As followers of Jesus during this time we need to come to God and ask two questions. What does it look like for us to show love and care for one another, to take right and wise precautions? And how do we shine like stars as people of hope within our community?
As we look to answer those two questions, as a leadership team we have decided to suspend all of our normal physical gatherings. This is both for the welfare of one another and so that we honour those in authority over us and handle ourselves as a community in a way that is above reproach.
At the same time, we know that it is vital that we continue to be community, it is vital that we continue to encourage one another, support one another and point one another to Jesus. We may stop physical gatherings for a time but we never stop being church, being a community that love Jesus and love one another. To enable that to happen we want to leverage the technology of today to serve God’s kingdom.
Some of the key things we have put in place are:
1. Youtube channel and Facebook page.
We would love you to join us live at 10.30am each Sunday morning. We will be sharing a video message at that time to help us to continue to come to God’s Word and fix our eyes on Him. I’d love you during and after the video to make use of the comments section to encourage one another, to share prayer requests and ask for help where needed.
We will also be sharing videos and posts at other times to encourage one another.
2. Make use of group chat and video tools
Many Growth Groups already have a Whatsapp group or similar to keep in contact with each other through the week. These are a great tool for us to stay connected, to share our struggles and needs and to encourage one another. Please make the most of this technology as a way of caring for one another.
3. Phone calls
I’m well aware that not all of you like new technology and that writing messages to each other does not compare to actually talking to someone. We are one church family and we each have a part to play in caring for each other. Please be active in ringing those you know, particularly those who may have had to self-isolate, to give time to talk and show care, to encourage one another, to pray for each other and to ask if they have any practical needs.
4. Practical help and prayer
With some people needing to self-isolate there will be practical needs and there will be times when you want someone to pray with you and we don’t want anyone trying to struggle alone. If this is the case or in chatting to someone you find that they do, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with what the need or prayer request is and your phone number. We will have a team monitoring that account who will then give you a call and we will do all we can to support you.
I’d also love to encourage you to reach out to your neighbours and people you know in the community and ask them if they have any needs you can help with or if you can pray with them.
I know that these are uncertain times and it can all feel surreal. But I want to encourage you with God’s words to Joshua at a time of uncertainty for the nation of Israel.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
God is at work in this time and I’m reminded that it has often been in the seasons of greatest difficulty that God has brought about the greatest growth for His kingdom. As we keep our eyes fixed on Him He is at work to draw us close to Him, grow us to become more like Jesus and enable us to be people who bear fruit and shine for Him. He’s also at work at a time when hope is in short supply to draw people to Him from far and wide and we want to be people who are ready to share Jesus with those who need Him most.
How we do church may look different but our amazing God is the same! He has great things for you and for us together as we keep our eyes fixed on Him.
Please continue to pray for one another, for God in His mercy to stop the spread of this virus, for those in the NHS who are working so hard to care for people in a difficult and for those in government as they make difficult decisions.