Just because we are postponing the start of Phase 4 until January 2021 doesn’t mean that ministry stops. Our staff is currently working on a comprehensive plan for the fall as we reimagine our ministries to keep kids, students, college, and adults engaged in church and growing in their relationship with Jesus. Our Fall Ministry Plan will be finalized and shared with our church family shortly after Labor Day Weekend. Again, in times of uncertainty, clarity is the way forward so stay tuned for our reimagined Fall Ministry Plan.
As I write this email I realize that some of you are relieved about the postponement of Phase 4 while others are disappointed or even upset…I get it because I too am disappointed. You have no idea how hard these last 5 months have been on myself and our family. We long to be around our new church family and to continue building on the relationships we started after we moved to Mississippi, as well as, establishing new relationships. COVID-19 wiped out 7 months of momentum and growth our church was experiencing and put a BIG questions mark (?) over the foreseeable future. After 15 years pastoring in Florida, the LORD blessed us with such a great start to a new season of ministry here at Temple…and then COVID-19 paid us a visit…so yes, I get it!
Finally, please know that our decision to postpone Phase 4 until January 2021 was not made lightly or in haste. On the contrary, our staff has collaborated together, leaned into the wisdom of others, and prayed over this decision. But again, in times of uncertainty, clarity is the way forward. So, in the days to come let’s assume the best, fight for unity, embrace the change, and keep trusting Jesus (and our staff)!
PS. If you missed Monday’s email and video regarding Pastor Rob Thomas coming to serve as our Interim Pastor of Worship please click here to catch up on this exciting news!