So Corona has kind of changed everything – right? But we are persevering and I hope you are, too. Later tonight, we have an on-line gathering for prayer and to encourage one another for missional living. It’s not the same as sitting at a table or in a living room, but it works for conversation. We don’t try to sing, and when we try to pray as a group, it’s a bit more awkward. But we make it. We have a long standing habit of closing with the Lord’s prayer together. It’s pretty out of sync, but we make it. And it is good to “see” one another. We haven’t tried communion yet. We don’t have plans for that tonight, but for our next gathering we will give it a shot.
Our discipleship gatherings are actually doing pretty well in terms of participation. It seems to be more consistently attended. It feels more leader led – conversation around the group happens less – and while side conversations can be a distraction to the rest of the group, I find them to be generally healthy. It means people are connecting, and new ideas and insights can be brought in to the conversation. That doesn’t happen easily on line, so our conversations are less enriched. However, it is a gift to be able to connect this way. We are grateful!
Sunday worship has been interesting. We’ve been sending out morning messages and have been posting them on-line. So far, it’s just been me, but next week, Sara Taber will bring the message. This is something that we probably wouldn’t have done apart from the Corona pandemic. But the technology is affordable and the internet makes it easy. As our goal is to invite, encourage, and equip people for life on mission, posting on-line is creating a resource that can be tapped over and over again. We’re keeping them short and to the point – fifteen minutes or less. We’d appreciate your prayers for this work.
Lastly, how do you do mission in the neighborhood? In Florida, there’s a rule that limits gatherings to 10, and of course everyone is supposed to be socially distanced. My friend Gregg, who leads a church called Champions Way, told me he organized an Easter worship service in his cul-de-sac. Everyone on the cul-de-sac stayed in their own yard but they pulled off and Easter worship service. Inspired by that, we have been inviting two families to join us in our cul de sac every Sunday. (If you count the dogs, we had thirteen in attendance today.) It’s a good spot for this. Ours is the only house on the cul de sac, so there is plenty of space and it’s out in public, but we aren’t interrupted by cars backing up. The weather has been great. We enjoy shade from our front yard oak tree. I bring my guitar and we sing a bit. I preach a short message based loosely what is posted on the video message. I contextualize it a little for our cul-de-sac congregation. It’s conversational. (Is that worship? Is that “up”?) After worship, we hang out and visit. It’s really nice to be with people, even in that small gathering. Last week, after worship, we all pitched in to help a neighbor with yard work. (Was that mission? Was that “out”?) This week, we talked about some of the challenges of discipling our kids, of raising them in the faith. (Were we encouraging one another? Investing in one another? Was that “in”?) Whenever you see Up-In-and-Out, you are seeing the church. And it hasn’t been hard.
What’s going on where you are? How are you doing life on mission during Corona. By the way, if you are on the front lines of this pandemic, thank you! One of our asides this morning was to remember where our help comes from (Psalm 121). May the Lord be your help, and we are grateful that he is working through you to help. You are in our prayers. And we are also praying that God would stop this disease.
May the Lord be with you!