As elders we are in an entirely unprecedented place. None of us have ever had to deal with anything like this. No one has. Thus, while we always need God’s wisdom, I’m not sure any of us have ever felt the need for it as much as we do now. We’re giving ourselves to more fervent prayer and contemplation than ever before as we seek to navigate this season in a manner pleasing to God and good for you and the world around us.
Thus, while our commission remains the same—making disciples of the world because of our love for God and others—we’re forced to rethink every practical aspect of how we do it. We invite you to join us in considering how best to do that. Please think and pray over ministry in this current context (to each other and the world around us), be gracious to us and one another, give us constructive feedback, and participate as much as you’re able.
There are two really pressing items that we are trying hard to address. First, we want to help everyone stay connected. During this time of self-quarantineing it is critical that we do everything possible to creatively fellowship as much as possible. Second, we want to help everyone think well. It’s easy for our minds to wander away from the gospel and then drag our hearts and actions along behind.
To the first (helping us be connected), we’re trying to host as many interactive ministries as possible through video conferencing. It’s good to see one another’s faces and hear one another’s voices. It’s good to be able to ask questions and pray together as much as possible and our video conferencing capabilities seem best suited to do that while we can’t be together. For that same reason, we’re trying as much as possible to keep the worship service on livestream. It’s not interactive and it’s not perfect, but if we can get our technology to cooperate (which is no guarantee), it seems best to have us all experience the same thing at the same time. Please check your emails and our website for ministry updates. Again, please help us think of new and better ways to stay connected.
And to the second (helping us to think well), rather than preach a single sermon (or a couple sermons) on how to think Christianly about the coronavirus and its impact on our lives, we’re going to do so in smaller bites over a longer time. That is, we mean to share with you 12 biblical and pastoral thoughts on the coronavirus, one at a time, every couple of days, over the next couple of weeks. This seems like a good idea for at least the following reasons:
- By continuing to preach through Genesis on Sunday mornings we will provide a steady reminder that our greatest need has nothing to do with the coronavirus. It will also allow us to have a dependable time of coronavirus respite.
- In giving 12 separate thoughts we will be able to really chew on them. That is, our aim is not to simply give you information, but to help you digest and apply the truth of God’s word in this difficult time.
- It will keep good things in front of you when you have more time on your hands. If we’re not careful we could find ourselves wasting our extra time or filling it with worry and fear. Keeping sound doctrine in front of you in regular intervals could help combat those things and enable you to make the most of your time.
The final number of topics may increase or decrease, but below is a list of areas we mean to cover. Please let us know if you have other things you are wondering about.
Why are we doing the things we’re doing?
- The relationship between the Christian/Church and the government.
- What it means to love our neighbor.
Why has God allowed this deadly and destructive virus to infect the world?
- God is sovereign and He is working for the good of those who love him.
What can Christians do during this time?
- We need hope, not fear.
- We need to light up the world with our love.
- We ought to balance wisdom and risk.
- We ought to pray and practice.
- We need to redeem every moment.
What is God teaching us through this?
- We are vapor.
- Suffering provides us the opportunity to experience the interdependence God designed.
- Suffering reveals idols.
- The church must become more as it was meant to be.
The format will be simple. I’ll (Pastor Dave) work through one of the topics above from a biblical and pastoral perspective. The aim will be around 500 words (3/4 of a page). Pastor Mike will share a few practical ideas of how to apply the principle in our current context. And then one of us will offer a few prayer points at the end.
Our aim in all of this is to point you to Jesus when almost everything around you is pointing to other things. We have a unique set of challenges that we’re facing right now, but we also have a unique set of opportunities. Our ability to turn the challenges to opportunities is entirely dependent on our belief in the promises of God rather than the message of the world. Again, it is our hope that this aspect of our corona-time ministry will be one means to that end.