I pray this message finds you experiencing peace and that the joy of the Lord, truly is your strength in these days.
It has been far too long since we have been able to gather as one body to celebrate the greatness and glory of our King. I miss you all so much.
I want to take just a moment of your day and let you know where we are at as we plan and prepare for a wonderful regathering. We’re using that word, regather, intentionally, instead of reopening because the Quarry never closed. We had to pivot strongly when COVID-19 raised its ugly head back in March, shifting all of our ministry online, but we never closed. God’s mission isn’t confined to a building or any physical gathering. God has been doing a mighty work in and through each one of you despite the limitations of physical distance. Thank you for your faithfulness and perseverance. I believe God is reshaping us, remaking us for a new era in the life of Quarry Church.
Over the past three months, my head has been turned towards my feet, watching every step because in a very real way, every step was new. Every step was different, requiring intense focus. As we have come a better understanding of our current reality, we have gained new efficiencies, new organizational muscles and enough clarity to lift our heads so that we might see a little further out. We don’t know exactly what the future holds, quite frankly, we never have, but we are at a place where we need to start planning and preparing for a glorious regathering of Quarry Church.
For some of you, this feels like a day late. For others this feels premature; a bit unsafe. The governing board, myself included, along with our leadership team, after much prayer and regular, ongoing dialogue, feels the timing is just right to begin the process of regathering.
Our process is going to look different than every other church or business around. While we are aware of what other organizations are doing, and feel the comparison pressure, we are resolved to adhere to the following principles, informed by our values and measured by Scripture; they are course setting for us: (shout out to Mike Howard/Revision Church Des Moines, IA)
• Posture – we care about our community. While we have the right to gather per the first amendment, we also have responsibility. We are concerned for those who for whatever reason are vulnerable to COVID. We care for them and our actions need to reflect that. We also know that until we figure how to gather families with young children in an environment that requires physical distancing, the experience for those families will be less than ideal and in some cases prohibitive. We also care about our new online folks. We essentially started a new Quarry campus on March 15. It is our desire to continue to care for this group of people even after we are able to fully gather physically.
• Pandemic – COVID-19 is real. Granted, our understanding of COVID is changing by the day but rest assured that we are committed to making decisions based on accurate data, not personal opinion.
• Public Relations – The perception of the Quarry by the communities in and around Monticello matters. While we won’t alter our CORE beliefs and values, how we fulfill the mission Quarry Church is highly affected by perception. We want to be known by our love not the epicenter of another COVID outbreak. We do not want to unnecessarily alienate the people we are trying to reach by moving hastily.
• Purpose – The Quarry exists to reach people with the gospel, encouraging them to develop an intimate an contagious relationship with Jesus. We are keeping in mind that the method (how we do ministry) is not more important than our mission (effectively reaching people for Jesus).
Phase 1 – June 14th through mid-July, (plan and prepare)
I’m not going anywhere
Developing a comprehensive plan (taking into account recommendations from the CDC, MDH, other ministry leaders and our own leadership), a comprehensive plan for regathering – what materials do we need to purchase, what teams need to be formed, what training needs to take place and what changes need to be made so that we are stronger coming out of quarantine than we were going in. This is going to take intentional time and energy.
Rest – Noah has been going hard, really hard, since the fallout of last summer. We need him healthy and at 100% capacity.
Future planning – typically take six weeks off of preaching to rest and prepare for the upcoming ministry season. Practically
• Online only Sunday worship services
• In order to plan and prepare, the governing board has recommended and the leadership unanimously affirmed that for a short season, my time would be best spent preparing us for the next season. So for a season, I will not be preaching on Sundays nor will Noah be leading worship. We will be leveraging our relationships with Eagle Brook Church and Life Church. These two churches have graciously given us access to what they are doing on Sunday mornings; their preaching and worship music. This is a tremendous gift to us.
• Some have asked: why Eagle Brook? Why Life Church? These churches are extraordinary at what they do. They line up with us theologically and their style is similar. With Eagle Brook in particular, we have a strong ongoing relationship. As a church we will benefit from gifted, biblical teaching; a different voice and inspired music. This will give some of our key leaders rest and a chance to look up, to be inspired and prepare for our next season.
• Beside weekends, our Church staff to phase in working from the office.
• We are also encouraging our Access groups to begin meeting physically and cont. online for those who are unable or uncomfortable meeting in person.
• Create large group gathering events in the church parking lot/ strictly fellowship/ picnic from the car (June 18th)
Phase 2 – TBD
• Online Sunday worship services
• Stream Eagle Brook Messages and worship
• Gather physically for Sunday Service/ no children’s ministry/ practice physical distancing, appropriate cleaning measures and other COVID protocol (Essentially a “no touch” experience)
Phase 3 – Goal date: September 13th, 2020
• Live preaching and worship
• Continue online campus
• Gather physically
• Include children’s ministry
What I am going to need from you in the meantime is your patience, your presence and your prayer.
This is a unique way of doing Church. I know. We are compelled by our mission, not our method. This won’t be easy but it will be good.
I feel a little like Joshus and Caleb as they were called to do recon in the Promised Land. There were giants in the land. You’ve got to face the giants and I know we have some giants to face. But I am convinced of God’s faithfulness and leading. I believe there are wonderful, joy-filled days ahead.
So let’s join together and step into this season knowing that God is with us. He has glorious days ahead for Quarry church. I love you all. God bless you and keep you!