Updates From Our Pastors

June 18, 2020

We are happy to announce that as of today we will be adopting the Larimer County waiver guidelines for places of worship that were approved by the State of Colorado a couple of weeks ago.  There is a checklist that we will post and we are asking everyone who attends to do their best to adjust to the guidelines.   Because there are businesses and churches in Johnstown that are in Larimer County and others that are in Weld County, the Town of Johnstown issued Resolution 2020-17.  In this resolution the Town encourages businesses in Johnstown that are in Weld County to open safely.   In the resolution the town states that the town and Weld County will support any business that decides to open as long as they adhere to safe practices.

Our leadership feels that all places of worship in the town of Johnstown should be treated equally and therefore we have made the decision to utilize the Larimer County waiver guidelines moving forward.   What that means is that we will open to 50% capacity up to 175 people in each of the two large areas and 50% capacity in the smaller rooms.  Of course we will also want to maintain social distancing and other safety precautions as prescribed by the waiver.

The biggest question has been about masks.  The state says to wear masks unless you have trouble breathing.  We are asking that you wear a mask when entering and leaving the building and that you keep it on during the service unless you have trouble breathing.   Hopefully this will only last a few more weeks.

We are currently offering 2 services on Sundays at 8:30 am and 10:15 am, as well as our Thursday night service at 6:30 pm.   We are providing Children’s programs during the Sunday 10:15 am service.  This will accommodate everyone who wants to begin attending again.  For those of you who are continuing to stay safely at home, we will continue to broadcast our Thursday service and our 10:15 am Sunday service online. 

God bless you all!

Pastor Bob and Pastor Dave      

May 22, 2020

Hello everyone,
 
As some of you know the President has called upon the states to open up their churches this Sunday.   As I shared in previous statements we will obey all of the government agencies as long as what they are directing does not go against what God is clearly showing us.   Right now it looks like the county and federal governments are allowing for opening our church.   We are waiting for the CDC to issue federal guidelines as to what the federal government will require when we open.   The last obstacle will be our state government.  I expect that the Governor will either comply with the president’s directive to open the churches or simply come up with his own directive.  Right now the state says no more than 10 people can congregate at one time and we are doing our best to comply.
 
While the president said he would override the Governors if they don’t open the churches, the truth is he doesn’t have the authority to do that.  However, he can have the Department of Justice bring a case to the federal courts for the purpose of forcing the issue.  The courts do have the authority to overrule the Governor and if they do we will adjust at that time.
 
I don’t know exactly how long it will take for us to get back to worshiping together but I believe it will be sooner than later.   For now we are working with our church staff to ensure that before we open we will have a clean and safe environment for those who want to start back.  We were providing live streaming of our worship services via the internet  before the pandemic hit us and we will continue streaming after restarting services at our building.  That way those of you most vulnerable and anyone else who can’t attend the service can participate with those who can attend.
 
I know I’m not a very touchy-feely person but I do want each and every one of you to know how much I love you and miss seeing you.  I know you join me in saying, “Let’s get back to church!”

Love – Pastor Bob

April 24, 2020

Hello everyone,

   As businesses all around us begin to reopen, I want to keep you informed as to our plans to begin to use our buildings again for ministries and for worship services.  Before I begin I want to share with all of you how much we miss seeing you and spending time with you.  I hope you feel the same.  If you do, you are as anxious as we are to get back to meeting together.

   Our approach moving forward will be to continue to honor the authorities over us when to do so would honor God.   This would include directions from city, county, state and federal authorities.  More important than that, we want to ensure the safest possible environment for everyone who attends any function in the church buildings.  

   We all know that creating a place where people will not catch a cold, the flu or the coronavirus is an impossible and therefore unreasonable goal.   We can however make our meetings safer through ensuring our facilities are clean and by encouraging those in attendance to use hygiene practices that will decrease the risk of infection to others.   By now we are familiar with most of them.   Some of these practices need to continue even after the threat of the coronavirus is gone such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer, coughing into your sleeve etc.   Other practices such as distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding hugging and hand shaking will fade away over time as people become more and more comfortable with the risk of doing life together again.   Some will hold onto these practices longer than others even after the authorities end their guidelines.

   Right now we have conflicting guidelines/directives from county, state and federal authorities.   Our state will be going to a “Safer at Home” policy that will allow some but not all businesses to open up and allow citizens to go out and begin to engage in commerce in a safe way.   Even so, there are state requirements and guidelines in the usage of masks whenever people are out in public.   The county (Weld) has decided to move forward with a “Safer at Work” policy.   The difference is that they are saying any and all businesses can open but setting guidelines that will make it impossible for many to do so.   One important stipulation is that inside gatherings should be kept to fewer than 10 people.   Even after you figure out what they are saying you still have to determine if it’s suggested of if it’s required.   When is a guideline a directive?  Good question.

   Our leadership has decided to continue operating the way we are now until all of the authorities are in agreement on the guidelines/directives we need to follow.   For instance, when they all agree that all meetings of 10 or less are okay, we will prayerfully begin allowing groups to use the building for meetings with groups of 10 or less people.    We see this as the first phase of opening up the facilities.  After this there will probably be a number of phases and we will look at how to implement them as the authorities come into agreement on them.   The final phase of using our facilities will come when we are able to meet unhindered by guidelines/directions of any kind by the authorities God has placed over us.    

   The main impact of the coronavirus to us at Grace was to take away our ability to meet together in our buildings.  However, because of Technology and our ability to use it, we still meet together and many of our meetings have doubled in size.  While this is good, it doesn’t replace being in each other’s presence, able to hug and hold each other when we want to.  

   Please know that we encourage each of you to do as Jesus directs no matter what the authorities in your life say – including your leaders at Grace.  Find Jesus and follow Jesus is what we encourage in everything we teach and live at our church.  We are citizens of heaven not of earth!   Most of the time Jesus is telling us to obey our authorities but sometimes He’s telling us to take off the mask and hold a brother or sister even if they are bedridden with coronavirus.  Please hear our clear instruction, “Join Jesus!”  And again we say, “Join Jesus!”

  No one knows when we will be back in our church building on Sunday mornings, either partially or completely.  Right now the state authorities are hoping that some time in June or July large venues like theaters and sporting events will be able to open.   But even with that hope they are certain that some kinds of restrictions will be in place to ensure distancing.  

   Moving forward, some churches will open their buildings before us and some will open after us but we will wait on God to lead us in our decision.   Please know that we are in prayer constantly about these decisions and others that need to be made.   We believe that there is a specific date that God wants us to open up once again to our community.    He prepared us beforehand to thrive in our current situation.  He will certainly make us ready to break out from these restrictions and begin to love each other and others face to face again.   I’m longing for that day but I hope I can join each of you today as we bring light into the lives of the people around us today, using the gifts that God has given us!

Thanks for being a Light!

Love – Pastor Bob

For Such a Time as This!

March 17, 2020

As you know, because of the need to keep people safe and reduce the spread of the coronavirus, we can’t GO TO CHURCH right now.  

During this season of change, our leadership at Grace is committed to helping all of us BE THE CHURCH right now!
 
We believe God is fundamentally changing the way we do church around the world.   If all we do is identify as a people who meet in a building once or twice a week – we have lost our identity.   But that isn’t who WE are.  We are the family of God and the body of Christ.  God is working in this time and we too are committed to joining Him!
 
In the Bible, God was doing something special in Esther’s time.  She had a choice; to remain silent and blend in with what was going on around her or to speak and act for God when no one else would.  I believe God is saying to us what He was saying to Esther thousands of years ago.

 

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?   Esther 4:14 (AMP)

 
I believe God is speaking the same thing to us today.  Here’s how I think He would phrase it to us:

 

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for Johnstown and Milliken from elsewhere, but you and your church will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom of God for such a time as this and for this very occasion?

 
We need to become very purposeful to join our Father.  In our community we must be God’s light that shines into the darkness.   We must serve our community in any way we can.   We must look for opportunities to help our church family and others find Jesus and follow Jesus through the uncertainty that wants to drive people to fear, worry and frustration.  He wants to be our peace in these days and wants us to help others find the peace we have in Christ.

 

Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working…  I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. “    John 5:17, 15:5 (NIV)

 
When you see God working – join Him.  Then pass on what you see God doing so the rest of us can begin to look and see more clearly how God is working around us.
 
Above all else, trust in God!  None of us can do anything without Him.  Remember the words found in the book of Job:

 

At such a time as this should not trust in God still be your confidence? Shouldn’t you believe that God will care for those who are good?   Job 4:6 (TLB)