Trust and ReGathering

Where will you eat out in the future? On what airline will you fly? What about which hotel where you will stay?

All of these have the same answer–the one I trust. For the foreseeable future, trust will be the number one criterion for places we will visit in the coming days. That includes places of worship.

In Louisiana, we are waiting our governor’s green light to begin gathering for worship. When that happens, we will move forward with a well-formulated plan to worship together.

Our plan is set up to make sure we focus on God and not on cleanliness.

Our pastoral team has been busy reading CDC guidelines, state guidelines, and the many checklists of other churches and denominational groups (it’s amazing how many of these have been offered). We are doing our best to take the best practices and ignore those that don’t apply to our situation.

Here’s what we want to say to our people: We will do our very best to care for you and your family in the way we want our families cared for. That means that we will go “overboard” to make sure your mind is on God and not on the Coranavirus. Some of that concern is only natural, but we want to do everything possible to remove it to the background.

Here’s what you can expect until we put this painful time behind us:

~spatial distancing–the guidelines for today (they change regularly and according to the phase of our recovery) call for having 25% of our occupancy in attendance. This will allow us to have 628 people in each of our three worship services, which should allow us to worship comfortably and to accommodate the people who will want to come at this early date. As the virus subsides, we should be able to add to our numbers at the same time that more people want to attend.

We will have our worship center marked out in a checkerboard fashion to allow us to be close but not too close.

~families worshiping together–to begin we will not provide childcare. Families will have the privilege of worshiping together and we will make it kid-friendly. It should be a unique and wonderful time.

~”touchless” worship, both with people and with surfaces. To begin we will not shake hands and not give a “Holy kiss.” We will greet one another warmly and lovingly. We will make sure you get worship materials and can give an offering but without spreading germs. You will not have to open doors.

~Volunteers and staff to sanitize regularly. After each worship service, we will sanitize “everything,” all surfaces, handrails, doorknobs, and everything else. We will have attendants to constantly refresh the restrooms and other attendants to refresh repeatedly.

Soon, I will send a video to prepare my congregation for what they can expect so that we can really enjoy one another’s presence and to joyfully enter to a time of gathered worship of God.

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18 Responses

  1. Praise God , thank you so much Pastor Bailey and pastors , and staff, looking forward to gathering and Praising the Lord together!

  2. I trust you and the rest of our staff to do the best for everyone who enters our church building. I want to thank all of you for keeping us connected in every way possible during this time. With God’s guidance, all of you have done an amazing job!

  3. Thank you so much, we pray for the staff everyday as you depend on the Lord to guide you in the decision. You can be assure our class will be in full support to the decision the Lord lays on your hearts.

    Thank you again and may bless each of you and keep you safe.

  4. Saw that FBC Slidell had a drive-in service. Looked like families having a picnic.
    I like the part about not having to open doors. The restroom doors are sooo difficult to open. Especially for people with canes or walkers.
    We love y’all and appreciate all the online connections!
    God Bless ✝️

  5. Excellent plan! So thankful for Waylon and the entire pastoral team’s leadership during these uncertain/changing times, as our collective focus is brought back to God – the One who is unchanging & able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.

  6. I have never been a part of FBC Covington, though our son and daughter-in-law were on your music staff while he was in seminary a number of years ago. I began then making the reading Dr. Bailey’s blog a routine part of my time alone with God. I greatly appreciate this extension of your ministry, and have often found myself sharing an entire day’s message or quoting from one, always with appropriate noting of it’s source, of course. I am forwarding today’s message to a number of key leaders of my church here in Middle Georgia, as an example of how to communicate the process of restarting our together-worship. Thank you, and blessings!

  7. Can you send me your plans to share with pastors in South Mississippi? Especially how you are checkerboarding the sanctuary. Be safe!

  8. How blessed to be part of our church led by such hard working pastors and staff! God is good and His Kingdom is being pushed forward and revealed in greater ways due to the continued care of FBCCOV! Thank you pastor Waylon….praying for your continued health, wisdom and leadership.

  9. Thank you Pastor Waylon, Pastors and the rest of your staff for all the hard work you all are doing everyday to get things ready for our beautiful church to open again. Praise God and it will be a blessing of a lifetime to be able to walk through the doors of the church once again. Amen

  10. Taking the fast way out…I would like to ditto all of the above. The day I walked into our church changed my life on earth and my eternal life forever. Thanks to all of you and I can hardly wait to be back.

  11. I don’t understand the checker boarding. Please explain tomorrow. Your plans for us to re-gather are wonderful. And we can hardly wait. We so appreciate all you have been doing to hold the family together during these days. Much love and prayers.

    1. Thanks, Beth. A better way for me to have said that is that we will have clearly marked seating so that we have the distancing. The rows will be marked with blue painter’s tape.

  12. Thank you for that information and all the hard work of you and the staff done in preparation for our safe and joyous return to gathering.

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