Let's not waste this pandemic. Read on to see how Whitewater is going to be better for it, because we're being forced to stay flexible and try innovative things.
We're going to be better for this...
Andy Stanley (one of my favorite pastors) said it well, "The good thing about fear is it generally causes people to look up. Part of the challenge for all of us in church leadership is to figure out how to continue to be missional, how to continue to be on task of making disciples, not just biding our time, not just treading water, not just waiting for things to get back to normal. One of the things I've told our church from the very beginning is we are going to be better for this. There are things that we're going to learn that we're going to take forward. In fact, there are already things we've learned that we're taking forward, but we are going to be better for this. But the only way to be better for this is to embrace this as the new normal. Otherwise, we're just going to sit on our hands and wait for things to get back to normal. A pandemic is a terrible thing to waste. All tragedy is a terrible thing to waste. So we want to be better for it. And I think a lot of churches are going to be better for it because we're forced to try innovative things." (Read full article)
It is easy to lose heart and perspective right now, but we will be better from this.
We're seeing that with the Whitewater Crossing Church in multiple ways. Ron emailed me this week, "David, thank you so much for the inspiration you offer to all. With the COVID, I think I have grown closer to God. A big part of that is not being in church. I want to thank you and the Church family, and mostly God. Be blessed."
Whether we are on-site or online, we are still on mission!
Safety guidelines and responsibility to protect
As the Covid19 infection rate continues to increase in our area, Governor DeWine has further clarified the safety guidelines for businesses and organizations - including churches. Each of us have a heightened responsibility to protect those around us. I was reminded of this recently when Jon Tisevich and I had a breakfast meeting last week with someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus. We all wore masks at the meeting, (and Jon/I are feeling fine right now), but to protect ourselves and others, Jon and I will be in self-quarantine for 14 days until July 23.
This Sunday's Outdoor Service will continue as planned at 10am, although we will postpone doing All-In baptisms till August 9, so more people can participate. We are also now complying with the guideline from The Ohio Department of Health which requires masks be worn while inside a building that is not a residence. Masks are primarily for the protection of those around you and is an excellent way for us to 'love our neighbor as ourselves.'
Given these new guidelines and Covid spikes, our current plan is to keep all our Sunday services outdoors for the foreseeable future and not host an indoor gathering on July 26. We want to be sure the experience is the best it can be, especially for those who are not yet here. Of course, things may change so stay flexible as we continue to navigate this rapidly changing environment. Whether we are outdoors or online, we are still on mission!
While I know we are all weary of masks and the continuing uncertainty, we need to view this as an opportunity to submit, love, and protect each other as well as our reputation as Christ-filled disciples. This is not the time to argue about masks (read To Mask or Not to Mask). Being mildly inconvenienced by wearing a mask seems like a pretty minor deal when Jesus tells us to lay down our lives for others.
Toward the end of his life, the apostle Paul (who had seen it all!) said this in 2 Timothy - 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.' As we look back in history (and eternity), I believe we will view 2020 as a fight of faith; a fight for the soul of our nation, but more importantly, a battle for the soul of His church and mission. We are so much more than a building, we are a body being sent as hope to help a world who may be more open now than ever before to Jesus. Let's finish this race and keep the faith. We are going to be better for this.
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