Dear Church Family,
As you've likely heard by now, DC and most of the surrounding area is lifting the "Shelter-in-Place" on Friday, May 29th and moving to Phase 1 of the recovery effort. While many things remain closed, it does allow for things such as gatherings of 10 or less people under certain conditions.
I wanted to share the latest of how our leadership has been thinking through the reopening of our physical gatherings of the church. We are trying to be faithful to God, prioritize safety, and be cooperative with the local authorities.
We have been asking God to give us both wisdom (as things are constantly changing and we need more than man’s knowledge) and patience (because this waiting is hard on multiple levels including not being able to physically gather in fellowship and worship).
As I’ve said in the past few weeks, I want to make it clear that we are not rushing to reconvene our physical gatherings on the weekends. We believe we can pace ourselves and wait for God’s perfect timing for a few reasons:
1) The District Church never closed.
We are more open now than ever. We are interacting with more people every weekend than ever before. We have the highest levels of engagement in our Small Groups and we have given away more resources to individuals and local partners in need than ever before. We were never a building. And as Brian said last Sunday, “If the church was a building then Covid would have overcome it.” Praise God that as Jesus said, He will build his church and the gates of hell will not prevail! Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Not even COVID.
2) Gathering too soon could jeopardize lives and our witness.
As you know DC has some of the highest infection rates in the country. And Columbia Heights where we worship has one of the highest rates in the city. While we do not want to walk in the spirit of fear, we do not want to jeopardize the health and safety of those in our church and those in the city. We are particularly mindful of the disproportionate impact this pandemic is having on people of color, on the elderly, and on low-income communities. God has given us great favor in this city with leaders and with CHEC where we worship on Sundays and we do not want to undermine our public witness by gathering in big groups before it is generally accepted.
3) We don't want to gather physically as a whole congregation until we can ensure it's a great experience for everyone.
We've considered gradual openings on Sundays in the near future with restricted numbers. We've considered scenarios where we worship outside. We've considered doing dozens of gathering times. We've considered scenarios of no Kids’ City during gatherings. But this isn't the experience most people want--certainly not first-time guests.
Rather than to try to predict and wait for the date when we will all gather again for our large Sunday services, our team is focused now on preparing as much as we can for what we can do in Phase 1 (gatherings 10 or less) and Phase 2 (gatherings 50 or less) of the reopening process before we try to figure out what Phase 3 will look like (gatherings of 250 or less).
As we move into Phase 1 we are giving small group leaders guidance for having the option to gather physically in small groups of 10 or less people while still observing the same precautions of physical distancing, wearing masks, and preferring gathering outdoors where possible. Much of this will be an experiment and we ask for your patience with your small group leader and our staff as we go through each step.
As we move into Phase 2 we will be looking to find ways to gather together in more mid-size groups of 50 or less for watch parties, ministry team meetings, outreaches to the community, and prayer gatherings while maintaining all the same safety precautions.
We will be putting as many of our experiences online as possible to make it easier for you to come back to physical gatherings when you feel most comfortable.
In the meantime, I want to ask you to do 3 things:
1) Stay engaged online and invite others.
Show up on time and worship, take notes, interact with comments, seek prayer.
Also, it's never been easier to invite someone. Share it on your social, email, text a friend to join you at www.districtchurch.org/live 10am on Sundays.
2) Be in prayer.
We believe we are on the eve of one of the greatest outpourings of God’s Spirit. And we want to be ready. We started this year praying for unity, deliverance, and revival. Let’s not let up. But let’s continue to press in. Pray that we would be Set / Apart as God’s church and grow even stronger through this season. Pray for our leadership as a church. Pray for our financial provision. Pray for our city and particularly those who are suffering the most. This Sunday is Pentecost and we will have 24 hours of prayer as we lament the lives that have been lost, intercede for revival, and ask God for a fresh filling of His Spirit. We are encouraging everyone to sign up for a 30 minute slot here.
3) Serve and give.
The needs have never been greater. Just because we don't have our awesome hospitality team out on Sundays giving us connection cards and serving coffee and donuts doesn't mean there aren't incredible chances to impact lives. This is a chance to act in faith and not in fear. It's a time to give and to serve. You can easily find ways to give at districtchurch.org/give
Let me just close by saying this: I know I speak for our whole staff and board when I say we miss you so much.
This crisis has only deepened our love for you. It has only served to deepen our faith in Christ and our calling to serve you and this city.
We can’t wait to see you in person. To give you a hug and tell you how much you are loved and how much you have been missed.
We can’t wait to be back in CHEC and lift our hands in worship with you.
We can see that day when CHEC is packed again with people worshiping Christ. We can see that day when people are gathered from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue worshiping Christ. Proclaiming in the heart of our nation’s capital that there is no other name given under Heaven by which we must be saved!
Uh oh, I’m starting to preach….This was meant to be an update…If I keep going I might start singing...Let me stop.
See you Sunday at 10am
If you are experiencing a financial need right now, please reach out.
If you have a prayer need please reach out.
If you have a counseling need please reach out.
We're here for you.
If you don’t already, please follow us on:
Kids’ City Families Group
These channels are where we will provide most updates.