Since Governor Abbott has stated that the statewide mandates end on March 10th, next Wednesday, I thought I might publish a statement about the philosophy we have followed at Crestview. Almost exactly a year ago we had to shut down from the third Sunday in March until Mother’s Day. We provided on line services and devotionals, but were very limited as to anything else we could do. Even in those days, I had numerous personal meetings with people who were in great distress. When Mother’s Day came we opened back up for in person worship with masks and hand sanitizer available at entrances and special spacing in the Worship Center. We also began to provide some Bible Study opportunities. Some would have preferred that we mandate masks for everyone, but we chose not to do that for several reasons. We are not a business. We were not required to do so. People needed a place where they felt a sense of normalcy. I could not preach or speak through a mask, nor could my staff. Some people needed personal interaction desperately and masks hinder that greatly. Many people would likely not have attended with a mask on. Singing is virtually impossible with a mask on. We did provide a room with live streamed worship for those who wanted to be only with those who would wear a mask.
From the very beginning of the pandemic, I saw laborers in the outdoor work places working without masks. I personally determined that I would also be a workman. I believe the ministry is not a performance, but a service to people. It starts from the time I am in touch with them until I am done. The pulpit is only one small part of the work. I did not hold my staff to my choice. Most of the platform participants chose to go without masks themselves.
We have worked to start as many things and continue as many things as we could. Quite a number of us contracted the virus. Most did very well with it. Sadly some of our mature adults did not. Some of the people who have caught the virus in our network did so even though they sheltered at home throughout the year. This is mysterious, but I have heard of dozens of such cases in Georgetown and around the state. My theory is that the church is essential and its ministry is essential. It needs to function as near to normal as possible whether in times of persecution, famine, pandemic, war, or a host of other possible realities. As an avid student of Christian history, I can tell you that we have a 2000 year record of doing that very thing. Let the church rise up again and take up the cross and follow Jesus daily just as He said. (Luke 9:23)