The elders had a chance to meet Wednesday night and consider how we can best glorify God together in light of the changes in all our lives with the ongoing concern around COVID-19.
We began by praying for you, for our neighbors, our city, for healthcare workers, and leaders working to protect and help us. We prayed for God to glorify his name in mercy. We asked that he would use this period in our church’s life to grow us in our knowledge of Christ’s love and cultivate godly affection and love for one another. Our hope is that you are walking in confident trust in God, who does all things well.
As we reviewed the landscape together we were reminded that although our circumstances have changed and will continue changing, our purpose as a church has not changed. So our discussion revolved around how to live *right now* as a family of missionary disciples devoted to knowing and spreading the joy of Jesus.
We know things are changing rapidly, but for now we think its best to abide by the suggestions not to gather. On Sunday, when the recommendations were less restrictive, I started drawing up plans for gathering as MCs and having an abbreviated worship service in homes led by an elder. However, as we’ve watched things unfold this week and the recommendations have narrowed to fewer people in meetings where possible, we think it’s best to suspend all in-person gatherings for the moment.
While we might be limited from physical interaction for a hot minute, we can still function as a body that enjoys Jesus together & seeks to spread that joy. We want to encourage you to continue prioritizing the gospel, community, and mission in your daily (socially isolated) life.
Work hard this week to quiet your heart in the good news of God’s gracious redemption of you and of all creation in the GOSPEL of Christ. As we feel the sting of the fall and corruption in the illness and in confusion surrounding it we can live with confident hope as we set our mind on the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1-5). The mind set on Christ helps us put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience as the peace of Christ rules in our hearts where the word of Christ dwells richly (Col. 3:12-17).
As you think about living in the kind COMMUNITY that the gospel forms, employ all of the digital means of communication available. Our encouragement is to reach out to at least one other member of the body every day to check in, encourage them, and remind them that you’re praying for them. Our practice of the “one anothers” of Scripture might be limited by distance, but it is still possible! Let’s use GroupMe more than we typically do to send out reminders of prayer and love, resources we’ve found helpful, Scriptures that are strengthening us, and funny cat memes.
This season presents us with some unique opportunities to live on the MISSION of God to spread his glory among those who haven’t yet heard. While we take safety precautions of distancing and work to avoid exposing vulnerable populations, this is a great time to be intentional to check in on and meet needs among neighbors. Feel free to reach out if you discover a need that we can all help address. Our food drive for Sea Isle Elementary has gotten off to a great start. We were able to get 25 boxes together and we expect that they’ll all be claimed by the close of the pickup window tonight. Thank you to the folks who have donated, picked up food, filled boxes, and met with parents for pickup! My hope is that we can keep this momentum going and stock the pantry rooms to meet needs among neighbors in the coming weeks. We’re working this week on securing a good bulk food source to purchase food. If you’d like to volunteer to make a grocery run, fill boxes in the pantry room, deliver boxes to elderly neighbors, or distribute boxes at a pickup time let me know and we’ll arrange it. We budgeted $100/mo in our annual budget for a food pantry but obviously we could use more right now so if you’d like to give just choose the “Food Pantry” fund when giving online.
Look for a couple things coming your way this week:
(1) Sunday worship guide
By the end of the day Friday Chris will send out a digital worship guide for you as an individual or family to use on Sunday morning. It’ll include most of our normal worship elements geared for use at home. If you’re comfortable gathering with another person or two to sing, pray, and hear the word please do.
(2) Elder call for check-in and prayer
On Sunday the elders plan to call each person (by family) for a quick convo. We want to see how you are, how we can pray and serve, and then pray with you over the phone.
We’ll keep up with how things are progressing and may have additional options. Right now we’d encourage you to reach out regularly to encourage folks and do as much digital communication as you can. If your Discipleship Group can meet over Google Hangouts or Zoom then go ahead. If not, maybe just plan to call and have a brief meeting by phone.
We’re hopeful that things will improve soon, but we’re confident that in the meantime we can function as a spiritual family that loves Jesus and makes him known even while we can’t be together as much as we’d like. If you have any questions or needs that arise, please don’t hesitate to call or message the elders. We love you and are praying that we’ll all stand in the full assurance of faith as we grow together in knowing the height, depth, breadth, and width of the love of God that is ours in Christ!
Jeremy, on behalf of the elders
Matt A. - 299.2789
Stephen - 488.5442
Chris - 626.8755
Jeremy - 800.7889
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