Megachurch Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Georgia has announced that live in-person services will be suspended for the rest of the year.
Pastor Stanley explained that the decision had been made because the church could not guarantee the safety of congregants amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Megachurch pastor announced: “Based on the uptick in COVID-19 cases, the results of our attendee surveys and the experiences of churches that have already reopened we’ve decided to suspend in-person adult worship services for the remainder of the year.”
The church had planned to try and recommence in-person services in August, but the continued spread of COVID-19 in the United States has forced the church to change its plans.
He said, “Now as you would imagine, that was not a casual decision. In fact, back in May when we announced a possible August 9 reopening, the COVID numbers were actually moving in the right direction. That has changed. Consequently we cannot guarantee your safety and that’s a big part of this decision.”
Pastor Stanley added, “Even if we did reopen, we certainly would not be able to create a quality adult or children’s worship experience with social distancing protocols in place.”
The church leader also explained that he had looked at how other comparable churches had coped when they had tried to reopen in recent weeks.
He explained: “This is based on the experience of other similar-sized churches around the country that opened two or even three weeks ago. If we open and a volunteer, child, student or an adult who attends any of our environments tests positive after the fact, we are responsible for doing all the contract tracing.
“And that would be the right thing to do, that would be the responsible thing to do but that would be pretty much an impossible thing to do.”
Pastor Stanley said, “If you’ve been a part of any of our churches for any length of time, you can imagine how difficult, again next to impossible, that would be and honestly, that’s just one of several unforeseen factors that other churches are running into.
“So the truth is, I actually have a lot of faith. I have so much faith that I’m absolutely confident that the Church and our local churches will not only survive this but I think ultimately we’re going to thrive as a result.”