Ministry Update 7.10.20
I am writing this letter to remind our church community to wear masks on Sunday morning when attending a service. The government of Guam gave churches permission to reconvene with the stipulation that they would not exceed half the maximum capacity of their meeting areas, and that those in attendance would wear a mask. I get it – masks are a nuisance. Some even doubt their effectiveness. Despite divergent opinions I’m asking that you wear them for the following important reasons.
First, we have the opportunity to exemplify the teachings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 8 & 9. Here Paul makes the case that Christians should surrender their rights and/or freedoms if it means it helps another Christian. It is possible to make an issue of something to such an extent that it causes a stumbling block to other Christians or even an obstacle to the gospel (8:9, 9:12). Paul says, “I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.”
Second, I was informed that Public Health has sent a letter to at least one church on island that was not wearing masks. If a church does not comply they may be subject to fines or temporarily closed for Sunday services. Would they follow through with this? I believe the public spectacle itself is enough to detract us from a greater goal. We need to be open on Sundays to minister to each other in worship and to be available to the lost who at this time are seeking answers with a greater fervor than normal. Paying fines would be a waste of resources as well.
Lastly, partial conformity creates a lot of confusion. Some people have asked if they really need to wear a mask because they can see others not wearing them. This exasperates those complying. There is a domino effect where more and more people don’t wear a mask. Even if you are a conscientious objector to the masks people don’t know this and may assume that it’s not a big deal if we wear them. For clarity sake I’m giving us these guidelines:
- Wear a mask at church.
- From the moment you get out of your vehicle to the point in time you return to the vehicle – wear a mask.
- Church is not a restaurant where once you are seated you can take the mask off.
- If you are a conscientious objector to masks, or they are too problematic for your particular situation, my advice is to wait it out until they are no longer required. Stay in touch through smaller groups and our live stream as the next best option.
I pray that you can receive this letter in love and know that I am trying to shepherd through this weird time in a way that gives our church the broadest reach possible to God’s people and to Guam.
If I can further help you in this matter then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.