Good Afternoon Church Family-
After much discussion last night, the elders have made some decisions regarding the temporary operations of the church. In this message, I’ll let you know the decisions made, their ramifications, and the opportunities we’re given as a result.
In accordance with the appeal made by President Trump and his health leadership team, we will be closing the church building for the next twelve days. We do this with the understanding that it is quite possible that the initial fifteen day appeal that began on Monday will be extended (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html). At some point while we were meeting, Governor Polis issued his statement regarding a halt to meetings more than ten people until April 17. However, since our decision was made absent that information, I am not including it as part of our consideration.
The closing of the building includes not just Sunday services, but all midweek studies and ministries. We recognize the disruption this will make to our church family life. The decision was not entered into lightly, but through much prayer and lengthy processing.
I am intentionally using the words “closing the church building” because this in no way closes the church. As we talked about a few weeks ago, Strasburg Community Church is not a building – it is the people who make up God’s family. We were SCC last Sunday. We will be SCC this Sunday, and we will be SCC on that up-coming Sunday when the Lord gathers us again in the wonderful facilities with which He’s blessed us.
This Sunday, we’re going to do church differently. At 9:00am, we’re going to gather together, but we’ll do so from our individual homes. At that time, our video service will begin online. This will include an update, prayer, and good words from him. There will also be a children’s message and sermon from me. For right now we are not planning a praise time, primarily because we aren’t equipped with a way to do that well. We encourage you to include your own time of family or individual worship using Christian radio or music that you own. We are working on getting these linked and posted properly. Expect a message soon with details soon.
Steve and I are continuing to think through different ways for our church family to remain connected and to grow in our faith and in the knowledge of our God. Steve has begun recording and posting his Thursday morning Bible study in the Gospel of Matthew. You can find these on the church Facebook page and YouTube channel. It is excellent, and I’d encourage you to check it out. We will also continue to pray through other ways to keep us all united as God’s family through video, audio, and written communication. If you subscribe to the YouTube channel, you will be notified every time a new video is posted.
Again, this is a weird time. Life will be different for a while. It could be easy to get sad or frustrated or angry. But our opportunity to grow through this time will be completely dependent upon our attitudes in facing this season. Paul wrote, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5) We have been given a great gift from God – a chance to be challenged, to deepen our character, and to draw closer to Him. Let’s not let this unique opportunity go to waste.
Remember, we continue to be “on mission”. While the tendency may be to panic, hunker down, and isolate, that’s not who we are. That’s not why we’re hear on this earth. What a wonderful opportunity we have been given to set an example to those around us on what it means to live in faith and peace, knowing that our God is in control. Pray that the Lord keeps your eyes open to those around you. Ask Him to give you the chance to represent Him through your life and your words. Let’s pray that as God spreads out His church for these next weeks, people are touched with His love and souls are saved.
The Food Bank will continue to remain open. Dennis Robbins and Stephanie Bloomfield have been putting a lot of thought into how they will deal with what is sure to be a growing need for food. They are also addressing how they can distribute the food in a safe and sterile manner. Because of the expanded need, they will need more volunteers very soon. If you can help out, please give Dennis a call at (303) 532-7998.
Through these weeks apart, please continue your giving to the Lord. It would be easy to view tithing as a business transaction – a payment for services rendered. But that is not what giving is. We give out of faith, obedience, and a desire to support the ministry of the church. Those things have not changed. To give during this time, you can go on the church’s website, you can use the church’s app, or you can send your gifts by mail.
The elders will be meeting weekly to evaluate the situation, brainstorm ministry ideas, and pray for the church. We plan on over-communicating rather than under-communicating, so expect regular updates on what comes from these meetings. In the meantime, please be wise in protecting yourselves. Pray, wash your hands, and practice “social distancing”. If you have any needs, particularly if you are one of our beloved seniors who is isolating yourself, please call the church. We will do all we can to come alongside you.
God is in control. He will use this for His good. Remember, for Christians this is not scary – it’s just weird. I look forward to the soon-coming day when we can gather back together and praise the Lord for how He has carried us through.
Senior Pastor | Strasburg Community Church