With the recent "no mask, no entry" policy sweeping our state. Below are the Biblical reasons why we do not require masks in our church services.
Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
We gather for more than just a sermon. We gather to engage with each other...do life together. Before, during and after our church services, we seek and enjoy mutual encouragement, friendship and admonishment. Masks heighten miscommunication and frustrate our ability to express our hearts. When someone is hurting (Eccl. 7:3), we see it on their face. When someone is joyful, we see it on their face. Masks cripple this type of heart communication and in some form deny vital Christian community.
1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
Gospel Bible preaching is important to the Christian. Preaching is a very personal exercise between the one preaching and those listening. It is not mechanical or academic. Every Spirit led preacher relies on the Spirit of God to help him adapt his message in real time based on the needs of the hearers. A preacher uses faces to detect these needs. If there are confused looks, he may back up and reiterate the previous scripture or point. If there are some who seem to be receiving the point well, he may spend a few more minutes there.
Conversely, preaching is much more effective when the congregants can see the face of the preacher. They will see his heart, through his countenance. An entirely masked congregation impedes the fullest communication of the Word of God
Psalm 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
When the church family gathers, one of our greatest joys is singing praise to our God! Singing unto the Lord is commanded over 200 times in the Bible. Experience shows that when one wears a mask, singing is harder, and often not done at all. With masks off, we can fully lift our voices unto our Lord!
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Without getting into the psychology of masks, I do know that atmosphere and the spirit of church worship is important. God wants the spirit when we gather to be that of faith, love, courage, joy, acceptance and hope. With everyone wearing masks and staying far apart, what happens is unstoppable, the atmosphere becomes fear, shame and distrust. What is more welcoming than a smiling face?
For those whose medical condition or personal conscience lead them to wear a mask, we support you. We strongly advocate for the priesthood of the believer and individual liberty. But we also believe that the face is an essential part of worship and to require believers to cover it would steal away part of their worship.