I'll tell you I've never experienced anything as surreal as last week working in the church building. Some of the media crew and I had been working in the control room all week not only renovating, but also creating a space for all of the online programming we are planning. Despite being busy all week, I couldn't help but feel the building's silence. Once a bustling center for small groups, rehearsals, and meetings, now only housed Kitty, myself, and a few other pastoral staff. Frankly, it felt weird. We prepared for this. We knew on Sabbath it would be an empty house. We knew we would have challenges reaching you, our forever family, through purely online interaction. It was unprecedented but we trusted that the Holy Spirit would help fill the gap from not being in our church building. And wow, did He come through.
We had record breaking views on all of our streams, comments flowing, interactions between our members were constant and positive. Elevate had a zoom conference together with its online programming! It was an incredible blessing to see that you had not lost connection to your forever family. And to add the icing on the cake, our food bank afterwards saw record numbers of people despite the virus outbreak. Our volunteers worked hard and served more than ever before!
I had an immense mental shift after this Sabbath. This pandemic, as life-altering as it can be, has created an opportunity, for me especially, to view the church as something entirely different - it is truly the spirit of Christ, our bond as a heavenly family, and the responsibility we have to keep alive what we believe for our families and those around us. Our God is stronger than brick and mortar, than our own limited view of His influence, and even stronger than this pandemic!
Deuteronomy 31:8 says, " The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Pastor Winegardner mentioned in a video last week that we have arrived at an unprecedented point in our history. We are unsure of what is ahead. But the God we serve, proved by the verse above, has gone before us. This is not unprecedented for Him. Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." More than ever before, our own understanding is vastly insufficient. If we cling to these promises, our church, our forever family, will come out stronger than ever before.
Peace and Love,