Should churches suspend physical gatherings due to COVID-19?

In light of the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic, many churches, ours included, have suspended physical church gatherings. This is an unprecedented situation and leaders, church leaders included, are writing the playbook in real time. While many have argued for suspended church gatherings, others have argued against it. Here I want to argue why a church should suspend church gatherings in light of the coronavirus and COVID-19, and to provide responses to a few arguments for why a church might want to continue to gather.

Three Reasons Why a Church Should Suspend Physical Gatherings.

First, Christians are called to love their neighbors. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Part of loving our neighbors means seeking their peace and welfare. We are ultimately concerned for their eternal destiny with God, and we are also concerned with their life in this world. We are not of the world, but we are in the world. And in the world we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. So, if we can stop the spread of disease to those who are vulnerable in our community, then we are acting not in fear but in love.

Three Reasons Why We Should Keep Gathering and Three Responses

First, the Bible says we should not neglect gathering together. Scripture commands us to gather and that we should not give up gathering with the saints: “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24–25). Suspending the regular gathering of Christians in physical proximity might disobey God’s command.

Conclusion

I think the biblical reasons for suspending church gatherings for a season outweigh the reasons for continuing to gather. One thing the church needs in this season is a fresh filling of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We must love one another. We must rejoice. We must be at peace with God, in our hearts, minds, and with each other. We must be patient with others who might disagree with us. We should be kind and act for the good of others and the glory of God. We should be faithful, full of faith, gentle in all our ways, and self-controlled. May the Lord grant great grace to his church, and a great turning toward Christ in and through this season.

Walking with Jesus, @LauraSlavich, our kids, and the @CrossUnitedSFL fam in the warm breezes of sunny SoFla

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