March 25, 2021- Regathering Update
It’s been a year since Covid-19 shutdown meeting together at our buildings. We opened up again for services in August of 2020 allowing limited capacity. Now the Governor has cleared churches to proceed at unlimited capacity assuming social distancing, mask wearing, and other Covid precautions are taking place.
Each campus has a service on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m., but at the same time, there remains an online service that can also be participated in at 10:00 on Sunday mornings or on-demand. We realize that it may not be time for everyone to return to our buildings in person, but for those who have, we have been blessed by the fellowship with dear friends, worshipping God together with a live band, and the ministries that are happening (open ministries may may vary by campus).
If you join us in person on Sundays, you will find that we have a safe and thoroughly cleaned facility. We are continuing to ask all attenders to abide by the mask mandate while indoors and to social distance with those outside of your household. Please do join us at one of our buildings when you have the opportunity!
September 24, 2020 - Regathering Update
After 5 months of meeting online only, we now have services happening at each of our campuses on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. as well as our online experience (also at 10 a.m.)
If you join us in person on Sundays, you will find that we have a safe and basically touch-free experience. We are asking all attenders to abide by the mask mandate while indoors and social distance with those outside of your household. We are calling our Sunday Services “watch parties” because they are not full-blown services like we had prior to March because of Covid-19 precautions that are being taken. We do have live bands leading the worship, but currently, we do not have childcare services or classes. Children are welcome to sit in the auditorium with their parents and can grab the provided activity sheets which can be worked on during the service.
Whether it’s online or in-person, we hope you are able to connect with God and really enjoy your Hometown Church experience.
May 28, 2020 - Regathering Update
We are very thankful that churches in MN have been given the option to have in-person services on Sundays. That is a freedom we all expect and appreciate in this amazing country we live in. However, because of the size limitations (25% of auditorium capacity) and social distancing guidelines, Hometown Church is going to continue to meet through online services only. To learn more about this decision, please read this letter.
To sum it up, we simply don’t think we are a very good “socially distancing” church. We are a church with a deep love for each other, we show affection to one another, we love socializing, and our children can’t help but intermingle when together. So, it is for those reasons, and also out of respect for others in our congregation and in our community, that we decided now is not the right time to gather in large groups. We do strongly encourage smaller gatherings (under the allowed social gathering quantity requested by the Governor) and service watch parties for all who feel comfortable doing that!
See the chart below for our phased plan for regathering. Moving forward we will regather for Sunday services once large groups of 250 or more are allowed without social distancing guidelines. We realize that is unlikely, but we are still hopeful. In the meantime, we are grateful for the technology that allows us to gather virtually every week.
We have a lot of reasons for hope! Even in the midst of this pandemic, we are very encouraged by all that God is doing around the world to grow His church. Many of us have prayed for years for some type of revival that could only come through softened hearts and freed up schedules. Well, as you know, sometimes our prayers are answered in mysterious ways! God’s in control and He is also very good. And He has a very good plan for his church. Currently, He is using this crisis, like only He could, to draw many people to Himself.
In closing, we want to ask you to continue to pray for Hometown and our surrounding communities. We also want to assure you that Hometown Church is healthy and alive, and we feel that the Lord is preparing us for a very bright future. Whether or not we are utilizing our buildings and large group gatherings, we have a God-given mission to make disciples and to reach people with the Gospel. This summer we have a tremendous opportunity to continue doing that in smaller groups and venues!
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20, 21)
God bless and we love you,
Rob Busse on behalf of Hometown’s Senior Leadership Team
May 22, 2020
Dear church family and friends,
I wanted to share a brief update about our senior leadership’s decision regarding regathering for Sunday services. I have a hard time saying “reopening” because I don’t think the church can be “closed,” nor has it been for the past 2 months. Of course you already know, but it should be restated, that all of us collectively are the church and our Sunday services have simply been one of the strategies we’ve used to help accomplish our mission.
There is considerable speculation around how fast and far this virus will spread. What we do know is that we don’t want our church to unnecessarily cause the acceleration of Covid-19 in our communities. That is not the message we want to send the people that we care for and want to share the love of Christ with.
So, as for Sunday services, at this time we are making the decision to continue to gather online until groups of 250+ are allowed to meet without social distancing guidelines.
It has been very difficult, but it has been through prayer, under counsel, and with great unity and peace that our senior leadership team has made this decision. You can learn more about the reasoning behind our decision by clicking on the link at the end of this update.
As you will find out, some churches will be reopening on upcoming Sundays. We respect that decision and pray that God uses it. For them, that is a bold step of faith. For us, it is a bold step of faith to not gather in large groups. We have faith that even while we aren’t conducting Sunday services in person, that God can grow his church through smaller gatherings and online services. Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against the church and we don’t think any virus or government decision can prevail against it either.
Let’s continue to be the church and move forward with God’s love and by His Spirit. Between our Kingdom Builders vision, which you will hear about more this Sunday, and our upcoming series, “B.L.E.S.S. Someone,” we are very excited about what God will have the opportunity to do through you all and Hometown Church this summer. We love you and are praying for you. God bless and we’ll see you online this Sunday!
Rob Busse on behalf of Hometown’s Senior Leadership Team
Full letter to the congregation explaining, in more detail, our decision.
Here is a summary chart of a phased approach to re-opening church gatherings as the state guidelines are adjusted over time: