The absence of traditional worship services and gatherings has left some grand and beautiful edifices with limited use since late March, early April 2020.
Now that eight months has past, and no firm relief date is in sight, many pastors and congregations are searching to redefine what the new worship and gathering experiences should be. A collections of emotions (fear, exhaustion, questions, and others); government and agencies regulations; direct impacts (family and friends illness, deaths, job and business losses, and others), are all factors that shape the decision of reengaging worship.
Pastors and congregations are relying on independent wisdom and participating jurisdictional guidance to assist in this most daunting challenge.
Our faith informs us that such times would come (John 4:20-21) therefore we are admonished to be equipped from within so that when space and place is disrupted, worship continues. First Corinthians 3:16-17 and Romans 12:1 provides for us God’s expectations for our devotion to Him.
Devotion to God appears to have heightened during this time; a person that saw no need for worship are now surfing the internet to connect to worship services, a larger audience is being reported by churches that are living streaming or posting recorded worship services. However, the elements of in-person worship are missed by many and many are waiting to recapture them.
Most recently, churches in Colorado have challenged the governor’s regulation on wearing face masks and the limiting of persons allowed in religious gatherings (Denver 7 News report/ October 22, 2020). The federal courts sided with the two churches, and the state of Colorado has appealed the federal judge’s ruling. Some churches have decided to reopen despite regulation and have experienced unfavorable outcomes. The constant must be that, rather than when and how worship will resume; our focus on who it is that we worship must be sharpened, (John 4:23-24). Most of us are in hope of reengaging worship as we knew it, yet we are very much aware that it will never be the same going forward.
The American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains (ABCRM) have committed to assist its constituents’ churches in navigating this new dynamic in the life of the church. Weekly platforms through zoom and telephone conferences are tools that allow pastors to share both disappointments as well as new and creative ideas. ABCRM staff and board leadership are continually processing the responses submitted by constituents’ churches to help support and encourage safe and practical reopening.
By no means do we proport to have the answer, and in fact have concluded that one-size-fit-all is not practical. We are committed to assisting church by church within our ability to regain a high level of worship through the method or methods that will glorify God and will add to the Body of Christ.
Help those living out of their cars
find a safe place to park
Communities of faith are uniting to provide safe parking places throughout the Greater Metropolitan Denver area. The Colorado Safe Parking Initiative is a citizen-led group working to help the estimated thousands of individuals and families who will be living out of their car by the end of the year.