3/13/2020 at 3:00 pm

The Church is not a building

By March 13, 2020 June 18th, 2020 No Comments

Dear Summitview Family,

“The church is not a building.” Isn’t it annoying how each Sunday morning Travis says the same thing? C’mon Travis, think up something a little more original! Well, it turns out he’s right and we’re going to get an opportunity to prove it. After much prayer and conversation, we have decided to relocate our church services, both Friday and Sunday, into homes on Sunday mornings for at least the next two Sundays. This means that tonight’s Friday service is canceled and we will be encouraging everyone to gather in a home on the upcoming Sunday mornings. Below are the details.

Why would we cancel our large weekend gatherings?

For many of us, our perspective this week has been that the entire world is overreacting. As pastors, we at times have certainly found ourselves in that camp as well. However, as we have collected a lot of information in the last 48 hours, we have come to believe that it is important to take this situation very seriously and to implement necessary precautions. Here is a quick summary of a few of the factors that persuade us:

  1. As believers, we should especially care for the most vulnerable members of our community, meaning that we should be particularly cautious about creating situations that could lead to the infection of these precious people.
  2. Although COVID-19 will likely spread and infect thousands throughout our state and community, limiting opportunities for infection and slowing its progress will help medical facilities be able to accommodate cases (including non-coronavirus related conditions) in the upcoming months.
  3. As evidenced by how the virus has spread in other countries, and the reality of the condition often being asymptomatic, it can be assumed that the virus is already present in our community.
  4. The State of Colorado has asked to limit public gatherings to less than 250 people.
  5. We believe that the church is not dependent on our weekly, large-group gathering, and this may be a special, redemptive opportunity through which we can connect with each other in more intimate settings (more on that below).

So what are we going to do for our weekend services?

We are still working on details, but here’s our basic plan. Although we think it’s prudent to not meet as a large group, we also believe that regular fellowship is non-negotiable. It’s something that we need as believers and we cannot forsake meeting together (Hebrews 10:24-25). Therefore, we would like to consolidate the Friday and Sunday services by having small meetings in homes on Sunday at 10:00am. We will plan to live stream a message at that time and will give instruction to leaders and hosts about how to structure the meeting. Perhaps some of you will get to dust off your guitar and lead your group in a few songs   We will do this for at least the next two Sundays – March 15th and 22nd – but perhaps longer. You can expect to hear definitive communication on or before Wednesday, March 25th regarding the following weekend services.

How will “house churches” be organized?

We will begin with small groups. We will be talking with each small group leader today and tomorrow to see what would work best in terms of location and meeting size. That could mean breaking a small group into smaller groups of people. It could mean combining small groups. We will be working hard to come up with some good situations. If you are on a small group, your small group leader will be contacting you with a plan soon. Also, feel free to respond to this email if you would like to volunteer your home as a good hosting location.

What if I’m not on a small group?

For those who are not on a small group, we would love for you to jump in with a “house church” in the upcoming weeks. Again, gathering together as the church, regardless of format, is critically important. So if you’re not on a small group, we would encourage one of the following:

  1. Contact a small group leader that you know and see if there would be an opportunity to join their meeting on Sunday mornings. You can take a look at our small groups at https://summitview.com/small-groups/.
  2. Email Travis Swan at travisswan@summitview.com We would love to direct you to a place that might be a good fit.

In addition, we will be reaching out to people to see if we can help.

What if I am either part of a vulnerable population or eventually contract the virus?

For those of you that are older, immuno-compromised, currently experiencing sickness, or if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, we understand that you may not be able to attend even a meeting like we describe above. However, we would still love to be in communication with you and to be able to serve you in whatever way is needed (e.g. if you need groceries delivered). Our benevolence deacons will be actively helping to coordinate the meeting of needs. Please email Travis Swan at travisswan@summitview.com to share your situation.

Similarly, we realize that some of you, whether experiencing sickness or not, are feeling anxious about contact with people. Please do not feel pressured into social interaction that you feel uncomfortable with. Still, please let us know how you’re doing so that we can remain in touch with you.

How should we interact at our meetings?

We will be providing guidance on best health practices during your meetings. Obviously, if you are feeling sick, please remain at home, although we would love to still connect with you, as described above.

What’s next?

As mentioned above, we will be meeting in homes for at least the next two Sundays, but will communicate next steps as they are decided. We will post emails and other relevant information on this page, and we will certainly be in touch regularly in the upcoming days.

Finally, pray with us for God to show his amazing redemptive power during this time. When Paul was in prison, he saw it as an opportunity. The gospel was being shared with “the whole imperial guard” and many believers were “much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:14-15). The point is that God uses seemingly negative circumstances to bring about good that we otherwise wouldn’t have imagined. We trust that he is doing the same here.

In Faith,

The Summitview Pastors