When I spoke to the congregation as we went into Phase 2 in Walla Walla County, I said that we have been praying heavily over the direction of the church, when to reopen the building, and that it may feel that we are slower moving than other churches in our area.
This past week has been a mixture of emotions as the leadership of the church has continued to pray and ask God for answers. On Wednesday night we prayed over a June 28th opening for an outside service. That night was a night of restless sleep as I realized that I was rushing God’s timing. We then talked about a July 5th outside service. Still, God was telling us that it was too soon for our church.
While speaking to members of the CDC, a head member of infectious disease at Providence Health, and many health care professionals, I felt a peace with God saying “Just wait.” There are many new cases of COVID-19 that are rising in the surrounding areas. Yakima County ICU is filled. Benton and Franklin Counties are near max capacity. With this news, and with the prompting of God, our leadership team at WCC has decided not to open our building until we get a different word on what God wants and a grasp on what is happening around us.
I understand that this will cause some disappointment and maybe some frustration in some. As three months have gone by since we have joined together in worship, I understand that many are ready for a sense of normalcy. I am with you. I can’t wait for the time we can join, hug, sing, and worship in person. And as churches start to reopen in our community and the surrounding communities, that disappointment may grow. I am in no way saying that other churches shouldn’t open.
That is not my business or my focus. I know that the churches around us are led by amazing men and women of God and they have been faithful in praying about this. As for me, I have been called to be the spiritual leader of the Waitsburg Christian Church. That is my focus.
Our leadership team came to a unanimous decision on Thursday night that we feel God calling us to wait. To not set a date, but to wait on Him. As we move into Phase 3, we will re-evaluate what is happening around us. But we will not rush God. United we have decided that it’s not time yet.
I want you all to know that we are not making this decision out of fear but out of love. We aren’t focused on the pressures of man but on the calling and whispering of God. We made a decision in March that the only thing we want to spread is love. We have stuck by that and we will continue to stand by that. We are called to love our neighbor and with what is happening in the world around us, this is how we feel God is calling us to do just that.
Please remember that church has never been closed. We have now spread Global with our messages each Sunday. Many who have not come to church before this pandemic have committed their lives to Christ during this time. Also, please know that social distancing doesn’t mean relationship distancing. Make that phone call, schedule that video conference. Invite someone to church within your home as long as it is safe.
Yes, it is disappointing and frustrating at times. Just know that we do not take this decision lightly. Pray for the leadership of this church. This is not an enviable position for our team as we make tough decisions based on where we believe God is calling us. These decisions are made out of love, with God’s guidance, and with input from the health care professionals.
Church will continue online and we will update you on the future as we are led. Until we meet in person continue to pray for our leaders as we continue to pray for you.
I love you all dearly,
Pastor Matt Wyatt