Hey Church Family,
I hope you’re having a good day! I wanted to send out an update with some need to know information about upcoming events at our church. You’ll see a list of upcoming events and other announcements at the end of this pastoral update. Please note the Holly Jolly drive through happening THIS SATURDAY!
New Advent Series
We kicked off Advent this past Sunday. You can watch the first message of the series here. To follow along with this series I would encourage you to use some outside tools to center your heart around the Lord and create a spirit of anticipation about his second coming. One of the new series just released on Right Now Media has a helpful resource on Advent by J.D. Greear.
As you saw in our last update, we are still having in-person gatherings on our campus on Sunday morning. Many folks in our church family have chosen to stay home given the spike in COVID-19 and that allows for plenty of space to social distance in the worship center when we do gather on Sunday.
Should attendance tick back up we may start doing registrations again to ensure a safe environment for controlling a potential spread. As of now, we are able to provide a safe environment as it is. There has not been a single case of COVID-19 linked to one of our worship gatherings and we are praying that such will continue to be the case as we move forward.
Please continue to exercise discernment on what’s best for you and your family. Also, please continue praying for our health care professionals, city leaders and government officials as they lead us through this pandemic. There are no easy decisions. There’s also a lot of division around how to handle this virus.
As believers, this is an opportunity for us to model a spirit of grace, truth and wisdom that will bring glory to the Lord. COVID-19 has been a powerful and constant reminder of just how dependent we are on the Lord for everything. I know the Lord has used this virus to remind me of that truth. I’m confident he will continue to work all things together for good.
The Ministry of Prayer
As we enter into this special month of the year I hope you’ll allow the Lord to use it to draw you closer to him. As your leader, I’ve experienced a great deal of stress and anxiety throughout 2020. There wasn’t a class on how to lead through a global pandemic in seminary. (hahaha… laugh to keep from crying)
To be completely honest, I’m STILL struggling over the best way to move forward and what the future will hold and how do we thrive as a congregation in 2021? The particulars are still fuzzy but one thing has come into focus very clearly. We need to recenter ourselves on the Lord and verbally express – as a community – our deep need and desire for his presence in our church.
When the early apostles first elected deacons in Acts 6, they did so in order to devote themselves to “prayer and the ministry of the Word.” I’ve always taken that to mean the deacons freed up time for the apostles to pray and study the Scriptures so they were prepared to preach. But I think the passage also carries corporate implications for how a pastor should lead a church.
In other words, pastors shouldn’t just dedicate THEMSELVES to prayer and the ministry of the Word (although that’s certainly part of it) but they should also lead the CHURCH in such a way that she flourishes in the ministries of prayer and the Word.
Historically, I’ve been pretty zealous for fanning into flame the ministry of the Word in our church. We have a strong history of being a Bible-based, Bible-loving congregation. We have expository preaching and are unashamed of God’s Word.
But I have failed to properly fan into flame the ministry of prayer in our church. The Lord has convicted me of that failure over these past few months and has impressed upon me the importance of prayer for what comes next.
What IS coming next? I’m not really sure. I don’t think anybody is sure. I know many of my pastor friends feel just like I do. I just know we need to be a congregation who is in tune with the Lord’s will because we have spent time together, in his presence, seeking His will.
We need a renewed spirit of desperation for God’s presence. We need a renewed dependency on the Lord and deep communion with the Lord. We need extended, unhurried and undistracted devotional time with the Lord Jesus, as a congregation.
I think this should happen in a collective sense, during our worship gatherings. But it should also be true as we scatter throughout we week (and remain semi-scattered due to COVID-19.) How might we unite our hearts together in seeking after the Lord for what he wants to do in us and through us? Can this be achieved in a world of social distancing and limited physical gatherings?
I don’t have all the answers, yet. I’m still processing the logistics but wanted to share with you my heart. I do know this is something the Lord wants for us and from us. For as much stress and anxiety I feel over an uncertain future, I have an even greater amount of confidence that, if we will position ourselves to hear from and depend on the Lord, he’s going to straighten out a path for us.
And that path will be very, very good.
With you in the journey,