Back to Normal … I Hope Not

Matt Evans

Posted April 29, 2020
Posted in:

Back to Normal … I Hope Not

Thoughts on the Re-Opening of Rock Bridge

(lee en español)

With some governors starting to take steps to “reopen” their states and respective economies, a lot of us are asking, “What about the church? When will we meet again?” Certainly, we all want to meet again physically, and the nostalgia for pre-COVID-19 “normal” is high.

However, I do not believe—at least at Rock Bridge—there should be a return to normal. I know that sounds odd, but let me explain.

First, we must realize that getting back to normal will not happen immediately if at all. Much like when a shark is spotted near a crowded beach—it’s going to take some time before everyone rushes “back in the water.” With a variety of unique personal factors (i.e. the elderly, the immune compromised), everyone must determine what is wise and best for themselves.

Second, we must realize that we are dealing with the unknown and unpredictable. Predictability will not be something that we can rely on, but the church was built by Christ with the flexibility to adapt and respond rapidly.

Third, at Rock Bridge, we’ve started some things that do not need to end but rather they need to become part of our new normal.

  • Online & On Demand Services: No matter what, RBCC will have online worship service options from this point forward. With people joining us from literally all over the world and some taking next steps in their faith journey, we see Gospel potential in this new approach.
  • People Stepping Up: We’ve seen so many Rock Bridgers step up to meet a need, love a neighbor, offer a prayer, show up after a storm or give a generous gift. We’ve seen people not wait to be asked but show up to serve. I believe we are seeing that age old yet unbiblical “clergy vs. laity” distinction diminished.
    • Rock Bridge, in the future, we want to help release you into ministry rather than simply seat you for a service!!
  • Being the Church: most churches typically measure their health and success with one question: “How many came?”  Yet we see being the church as what truly matters. While corporate worship and biblical teaching are still hugely important, church health is better reflected by people connecting to community, to service, and to “sent-ness.”

While corporate worship and biblical teaching are still hugely important, church health is better reflected by people connecting to community, to service, and to “sent-ness.” — Read about how @rockbridgecc plans to re-open:

Fourth, when we do “re-gather” physically, we’ll need to do everything we can to be wise, safe, and considerate of all the various factors involved. Therefore, we are not just considering WHEN to “re-open” but also HOW we will “re-open”.  Our Directional Elders and staff are listening to health officials and networking with other churches to determine the best and wisest course of action. “Safe and slow” are the consensus.

The following are some ways we are considering temporarily adjusting our services when we “re-gather” (flexibility and adaptability will apply).

NOTE: These plans are TENTATIVE and could change.

Adjusting HOW we Gather Physically:

  • Limiting physical contact
    • No passing of offering baskets or handing out bulletins
      • Online giving will continue to be available
      • A digital bulletin available to access on a smartphone or printable from home.
    • No handshaking by greeters or during our services
  • Increasing the number of services
    • Most campuses will add services to lower the number of people per service.
    • Some campuses may even adjust where they meet to allow for better social distancing
  • Changing Service Times
    • We want to have more time in between services to allow us to clean and sanitize certain areas and allow for easier social distancing

Limiting RB Kids Ministry

  • Family Worship Only (initially)
    • Since kids do not naturally social distance well, initially we would not offer any RB Kids ministry options. We would resume RBKids in time.

Cautioning Certain Rock Bridgers and Continuing RB Online Options

  • At risk persons or even those who are uncertain about re-gathering should continue to worship online with us.

We envision re-gathering in phases. The initial phase would be the most cautious and involve ongoing assessment. We would continue to evolve from there.

As of now, Rock Bridge plans to begin the initial phase of re-gathering physically at First Wednesday in June and over the weekend (including Rock Bridge PM on June 4th) of June 7th.

I know some of you will have different opinions and ideas about this. Feel free to email me ( if I can answer questions or give greater clarity.

However, let’s all realize we are a church of people from “all walks of life.” Everyone responds differently, has different concerns and a different perspective.

What we are proposing above does not violate God’s Word, honors people with legitimate health concerns, incorporates wisdom from health officials and church leaders across the country, and keeps us moving forward in faith.

Let’s also keep our eyes fixed on Christ as we run the race He has marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1-3).

Looking to Him with you,