We used to say that you should be at church unless “providentially” hindered. In other words, unless something that is in the Lord’s control keeps you from being here. If you are in a high risk category today, you could definitely say that you have been providentially hindered from begin here. But, unless you are providentially hindered, you should gather with your church family.
The interruption to worship services brought about by COVID-19 was something that just couldn’t be predicted. But, regardless of our lack of prognostications, here we are. In some areas, churches are still limited in the number of attendees they can have at any one time. In some states it is nearly impossible for churches to even gather for worship. Thankfully, I live in a state that honors the separation of church and state and, as a result, does not seek to legislate God’s church. Of course, even without legislation, it is still wise for us to take precautions, and we seek to do so.
But, we have all learned that the government does not have to restrict attendance in worship services. People in many areas are restricting themselves. As pastors, we discuss attendance numbers with a sort of asterisk, “the numbers are pretty good, all things considered.”
The concern over COVID among vulnerable populations makes sense. Even the concern among others who may not be vulnerable, but who do not want to be vectors for transmission is understandable. However, we cannot live this way forever.
As it relates to attending Bible study and public worship, even if you aren’t ready yet, you need to decide now what conditions will need to be met before you return to worship. Once you have decided what conditions need to be met, you need to share those conditions with someone.