March 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dear Church Family,
I write, once again, to address our approach during the current Coronavirus pestilence. In this letter I will address the following:
- Meeting on Sunday, March 29, 2020
- Elder Visitation
- Encouragements for Community/Small Group Leaders
- Teaching on Prayer
It is long-ish, but I hope informative and profitable.
Meeting on Sunday, March 29, 2020 (Cancelled)
As you may, or may not know, on Monday, March 23rd the Governor of Virginia issued a ban on gatherings of 10 or more people across the Commonwealth. “This order goes into effect at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in place until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 23, 2020.” The Governor’s guidance with respect to Christians meeting with their church families was summarized as follows in his document titled, “Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Executive Order Fifty-Three”:
What about religious services? Can I still go to my church, synagogue, or mosque? Virginians are strongly encouraged to seek alternative means of attending religious services, such as virtually or via “drive-through” worship. Places of worship that do conduct in-person services must limit gatherings to 10 people, to comply with the statewide 10-person ban.
While this guidance fundamentally misunderstands the nature and importance of corporate Christian worship as outlined in the Scriptures, the elders of ABC have decided to forgo meeting together on Sunday, March 29, 2020.
We will continue to make these decisions on a week-by-week basis. As we have said before, we now wish to say again, we cannot forgo meeting together forever, for as you know, our Lord Jesus through the writer to the Hebrews commanded us not to neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10:24-25). Still, during this extraordinary period of time, in an effort to honor the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17), we can, for a finite period of time, forgo meeting together. We don’t yet know how long the finite period of time may be, but for now we believe that it includes this coming Lord’s Day.
As I did with this past Lord’s Day, in the next few days, the elders will send out a guide for how you might spend your next Lord’s Day well (songs, Scripture readings, etc.); however, we do wish for you to know that the elders are eager to do home visitation.
The elders are desirous of making regular contact with as many members as possible, while still heeding the governing authorities’ directives. Many of you have received phone calls from the elders, others have received in-person visits, but some of you have not yet had direct contact. If possible, we wish to change that dynamic.
So, can we come over for a visit? In such a meeting, we will endeavor to adhere to the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing and personal hygiene. Among other things, we would be delighted to visit with you, your housemates/roommates, or your family. It would give us great delight to see you, pray with you, open and explain some portion of Scriptures to you, give you some instruction or training on how to conduct personal or family worship while we are not able to meet together as a corporate body. I (Mike) am presently thinking through how to give our congregation some biblical instruction on the subject of prayer through some kind of virtual meeting (more on that below).
All of this is to say, if you would like a visit from your elders, then please reach out to one of us directly or you can email all of the elders at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will likely spread the visitations out across the elders as a whole so that no one elder is overloaded. Some of these visitations can occur during the week, others during the evening, and others on the weekend. We’ll endeavor to work with your schedule, and we ask that you work with ours.
Encouragements for Community/Small Group Leaders
Those not using childcare may gather in a manner leaders and members deem prudent and wise, but please respect and obey the orders of the governing authorities to keep groups smaller than 10, practice the 6ft rule, social distancing, and high-quality hygiene. Group leaders can also creative and remain in contact through some virtual prayer meeting through Zoom or Google Hangouts, or you could go the old-fashioned route and call one another. Whatever the case may be, do try to be in regular contact with the brothers and/or sisters in your groups.
Teaching on Prayer
I am persuaded that during the time of this pandemic one of the things the Lord is placing before us is an opportunity to grow in our prayer lives. I am rather inept when it comes to technology, and this may fail spectacularly, but I would like to attempt to give some instruction on personal prayer through a Zoom meeting. Perhaps in conjunction with my afternoon cup of coffee, you’d be willing to join me in prayer? Here are a few thoughts I have in mind:
- How to pray Scripture (especially the Psalm of the day).
- Meditations on the Lord’s Prayer which lead to prayer.
If I can figure it out, I will send out a meeting to the congregation as a whole, but I’d be interested to know if you’d like to join me for some brief teaching on prayer on Wednesday afternoons at 2:30 PM. I suspect that some of the teaching and time of prayer would be interactive and other aspects of the teaching would be in the form of a monologue.
Finally, brothers and sisters, remember and believe these words from God’s Word:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35–39).
With love for Christ, and longing to be with you all again,
For the elders of ABC,
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