Jeremy McGarity
May 6, 2020

As We Open Soon, How Should We Respond?

I appreciated the response to my last post on the current situation as I researched the Covid claims. Yes, I even appreciated the voices that disagreed. That is the beauty of our Nation, we have the constitutional right to free speech and freedom of religion. And, it is important that we speak up and make sure we continue to keep our rights. So, I'm glad for those who feel free to voice their disagreement and prove how wrong they are :-) (settle down I'm just messing with you).

Not yet, but soon, we will launch into our "normal" lives again. There will certainly be a new normal and there are certainly people on all sides of the Covid claims. What are we to do? I think if there is one word to describe how we should respond it is the word, Grace. The reality is, everyone is different. And, so are all churches. It takes different kinds of churches to reach different kinds of people. Your church may open later than ours, or your church may be open now! Different businesses will open at different times, either way, Grace must be extended no matter when businesses and churches open again.

Speaking of Skyline Church, we will open as soon as possible with safety parameters in place. Some people will believe that by opening at all we could be endangering lives. Others believe we should be open by now and are bowing to the Government and allowing our Constitutional rights to be stomped on. The truth is, you cannot please everyone, and trying to will drive you insane. However, we can make the wisest decision based on the most updated data and figure out a phased opening strategy that takes into account all people from all levels of fear to confidence.

One of the main issues we will all need to guard against, whether it is in our church or our community in general is division. The enemy would love nothing more than to divide us and he loves it when we drive a stake in the ground and exclude segments of our society. If we are not careful, we will be throwing stones and calling the cautious people "soft" and the confident people "reckless." It's no different than when Paul told the Corinthian Church, "Some will eat only vegetables, some will eat meat, don't judge them." Things can get ugly very quickly if we're not careful. We must remember that God has called us to unity. That doesn't mean we can't have different opinions, it just means we need to understand our differences, appreciate them, and move forward understanding that we will all act differently based on our own convictions. Below, I'd like to give some Covid-19 profiles and see where you might fit. Please comment and let me know which one you are. I'd be curious to see where people are in general right now. You can also visit our website at and take the full survey.

Covid-19 Profiles

Cautious: Those who primarily stay at home, follow every aspect of the CDC guidelines and regulations and prefer to stay extra conservative about their return to "normal."

Confident: Those who don't and won't wear a mask, spend greater amounts of time with people outside their home and don't mind being around other people they may not know, they obey the law but don't necessarily worry much about going all the way with precautions, favor opening up businesses and churches now regardless of the news, and some think this crisis has been blown way out of proportion.

Cautiously Confident: Those who find themselves doing and feeling a little bit of everything in both profiles.

Here's the point, it's ok to have a different profile. The temptation is to look at your profile and let your own opinion dominate your perspective. Personally, I am confident. I have done the research, I have seen the numbers, I have spoken with our local leaders and I understand where we are as the County of San Diego (and other counties for that matter) and I firmly believe it's time to reopen. Based on the information from our County Supervisors we are at phase 4 and almost at phase 5. Phase 5 would allow San Diego to be completely open. The data shows that we are close to being at phase 5 yet we remain closed because of the Governors order. Therefore, we remain at phase 1 moving toward phase 2 tomorrow and Friday. Our Board of Supervisors have just put forward a request to the Governor that we can be independent of the State mandate and move our phasing forward. This is extremely good news. I have been working with local and state authorities to have a plan in place that other churches may want to use as well to open as soon as possible. However, I can still have a conversation with you and appreciate your viewpoint if yours is different than mine. I will never attack you for that, I hope you don't attack me but even if you do, I'll still have a conversation with you. You may do your research and come to a completely different conclusion than me. Again, that's one of the great things about our country, free speech and free opinions.

Free speech and free opinions does not mean we must become divisive. We have to be careful when considering our profiles. For highly confident optimists, the tendency is to view others as much too conservative and bowing to fear and not faith-- which can be true of all of us at times. Confident types tend to think, "The results of the stay at home order are now worse than the virus."

For the cautious types, confident optimists may be seen as too relaxed and not caring about the health and well-being of others. Cautious types tend to think, what can possible be gained by opening too soon. Isn't it better to be safe than sorry?

No matter where you are I think it would benefit all of us to have 4 attitudes for Covid-19 recovery that will strengthen our ability to be unified as we navigate different views and approaches to opening up again.

  1. Optimistic people are a blessing. They bring hope and encouragement and see things of uncertainty as opportunities.
  2. Thank God for cautious people in my life. It keeps me sensitive to the thoughts and concerns of others and enables me to make the most prudent decisions.
  3. Watch out for Pride. Pride always demands things our own way. Pride always leads us farther away from God. Different gifts and different approaches make up the full body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12).
  4. I love people more than I love my opinion. Being in healthy relationships is a joy and a gift and it requires me to love others above myself.

The bottom line is Jesus dealt with so many different opinions and attitudes as He walked the earth and led people to salvation. One thing was constant, He always chose LOVE. In the end, this attitude should come through above all other opinions.

We may not agree on the proper timing or method to reopen, but I sure hope you know I love you, I care about you and I want what's best for you. When the crisis winds down, there will be plenty of people who got some things right, and plenty who got some things wrong. There will be those who blew things out of proportion, and those who didn't take things as seriously as they should have. Some will take longer to go out to restaurants, businesses and churches again while others will be in a rush (or are already there).

What will it matter, if all this social distancing ends and we are divided and socially distant again and not because of the virus, but because of our inability to accept different approaches to the Covid-19 crisis. Unity always requires Grace.

We want you to know, when we reopen we will have a place for you no matter where you are in the cautious to confident spectrum. We love you and can't wait to see you. You matter to God and you matter to us.


35 thoughts on “As We Open Soon, How Should We Respond?”

  1. jeanne maiden said:

    Well said! There is no place for divisiveness in the kingdom of God.

    • Amen Jeanne

    • I say open this week. Shoot for about 50% capacity. Do a lottery or first x hundred to sign up. 2 seats between families alternate rows. Masks and hand sanitizer. Let’s ask for immunocompromised and those over 60 to either stay home or stay in their cars. They can meet in the back half of the parking lot to listen on speakers and wave at friends. Let’s do this for 2 to 3 weeks and see how the reopening of society goes. At this point the best thing we can do for the elderly is all get herd immunity to lessen their risk and we can all get back to living. God didnt make us for cowering.

  2. Joseph Pharr said:

    Iโ€™m confident. No matter how you decide to open Skykine I will support you 100%. I understand there are a lot of people with underlying conditions and strong opinions, so whatever you decide I know you and the team at Skyline are being led by the Holy Spirit. You have continually encouraged to live by the Spirit during this time and I appreciate all you and the Skyline team have done to keep us connected. God Bless you pastor, I appreciate your true leadership.

  3. Alicia Felio said:

    Confident. Our family is ready for life outside our home to open up.

  4. mbdifley said:

    If I were younger and not have underlying medical conditions, I would be confident. Therefore, I do not want to hold anyone back from opening up church. It is my responsibility to protect myself. Love the essence of this blog – no divisiveness and no pride. I will be supportive of whatever Skyline decides in this regard. It may be necessary for we seniors to stay home initially.

  5. Susan Rackley said:

    I’m very confident in the numbers–the total death rate from COVID 19 (158) in San Diego County is infinitesimal when you look at the approx. 3,340,000 population. In fact, for people under 40 years old, it’s literally 1 in a million! That said, I have a disease condition that predisposes me to get seriously ill from any viruses, including colds. For years, I’ve been extra cautious because of this illness. I’m the outlyer, and will continue to be cautious. But I sure hope that everyone else who’s healthier than me gets out and starts to do normal things again. Thank you, Pastor Jeremy, for encouraging us to look beyond the media and think for ourselves!
    Susan Rackley

  6. I appreciate you and the research you do. I am grateful for your words and look forward to joining you again in person when able to do so.

    Suzi- lakeside

  7. Lauralee said:

    I am confident! I am also considerate of others as this has touched so many people on many levels. I support Skyline with their decisions regarding COVID19.

  8. I’m confident. And I’m ready for the church to open๐Ÿ˜

  9. Darla kasmedo said:

    Thank you for taking the time to write such an articulate response to this situation. I appreciate your perspective, your leadership and your spiritual guidance. We are blessed to have you as our pastor.

    I too am confident and cannot wait to return to church.

  10. Bob/Nancy Bush said:

    At our age and with our immune issues, we are cautiously confident, but do not expect others to make decisions based on us. We are thankful for the leadership at Skyline, and for your prayerful considerations in making decisions. We love the tone of this article. Grace, and not divisiveness is what we all need. We are excited to see things reopen.

  11. I am confident that as a church we are ready to begin again, full force! Thank you, Pastor Jeremy for all of the work you have done to prepare us for this. Itโ€™s the reason Iโ€™m confident that itโ€™s time! God bless you! I will be praying for you and our Skyline family as we move back into our beautiful church. Beverly Ross

  12. Cheryl Thompson said:

    I will be so glad to be back at Skyline. I observe all the safety measures but am very much missing social contacts.Thank you for all the email and utube messages. Happy to be a Skyline member Cheryl Thompson

  13. I am fairly confident but willing to do what is necessary for the church to open and for people to feel safe in coming.
    Thank Pastor Jeremy for this blog and you leadership of the church.

  14. Veronica Hermann said:

    All I have to say is ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  15. Richard said:

    We are of different minds in this household. One, me, cautiously optimistic, one quite guardedly conservative. We both wear masks when out around people, both always 6 feet from others. I go out and do most of the shopping, however since we both have Lots of reasons to avoid most significant risks, ( me in ICU for pnumonia 2017) we don’t see any relatives, friends, etc. I won’t talk to anyone more than 30 seconds, with mask and 6ft apart. I love mass transit, but won’t be doing that for probably 8 months. I would attend a much smaller church than the mega ones, she not any for quite sometime. Online worship and bible study just fine. Hope you all have a very low virus rate and prove us wrong, but we will be waiting probably 6 weeks before attending. SEVERAL large outbreaks have been caused by churches being over confident. Please prove them wrong by skyline getting this right. But until then we decline to be part of the experiment.

  16. Jeanette Briney Benton said:

    We are very confident and cannot wait to be back at Church!!! Thank you soo much for all you are doing Pastor Jeremy!!!

  17. linda1919 said:

    Yesterday’s cabinet meeting if you have a time scroll to about 31 minutes into it. Dr Elinore McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse has a eye opening message.

  18. mbdifley said:

    Yes, saw it and applauded after her presentation. โ€œAll lives matter!โ€

  19. Lily Cango said:

    Our family is ready to worship with our church family without any restrictions. What’s the percentage of our church is in this category.
    Just asking, is there any member of our church/ attending our church got the COVID?
    Thank you and the rest of the church board for your effort in having the same mind for whatever decision you come up with. But 40 plus days is too long (just a thought)

    • Thank you Lily, we are close. A prayer and communion service this week is just the beginning โ€” make sure to register at if you havenโ€™t already. Blessings!

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