Update from Pastor Sean
Dear Church Family,
I hope and trust that this email finds you well. I know that these are incredibly challenging days in many ways, so I wanted to share with you several thoughts that have been going through my head and heart.
First, let me say how grateful I am for the prayers, calls, and support that you have expressed for me and my family. It is so wonderful to be surrounded by so many caring friends. Your willingness to check on us, others in our church family, and friends and neighbors has been a tremendous blessing to my heart as I see you loving God and others while battling through your own unique challenges.
Loving Our Community
I have also been encouraged at the creative ways you have been reaching out to others in these days. Many of you are finding creative ways to minister to your neighbors, and I would challenge you to keep looking for greater opportunities in the days ahead. So far, I have heard of:
- Church members donating to area food banks, such as Community Action
- A shut-in family whose neighbor had a need. They called and found someone in the church who could help meet that need, and were able to minister that way.
- A church member with a pregnant neighbor has been doing her shopping for her so she doesn’t risk exposure or have to take her children with her to the store. This is opening conversations and opportunities for her to share the gospel.
- As a church, we are providing food and goodies to two departments at Lewis Gale Montgomery where we have church members working.
Wondering how to start with things like this? Perhaps you could adopt a plan like this “1-1-3” plan that was modeled by believers in South Korea:
In 1 day, call 1 person, and pray for 3 others. [source]
People are more aware of their need right now than any time in recent memory, so be a good listener as you call. Look for opportunities to point people to Christ, potentially using a tool like the Life Conversation Guide (3 Circles), which you can find here.
Our Church Meetings
It has been great to see our faithful group gathering for prayer meeting on Wednesday nights over Zoom (click here for info on how to join tonight’s meeting). Tim and Holly Borkert have done a great job helping adults and children stay engaged in God’s word through our Sunday School lessons, and it has been wonderful to have worship services on Sunday mornings to continue to praise God together, although scattered through various homes.
Can we be honest, though? It just isn’t the same. If I am transparent today, I will tell you that I miss seeing you face to face. I miss seeing church members pull others to the side of the Foyer, put their arm around each other, and pray. I miss the sound of a room full of people whose hearts are crying out to their Savior together. On Friday evening, I will miss getting together as a group to mark Jesus’ death, and on Sunday morning, I will miss joyfully gathering together in person to celebrate his resurrection. As grateful as I am for technology, it just isn’t the same.
And that’s okay. You see, God has wired us for community, and that doesn’t translate well to screens, phones, or text messages. I am grateful for the ways we are staying connected, and we are committed to trying to stay as connected as we can in the days and weeks ahead. However, we should miss the connection, the time, the friendship, and the encouragement that God brings as the church gathers.
One author expressed it this way, writing on the issue of taking the Lord’s Supper:
All suffering involves loss; every loss is a form of suffering. Right now, amid much other loss and suffering, Christians around the world are suffering the loss of weekly, face-to-face fellowship with one another. Compassion prompts us to mitigate that loss however we can. But we can’t erase it. And so we should learn what God would teach us through the temporary loss of these embodied, tangible, necessarily face-to-face ordinances, especially the Lord’s Supper. The house of feasting—together, on Christ, in his Supper—is closed for now. What will you learn in this providentially ordered visit to the house of mourning (Eccles. 7:2, 4)?
So, what does God want us to learn in this season? It is hard for me to say for sure; his purposes are much greater than mine. At the very least, I believe he is helping create in us a longing and a desire for a time when we will be able to be together again to worship. Even more, let us allow God to create in us a hunger for the time when we will all stand before him for all eternity.
As he creates that hunger in us, pray for God to open doors for us to keep pointing people to Christ so they will be able to join us on that day.
Plans for Easter Weekend
Unfortunately, we are cancelling our Good Friday service for this year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to reflect on his death as an individual and with your family. If you need a place to start, read through Matthew 27 and remember all Jesus did for us.
We would like to reach out (in a responsible way) to many of our shut-in adults on Saturday evening from 5:00-6:30pm. If you are interested in being a part of this, please call or text Linda Montgomery (757-593-5281) as soon as possible.
Our adult Sunday School class will be published to Facebook on Saturday. We will have our Easter Kid’s Sunday School class online at 10:15 on Sunday, and our service will go live at 11:00 like normal. Although the celebrations may not be quite the same as they would be on a normal Easter Sunday, our hope is still the same it always has been—in a risen Savior.
If you have or know of a need that our church family can assist with, please reach out to your deacons or to me. Keep checking up on each other, sharing Jesus with your neighbors, and I look forward to seeing you all as soon as the Lord allows us to be together again!