As we move through “Holy Week” from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday, once again, allow me to say thank you for your continued faithful service to God’s Kingdom and your congregations in the midst of this continuing virus crisis. I am blessed by the reports from many of you sharing that God is providing, sustaining, and guiding in the midst of the challenges as you keep trusting Him. At the same time, I know that some are feeling the stress of transition and continued uncertainty, and I am praying that God will give you moments of rest and peace. May God’s statement in Isaiah 46:9-10 encourage all of us:
“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’”
- The challenges we are facing are real, but the outcome is not in doubt; you are part of the winning team, servants of the victorious King who will complete His work and establish His will. With that in mind, some notes:
If any of you is in need of assistance with some sort of digital online worship for your congregation, contact the Regional office and we will connect you with persons who can provide you with help.
- Be watching for information soon on an opportunity (beginning later in April) for a four session coaching process that will focus on helping pastors discern God’s specific direction for the local church as we move forward into the new realities created by this virus situation. This will NOT be another “information webinar,” but instead will involve small groups of pastors working together with a coach to clarify God’s heart for their local ministries.
- Please stay in touch with us and keep us informed of any developing financial difficulties. While I know we are all praying and trusting for God’s provision, and I’ve been encouraged by reports from some that giving is staying steady in their local contexts, I am also aware that the economic impact of this health crisis is real and significant. We have provided links in previous email updates to information about the CARES Stimulus Act payroll loan (convertible to a grant if conditions are met) provisions available through your local banking institution to small businesses, including non-profits like churches. Let us know if you need those links again and we’ll forward them to you. Should you desire assistance in the process of application for this loan, get in touch with your local bank, or email our regional treasurer Glenna Stout (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Don Williams (denominational Director of Operations, email@example.com ) or Diana Boyer (denominational Assistant to the President, firstname.lastname@example.org ) for more guidance.
- The virus crisis has required all of us to think in new ways about the celebration of Easter/Resurrection Sunday. I am praying that God will guide each of you and your leadership teams to the appropriate approach for each of your congregations. In the meantime, I’ve heard of many interesting options already being considered, from dropping off cinnamon rolls and a card to congregation families in place of “sunrise breakfast,” to “drive in/stay in car” parking lot services, to “digital contact” efforts to recruit otherwise unchurched families to join the church’s online Resurrection Sunday service. Whatever God might lead, encourage your church family members to invite some unchurched friends to “tune in” to the online options your church is offering—as some churches are noticing, searching people are connecting online in pursuit of hope and comfort in the midst of the virus upheaval.
I look forward to connecting with as many of you as possible through our ZOOM 10 AM pastor connection call tomorrow. As we look to this coming Sunday, hear Jesus speak in Revelation 1:17-18: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
He is risen— Yes, He is risen indeed!