What's the plan for Sunday March 22nd???
Greetings and grace to you from dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for praying for me and your other Elders as we seek the Spirit’s wisdom in how best to lead the flock entrusted to our care. As I reflect on the past 7 days and what has happened, not only in our nation but in the church, I truly REJOICE that we are a family of faith that fights so hard to stay together! Like few church leadership teams I am aware of, your Cornerstone leaders of worked tirelessly to figure out how to continue to gather in this current climate. Hours upon hours of discussion and planning and meetings and dreaming and praying have happened since we gathered last week.
In light of the current situation and the recent events that have occurred nationally and locally, your leadership has decided to suspend all formal gatherings through the end of March - 10 days. We will re-evaluate the 1st of April. These are words I never dreamed I’d say as a pastor. We know that many will be displeased with this decision because, in many ways, we are not pleased with it either. However, as I mentioned in my communication yesterday, our desire is to speak into and not harden the hearts of those who are not yet saved. For an unregenerate soul, who is fearful of all they see happening around them, to see that restaurants and stores and gyms and schools are temporarily closed because the the CDC says the best and fastest way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and get their lives ‘back to normal’ is to limit contact; but then to see followers of Christ still encouraging gathering in larger groups, runs the very real risk of hardening the hearts of people to seeing the love found in the gospel message. Instead they will likely see a selfishness that will only be used by the enemy to drive wedges instead of build bridges. We all believe the Word of God conveys the gospel, and the one-another’s display the gospel, but it is no less true that selflessly letting go of what ‘we want’ (only for a short time in the interest of public health and neighbor love) will speak word’s of grace and love and life over people that will build those bridges, open those doors and start conversation if we will step into those spaces.
SO WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR SUNDAY?
In lieu of officially gathering tomorrow, I have prerecorded the message in both Video and Audio format that you can find on our website and YouTube channel: Cornerstone Messages and Practicing Radical Hospitality. The message it more like a Bible Study in that we are not trying to recreate church in living rooms. There are three 12-15 minute teaching segments working through the powerful scene in John 13:1–20 of Jesus was washing the disciples’ feet, with time to discuss the Table Talk Questions mixed throughout. You can also find our normal weekly resources of the Bulletin, Connecting Points, and Kid’s Connect to help you engage with the Word and participate in group discussion. To the extent that you are able and feel comfortable, I want to encourage you to reach out to others in your circle of influence and invite them into the experience with you, however that may look in today’s world. This could be FRamily members, family, neighbors, etc. you connect with as the Spirit leads you. I want to encourage you to follow the CDC guidelines CDC - COVID-19 Recommendations as best you are able and to maintain a witness of loving others well however you choose to be together these next couple of Sundays. This is a God-orchestrated moment where YOU can be the Lighthouse for the gospel and a source of strength and truth for those around you. Make the most of this Spirit orchestrated opportunity. I have made an additional handout to help you facilitate discussion around the content covered in the message.
SO WHAT IS THE PLAN GOING FORWARD?
In the coming days you will be hearing more from me and your other leaders about exciting, community building, neighborhood reaching, ideas the Spirit is moving us into to take advantage of this unique opportunity. Please check the website, your email (junk mail too), and our Facebook and Twitter regularly to be kept informed. As a faith family, we have been praying for revival for the past year, and throughout that time we have said that revival is not, “God do what You do only bigger.” No, revival is, “God, shake the very ground and do something better.” He is shaking His bride awake! Cornerstone Church family, let’s not hit the snooze button! These are exciting and unique times to be sure. Don’t waste them by simply trying to ‘ride it out.’ Instead, let’s get on top of the waves, where the Great I AM walks, and let’s ride with Him into Kingdom glory!