GHCC Leadership team discernment process in response to covid-19 and more

We have prayerfully sought God’s direction with the decisions that have been made during the changes of COVID restrictions.  In the hopes of keeping our communication open and honest, we’ve listed below some of the questions that have come up through conversations and emails with regard to particular decisions we have made. We apologize for not making this available to you sooner.  As we have said before, we are all open to any questions you may have. Please reach out to us if you’d like to discuss. In addition, we have attached the link for you to view Sunday’s Zoom get together (attached below). 

First and foremost, our decisions and direction are led through prayer and following God’s word. Some of the scriptures that have spoken to us through our personal reflections as well as our time together as a team are listed below. Our team has been meeting bimonthly since the early stages of COVID and more frequently since Dusty’s resignation announcement.  Pastor Jeff, as well as the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) pastors and leaders have prayed for all of you and our team, and have given wonderful direction as we oversee decisions needing to be made.

Although we know there are different opinions and viewpoints with regards to COVID restrictions, our ultimate goal is to wait on God and what He has asked of us. We have been cautious to not follow what others in the community are doing as an impulse decision but rather to seek God through prayer, His Word, and outside pastoral guidance. Our hope is to provide the safest environment for all GH members and attendees. If our services hinder some from attending, we prefer to err on the side of caution so that ALL may feel safe to worship.

For those who were not able to attend the Zoom meeting, we have put together a list of the questions that were asked through email, phone conversations, and addressed in Sunday’s zoom.


  1. Why are we closing worship and following government officials telling us not to worship? We believe that our state and county officials have not asked us to stop worshipping but rather have asked us to be creative in our worship in order to eliminate the risk of sharing a fast spreading virus that could be harmful to many of our GH family members. With that in mind we are planning on creative ways to gather and worship together as a family. Weather permitting, we are planning on our Eve to Eve Christmas service to be a time of worship and reflection of our Christmas celebration. We will be meeting in the front parking lot of Grace Hills at 6PM December 23rd. A separate announcement communication will follow.
  2. Are we fearful of meeting together or of the COVID virus? While many people are apprehensive of being in close proximity to others due to the virus, our stance is not one of fear but of respect to what God has asked of us in respecting our government leaders placed in authority and out of care and compassion for those in our church and community who are more susceptible. 
  3. Is the church going to close? Our goal in the process of lead pastoral changes is to seek God’s direction for the future of the church. While we all want to see Grace Hills succeed, we are very aware that God may have us head in a different direction. At this time, our desire is to walk through the process of discernment looking to God’s leading and direction. There are certain factors to the success of GH; one factor being the need for lead help in ministries and the weekly happenings at the church.
  4. What are we doing moving forward as a church?  The Leadership Team is in a time of discernment in regards to future plans.  We are working with Pastor Jeff to help guide us in a discernment process to learn the plans that God has for us (this happens to be a specialty/gift of his).  This process will also include input from our Grace Hills Family. We look forward to working together in the coming months.
  5. What is the next step in the search for a new Pastor? Once we have gone through this discernment process and understand where God is leading us, the search for a new Pastor would begin. If and when we get to the place of seeking a full time pastor, we will seek guidance from the ECC and Pacific Southwest Conference for direction and pastor references.  We have not yet discussed the steps and processes with regards to full time pastoral care.
  6. What is our financial situation? In September of 2019 we were averaging losses of $1,700 per month. We addressed the congregation to communicate our financial status.  Year to Date we have averaged a loss of $2,300 per month.  We currently have $22K in the bank of which $14,800 was received from the PPP (Payment Protection Program). We will be filing for forgiveness of the loan, which we assume will be forgiven.  We are grateful for the PPP Loan that allowed us to maintain the status quo for the 2020 year. Our budget should be reduced due to staffing a part time pastor as opposed to a full time pastor. We will update the year end financials at our Annual Meeting in January 2021. Online giving can continue for the GHCC members and guests on our website using the link provided.
  7. When will we have services together again at Grace Hills?  It is important that we remember that the church is the gathered people of God—no matter how we are gathered. We know we long to be back together with our church families, but we are no less a church virtually than when we share the same physical space. While things may seem different and difficult for a while longer, we are the same church and the same family; let us continue to care for one another. Our team has had many discussions regarding this topic since the beginning of this pandemic and especially as this most recent ‘stay at home’ order and while our hope and desire is to meet together we do feel that following our state and county suggestions is our best way of honoring what Christ asks of us through the scriptures (our scripture reading is listed below). We have sought counsel from the ECC, the PSWC, and our local covenant pastors as well as met together often to reflect on scripture and time in prayer. While we know this is not ideal for worship, we pray that you will walk alongside us as we all seek to honor God.

Scriptures that Have guided our discernment and decisions

We have prayerfully attempted to not take these verses individually out of context. It is important for us to remember Jesus’ instructions on the greatest commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself”. With this in mind, the scriptures below encourage us to keep to always honor others’ needs above our own. We hope you can also trust us in that.

Dwelling in the Word-Becoming what We Believe

Colossians 3:12-17

Therefore, as God’s chosen people holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Government Authorities in relation to Church

Matt 22:15-22

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher” they said “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing the evil intent said “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me…….Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God’s”

Titus 3:1-2

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility toward all men.

1 Peter 2:13

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men, whether to the kings as the supreme authority or to governors who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

Making or Loving Enemies

Luke 6:27-31

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. ….Do to others as you would have them do to you”

Being Like Minded, Humble Servants in Unity

John 13:1-17,34, (Jesus washes the disciples feet)

“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand” v.14 “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master”

Phil 2:1-11

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Our Rights, Freedoms and Our Concern for Others in Christ

1 Cor. 8-9 Food Sacrificed to Idols/ The Rights of the Apostles (action items written, for full context please read from the scripture address provided)

Cor. 8 V. 9-13….Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won't’ he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

Cor.9 v. 24-27…..Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified from the prize.

Our Witness to Unbelievers

Colossians 4:5-6

Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone

1 Thess. 4:11-12

Make your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

1 Peter 3:8-17

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have . But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of the slander. It is better if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Our Comfort In Knowing That God Is Always With Us

Isaiah 54:10

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.