Community Bible Church Reopening Plan
The state's plan (as we understand it): Limit of 25 people per social gathering. Face masks recommended in public places. Social distancing in place. Limit non-essential travel. Large venues to remain closed (including churches).
CBC's plan for weekend corporate worship:
- We want to support and honor those among us who are part of the at-risk of the population, and remain vulnerable.
- We will continue to offer online services as we have for the last couple of months. These will be available through Facebook Live, through our website , and through a call-in phone number (1-669-900-9128, enter code: 310 217 630; audio only)
- There are those who feel comfortable getting together for small "watch parties" or similar fellowship gatherings, and we happily encourage you to do so using common sense regarding best hygiene practices.
- We are encouraging these "watch parties" to form around natural communities of friends, family, and small group ministries for those who feel comfortable to host and attend.
- If you struggle to connect with one of these "watch parties," we would encourage you to host your own. If that is not a possibility, you are welcome to contact the church office, and we will do our best to help you.
CBC's plan for weekly ministries:
- No ministries will meet on the CBC campus
- Weekly ministries (Community Groups, ABFs, bible studies, Brothers' Keepers, etc.) will be welcome to meet virtually or at the home of a participant using common sense regarding best hygiene practices.
Phase Two & Beyond
Due to the fluidity of this situation, we plan on waiting to see how things develop in order to respond appropriately. Check back for more information.
By definition, the church of God gathers regularly for corporate worship, typically on the "first day of the week" (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). The Greek word that is used for the local church in the New Testament (ekklesia) is borrowed from the culture, and it means "the called-out ones" or "assembly." When Scripture speaks about the Universal church, (everyone who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord) it always speaks of the activity and outworking of that group in terms of the local (gathered) church. By definition, a church that does not gather is not a church. A Christian that does not identify with a local church is an unknown entity in the pages of Scripture, and would be a foreign concept to the apostles and believers in the New Testament.
In extraordinary times, the church has been forced to modify its meeting habits because of circumstances like disease and persecution. Even in the course of normal operation, we read that the early church gathered in a variety of locations, meeting "in the Temple" and "from house-to-house" (Acts 2:42-47; 5:42). In our current season of the Coronavirus and the resulting Covid-19 sickness, the habits of churches across the world have again been modified. At CBC, we have chosen to follow the recommendations of civic and health officials in order to be good neighbors and citizens of our world.
As the governor of our state allows easing of these restrictions across certain segments of society, we will continue to follow the guidelines put forth, endeavoring to maintain our witness for Jesus Christ while longing to be together and express ourselves as the church gathered for worship, the preaching of the Word, fellowship, and the Lord's Supper.
Some might wonder why we don't supercede these guidelines, exercising our rights as free Americans. There are several reasons we have chosen continuing adherence to the recommendations of these governmental and health officials:
- It is clear that governing authorities are God's representatives for the protection of life, safety, and health of the people over whom they preside (Rom 13:1-7). Believers are commanded to submit to and respect them. This command is not absolute, but inasmuch as their directives do not violate God's commands—and we do not believe they do at this point—we are to obey these authorities as we would God.
- We want to care well for the vulnerable and at-risk in society. In doing so, we are being good neighbors and putting value on human life above our own preferences (Prov. 31:8-9; Matt. 25:31-40; Rom 12:18; Col. 4:5-6).
- A man who is qualified to be a leader in the church is to have a good reputation among outsiders (1 Tim. 3:7). Of course, there are certain things about our faith that will be scandalous and offensive, but those stumbling blocks are found in the truth of the gospel as one is convicted of their sin (1 Cor. 1:18).
We recognize that there are differing opinions on how to best respond in this situation. There is no perfect answer in these unique circumstances, but more important than anyone's opinion or preference is our witness as we maintain the unity we have in Jesus. Unity is a primary mark of our position as God's people and testimony to the world that is watching (John 13:34-35; 17:20-23; Eph. 4:1-3). We must avoid the example of the Corinthians, who Paul chastised for aligning themselves under the leadership of President Trump or Governor Brown (modern paraphrase) to the detriment of the gospel (1 Cor. 1:10-12; 3:1-4). The most pious even tried to spiritualize issue and claim the self-righteous high ground. In this, they contributed to the harmful divisions (1 Cor. 1:12) and assured that the gospel could be maligned among the community. Paul's solution was to put aside all of these divisions and focus on the priority of the gospel demonstrating the power of God, which was certainly seen most clearly in the love the saints had for one another (1 Cor. 2:1-5).