Pastor Ed Young, founder and senior leader of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, is urging churches to reopen for in-person worship. He believes the spiritual consequences of keeping the church closed far outweigh the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pastor Young recently told The Christian Post that the church can no longer afford to remain closed. People all over the country are suffering from depression and contemplating suicide. He argues that it is “critical to reopen churches.”
“Look at our culture. There is so much going on right now spiritually, especially among young people facing depression, anxiety, and attempting suicide. I have counted the cost of not opening our church versus opening, and I believe that risk and faith go hand in hand,” Young said.
He also contends that fear is what keeps leaders from opening their churches. He said many pastors fear criticism from those outside the church. Some are even afraid of what their own members will think if the service isn’t 100% safe.
“I understand where these pastors are coming from, but I disagree. I can’t guarantee I’ll be in a 100% safe environment when I take my trash down to my street. It’s simply not doable,” Young emphasized.
“I just don’t want us to lose our boldness and I don’t want the church to mail it in. Throughout church history, the church has not mailed it in. We’ve stood in pandemics, we’ve stood during wars, and in all sorts of chaos and mayhem. Today, technology has allowed us to take the easy way out,” he added.
Despite all the hard work to make sure members and guests are comfortable returning to in-person worship, Pastor Young said the efforts were worth it. He said the “response has been incredible.” Since reopening, the church has seen an uptick in first-time visitors, conversions, and spiritual engagement.
Understanding that there are those within at-risk groups that still want to worship, Young reiterated the importance of options when it comes to services.
“Options are important. I am very much a proponent of having different doors of the church open, whether they be physical doors or digital doors,” he said. “We want to show love to those who aren’t comfortable meeting physically. That’s their prerogative,” Young highlighted.
Young lauded other churches for their decision to reopen. He said that if physical worship is important to God, it “should matter to the body of Christ” as well.
“I want to applaud churches that are reopening and would encourage the ones who aren’t to really think through why they aren’t reopening,” Young stated.
“Something supernatural happens when we gather physically in a house of worship. I believe the risk of not coming together is greater than the risk of meeting.”