08 May Mosaic Update on “Soft Re-Opening”
Dear Church Family,
I wanted to take a moment to update you on the latest information I have regarding a possible/likely reopening.
Due to the announcement of Governor Abbott’s re-opening guidelines, our elder team has been busy trying to put together a plan for what it would look like, and when, for Mosaic to do a “soft” re-opening (limited seating, social distancing and hygienic considerations, likely no children’s ministry, etc.).
As of today, we are strongly considering July 5th as our first Sunday to do a soft re-open, based upon a number of factors:
1.) Our online presence and engagement has stayed extremely strong so far. As you know, we have worked hard to build this, and it is sustainable– with one exception, which I will come back to. This gives us the time and space to make good, prayerful, and financially prudent decisions (more on this to come).
2.) According to every piece of reliable information and modeling we can find, including conversations with those working inside hospitals that are “COVID-Centric”, the peak for the virus has still not passed us in Austin. Thankfully, the overall impact has been low in our community, because of not only the mercy of God, but all of our collective efforts to distance–which have not come without a cost, either, as we know.
That being said, we will know far more about the result of the relaxation of distancing requirements in about a month. We know other churches have immediately re-opened, others will re-open next week, and still others are waiting to see what happens next.
3.) Primarily, however, we have been considering how to best position Mosaic Church for an unknown future, which potentially includes 12-18 months of possibly turbulent, up-and-down, back-and-forth social distancing requirements–and the reality that some will not want to return to meet on our campus without a vaccine. We hope and pray we are able to fully gather sooner rather than later, and are encouraged by what appears to be a positive trending towards an available vaccine. However, all of that is still “out there”, so to speak, and the truth is, no one knows what the future holds, except our great God.
All of that now brings me to perhaps our main consideration for the July 5th timeline:
4.) While we have been extremely blessed to have had the “online experience” we have had, in terms of recordings and camera shots, the truth is, we do not have the necessary infrastructure to be able to have BOTH in person gatherings AND a continued, excellent, online streaming capacity. Right now, Mosaic is positioned to do one or the other, but not both.
Currently, our main gathering room is functioning as an empty studio, and our “Sundays” are pulled off with a small handful of incredible volunteers who have sprung into action, who lug their own professional grade equipment and import their own high-level expertise to make our online services happen, alongside, of course, our amazing worship and production teams, and they move around freely because the room is empty, save the stage.
What you see is not reproducible with people in the room until we invest in and install a much greater degree of technological infrastructure. We are committed to doing this, and being as aggressive as possible with this, while simultaneously being as prudent as possible with respect to the church’s overall financial position.
Thankfully, and gratefully, our overall giving has held, even while we know that a number of people in our congregation have suffered the loss of their jobs, something that wasn’t even imaginable on January 1 of 2020.
All that to say, it will likely take us, based upon the recommendation of a trusted team of streaming, tech and equipment professionals, roughly 6 weeks to purchase, install, test and deliver a permanent, excellent, online presence that will help us weather any potential ups and downs over the next 12-18 months, AND will position us to carry this presence into any future. We believe it will take us approximately 1-2 weeks to nail down the financial package, and then another 6 to install.
Thankfully, a little more than a year ago, we made the first “down payment” on live streaming infrastructure, with an eye towards possible expansion, so we are not completely starting from scratch, but of course, we never imagined that we would need to accelerate and commit to this kind of process so rapidly.
We feel confident then, based upon what we know now (which will inevitably change at some level over the course of the next month!), that July 5th gives us the running room to make permanent, positive, and prudent adjustments not just to preserve, but to hopefully accelerate the mission of Mosaic Church in the city.
Again, this could all change, and this date could be delayed even further, as we adjust to whatever data emerges and regulations we encounter, but this is our best glimpse of our future given the information we have, and as best we can tell, the leading of the Holy Spirit for our church.
The truth is, this is a dynamic situation, it seems to change almost weekly, and therefore, we need your prayer and support like never before, as we attempt to rightly connect the priority of your health and safety to our need for human connection and support.
Thank you for being amazing, supportive, encouraging, and understanding as we do our best to navigate the challenge of our time.