The past several weeks have brought some significant changes to all of our lives for sure. While this time took us by surprise, we know it did not take God by surprise. He is sovereign over all disease and all trials. He will use this time for our good and for His glory, of that we are sure.
There are ways that I see God working in this time that I would not have thought of. In the time since the stay at home order, our family has had almost every supper together. That normally doesn’t happen during this season as we have multiple kids in sports, and I am often pulled away several nights a week for church meetings. Our kids who are often sleep deprived have been taking advantage of the opportunity to get some much needed rest. We have also been able to tackle a few projects around the house that have been put off for a while.
There are also significant challenges though. Many of our church members are in the “at risk” demographic for this virus and have been shut in since the order. We also have several members who are out of work, or have seen their income decrease in this time. This has been very difficult for sure.
What I wanted to write about today is the ways that I see the Lord stretching us as a church in this time. I have said this before, but I want to explain it a little more.
1. The first area of focus that I believe we need to be proactive about is connecting with one another if whatever ways we can right now. We may not be able to visit with one another on Sunday mornings, but that does not mean we cannot connect. In fact, we should be connecting in the other ways that we can. Through technology. This can be phone calls, emails, face time, as well as other ways that I want to tell you about. We live in an amazing time where our physical presence is not a requirement for connection. This in no way is a replacement for physical presence, but it can provide opportunities to connect. We can still share what is going on in our lives, pray for one another, care for one another, and encourage one another. I am so thankful for the ways that God has created for us to do this. Which leads to the second area of growth for us as a church.
2. The staff and leaders of ECC are on a steep learning curve of technology during this time. We are trying to still get content out to our members and kids that will hopefully help everyone to stay focussed on Christ and His work during this time. some of these things have been in place for a while, and some of them we are just getting started with.
As you most likely know, we have been streaming our services for over three years now. Fortunately right before everything hit with Covid-19, we had finished getting a new camera set up for the sanctuary. This has greatly improved our ability to record and live stream our services with much higher quality. This was a great gift to be able to move immediately to online service as soon as the stay at home order was given. If you want to stream our services, even if you don’t have a FaceBook account, you can follow this link to view our page. While I would never say that it is ok to stay at home on a regular basis and watch virtual church, when we have been ordered to not meet in groups of 10 or more, this does provide a way to bring worship and teaching to our congregation. Our online service is not the church, but it does provide a way for this local body to be fed by the same teaching from the Word. As an aside, it also give potential visitors a taste of what our services are like on Sunday mornings.
In the meantime we have also been getting up to speed with Zoom meetings and live stream prayer meetings. They have been going well. We hope to be hosting some zoom meetings that are open to the whole church soon, look for emails on that in the next week.
We also have an Emmaus Family Facebook group that you can request to join if you are on Facebook. If you are unsure how to join it, please give me a call.
Mr. Clayton has been doing some creative videos for the kids to watch as well. These have been very good, and are getting better each week. I created a YouTube channel for the church a few months ago as we were deciding which live streaming platform works best. I have been posting videos of sermons there, as well as some videos for the women’s ministry. Our goal is to continue to make these as a supplement to our face to face gatherings, when we are able to have them again. You can also see some of the videos we have been making on our YouTube account, HERE
Again, being the church is about gathering to worship, but it doesn’t stop there, it is also about scattering to proclaim the truth of Jesus to one another and to the lost. My prayer is that when this season is over, we will be strengthened in our love of the gathering, and in our ability to scatter to share the Good News of Jesus to all we interact with.