We are in unprecedented times. All over the world, the Coronavirus is having varied effects and varied attempts at containment and slowing the spread of this thing are being tried. We see some people reacting in fear, hoarding resources and sharing doomsday scenarios. While others, we see acting as if we have no responsibility in this and not changing anything even in the face of government requests to do so. Now is the time for the church to be the church. We have a difficult line to walk; not acting in fear, but also leading the way in diligent care for those most vulnerable to this disease. I believe the church is uniquely poised to be a beacon of light in this darkness for it is in crisis that true character is demonstrated. And if our character is shaped by Jesus, then this is an opportunity for them to see His glory! As such, The Leadership Team and I have been working hard to make plans in the quickly changing sea of information for our worship services. I’m going to share those plans with you and I ask for your help and participation.
The first thing you need to know is that the church is not closing. It isn’t closing because YOU are the church. We have met in a comfortable building, and we will not be doing that for the near future, but you are the church and YOU are not closed. This move away from the church building begins this Sunday (3/22/2020). God will use you for such a time as this. He has MADE you for such a time as this. Will you rise to the occasion? Will you be the church?Next, you need to know that through this, God has afforded us an incredible opportunity to physically identify with the model of church our partners in Berlin are using; house church! The team there is using this model with great success. But it doesn’t just work over there. A pastor friend of mine has been having great success with a variation of this model for about a year now in Elk River, MN. Our plan is to gather together in groups of 10 or less in homes. That means we will need volunteers with access to the internet and a way to display a video to be host homes, and for everyone else to commit to being and active part of community in this season of church life.
When I hear from you that you can be a host home (and how many you can host adding to no more than 10), or when I hear from you that you would like to be part of a house church community for this season, I will make a list and communicate who and how many to expect, or who’s home you’ll be going to. If I do not hear from you, I will have to assume you do not want to participate and thus you will not be assignedWhen you get your assignments, your host will communicate with you about when to meet and what to expect. Each host will set up a bit differently depending on their situations, but you should expect something like this;
-Any announcements I’ve given them to make
-A time of worship together (we are still working out whether your host will receive a “play list” for the week or to have each house church decide on songs themselves.
-A time of prayer together
-A video message from God’s Word by Pastor Nate (we are still working out whether this will be live stream or pre-recorded).
Some homes may choose to finish by having a meal together (or to head to another home together for a meal) or order things differently, but each house church time will be meaningful. There are several other advantages to this not the least of which is that this is an incredibly great way to build deeper relationships, promote intergenerational learning and relationships, to invite a friend or neighbor who hasn’t yet come with you to church but would come to your home, to be able to get out of our homes a bit, to encourage other believers and be encouraged by meeting together as we have been called to do, and even to serve the church in a new way! Now is also a great time to set up the giving app on your phone ()/( or if technology is not your thing you are still welcome to give by mailing a check to the church (810 Jenson Ave SE Watertown, SD 57201). Just as with you, the church still has bills to pay even if we aren’t meeting in the building. Please give us some extra time to process your gift if you are mailing a check.
I believe God is going to use what we see as inconvenience and sacrifice to do some incredible things in and through His church! And I believe that because that’s how He’s often operated as we see all through Scripture. Would you please commit to participating in the body in this otherwise isolating season and SHARE that commitment with me as soon as possible so I can make a good plan for these groupings?
Thank-you in advance for being the church, even if it’s a different way than you might picture it right now! I will continue to do my best to communicate well and often but if you have questions in the meantime, please reach out to me.
Be a witness,