Hey Church family- it has been a tough week for our nation. It is hard to believe all that’s happened over the last seven days. Globally, the effects of the Coronavirus have been felt for a while, but know they are starting to hit home for us here in the States. Schools out of session, church services canceled, businesses shut down, supplies at stores running low, stock market volatility, public places closed, and social contact limited like we haven’t seen in decades. Plans for the future have all been canceled, suspended indefinitely, or otherwise put in jeopardy.
On top of all of this is the uncertainty and fear for the future. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We don’t know what additional restrictions will be placed, whether we will get the supplies we need, if we will still have jobs when all this is over, how long it will last, or even if we will be counted among the sick. The news seems to be largely negative, and with so many of our other entertainment options shut down, it feels like we have no other option than to watch the dominoes fall and hope they don’t land too hard on us personally. If we’re not careful, the pandemic will turn into personal panic.
In this time, we desperately need the Church. We need the message of the Gospel and we need the support of our family of believers. This week has been a major challenge for leadership at Christ Community Church as we seek to completely rearrange how we do ministry. One of the hardest parts about it is that as soon as we plan according to one set of restrictions, the restrictions change and we have to go back to square one. We are completely committed to the health and well being of those in our community and are therefore complying to whatever restrictions are passed down by our government. I met virtually with our staff and ministry team leaders yesterday, and the kind of ideas they are coming up with is just incredible. It truly is amazing and inspiring how a crisis like this can bring God’s Church together. The children’s ministry will be recording videos and sending discipleship material for family devotionals, the youth are gearing up to serve our at-risk population, we are staying connected with all our missionaries around the world, we’re training Bible Study leaders how to meet virtually, and we’ve completely reworked our Sunday morning experience.
This Sunday we are having our first ever virtual church service. What that looks like is that we are going to prerecord a service including praise, prayer, and proclamation of God’s Word, and then premiere the video on Facebook Sunday morning at 10:15. We will all be able to watch and worship together, and also interact with each other virtually. I am really excited about this approach and I can’t wait for Sunday. Also, since we are new to this, and we will need to do this for a few weeks- we especially welcome your feedback on how we can serve you best.
We are starting a new series this Sunday called Refuge: A Journey together through the Psalms. The Psalms are passionate songs of praise in the midst of uncertainty and adverse circumstances. The title comes from Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength; our ever-present help in times of trouble. We’ll get things kicked off by looking at God’s Survival Guide from Psalm 1. We have already heard probably more advice on how to make it through this mess than we can handle. So much of these suggestions conflict with each other and prioritize self-survival over soul-survival. We’ve got to cut through the noise and stay grounded in the truth of God’s Word. Psalm one gives us all we need to be rooted and steadfast during times of adversity. I can’t wait to share it with you!
Please hang in there. We love you and are praying for you. Most importantly, God loves you and you are secure in the palm of His hand.
Have a great weekend and I look forward to connecting with you virtually on Sunday.
-Pastor Nathan Rice