Thank you for your continued care and commitment to serving one another and honoring the Lord through these difficult times. As a church you have communicated your support and care for the pastors in so many ways and we are thankful for you and your love for the Lord and his people.
From the beginning of this pandemic in March it has been clear that this virus is a real and serious danger. As a church we were forced to make drastic shifts in our life and ministry together. You have consistently worked together to serve one another through love (Gal 5:13). Now, in November as the numbers continue to climb, there are no indications that we should take this any less seriously. We must be on guard, now more than ever.
At the same time, we also recognize that gathering as believers is a critically important, biblical command for our lives. With so many voices bombarding us right now, we all need one another to help us remember what is of first importance (1Cor 15:3). We must fight together to prevent the “gospel amnesia” that we heard about in last Sunday’s sermon. More than ever as a church we need each other that we might ’stir up one another to love and good works’ (Hebrews 10:24).
The balance between these priorities is not easy to find. However, as a church we have landed on a strategy for continued ministry in a pandemic. We have restricted the size and frequency of church gatherings and postponed many of our regular ministries. When we do meet we have plans that include social distancing, masks, and hand washing/sanitizer available. All future plans are all being made with these guidelines firmly in place. We also recognize that there are many who are unable to meet in person for a variety of reasons. Because of this we have offered ways to meet together online, through our Sunday livestream and our Zoom community group options.
At this time we believe that our current plan of limited space, social distancing, and masks is still a good one. Still, we will reevaluate week by week and make adjustments if the situation worsens or more strict guidelines are issued by our state and local governments. Our current strategy allows us to gather but minimizes exposure to the virus. Still, we must stay on guard.
As we continue to walk this path together, here are a few things that we are asking:
First, we ask for your flexibility especially in community groups. By God’s design, each of our community groups has its own unique character, comfort levels and dynamics. Many spaces will allow for small groups to gather safely, while other group leaders may need to make the decision to meet exclusively online for a time. Group leaders will contact their groups to confirm the plan for your group. As always, all of our groups will be offering online options for those unable to attend for any reason. Thank you for bearing with one another in this.
Next, our Friday night Missions Festival is being postponed (not cancelled). While we had a plan to do this safely, there are a number of people who are unable to attend this week. It is better to wait for another week when more people are able to be present. So, hold onto your group’s plans and displays and watch for this event to be rescheduled for a later date.
Finally, keep an eye on Church Center, email and church social media for updates. If we have learned anything from 2020 it should be a reminder that we make plans but it is our faithful, loving God who directs our steps. There will undoubtedly be more changes to come and we will communicate those as soon as those decisions are made.
Jesus told us that the primary two commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31). Jesus put these twin loves on display when he suffered, died and was raised. He glorified the Father and he rescued us.
We are praying that we as a church will continue to walk through this time as a gospel-shaped people, holding together our love for our neighbors, our love for one another, and our love for God.