March 19, 2020 Update from Pastor
In consultation with staff and the elders, we are suspending in-person, on site worship services, effective this Sunday, March 22, 2020. This was a difficult decision for us, but a necessary one as this time.
In counseling obedience to the governing authorities, the Apostle Paul was in effect counseling the church, “Say yes where you can, so that when you have to say no it has greater impact.”
This currently ISN’T an Acts 5:29 thing: “We must obey God rather than man.”
This is a Romans 13:1-4 thing:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.
This is also a Philippians 2:3-4 thing:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
While some may disagree with some of the decisions that have been handed down from the government, we understand that the intent behind these decisions is for the welfare of all. Social distancing is a safety issue and not a moral compromise.
Pastor, staff and the Board of Elders considered several options for continuing onsite worship services, and we carefully looked at potential upsides and downsides of each. We believe the most prudent course at this time is to temporarily suspend on-site church services, beginning this Sunday, even more so in light of the law banning gatherings of more than 10 people in San Diego County.
We will deliver recorded “content” through Facebook live streaming or other recorded methods like YouTube for a Sunday worship experience. For those members who do not have access to the internet, we will deliver a recorded version of the message if you request it. The delivery methods may need to be adjusted but our desire is to make the most “normal” church experience for people in what are definitely NOT normal times.
Although Sunday church will look different in the near future, we still need your regular offerings to continue the work of the church.
To those who are giving your offerings through one of our automated options, thank you. If you are used to giving by putting your offering in the baskets at church, we have several options that you can use to continue your regular offerings to God.
- Mail your offering to the church (1695 Discovery Falls Drive Chula Vista, CA 91915)
- Request someone from the church to pick up your offering envelope and deliver them to the church
- Ask one of our staff or volunteers to help you set up one of our automatic giving options
In the days and weeks ahead, we will also continue to explore that crucial question: HOW CAN WE CONTINUE TO BE THE CHURCH, WHEN WE ARE NOT ABLE TO GATHER AS CHURCH AS WE ARE USED TO DOING???
We have a calling right now to be the church, not just for ourselves but for others. The church throughout history has risen to the occasion to love our neighbors as ourselves and to do for the least of these as we would do for Christ himself. We can look to the examples of Christians during the Antonine Plague, the Plague of Cyprian, even the Black Death, and Ebola. Christians have a 2,000 year history of caring for our neighbors. That is more important than ever in these stressful times.
To BE the church, in a times when church looks different than normal, and to come up with specific actions that connect with those ideas, we are asking questions such as these:
- How do we still give that comfort and normalcy to those in our congregation who will feel the emotional pain of this the most?
- How can we create a sense of fellowship and connection when we are not meeting physically as a larger group?
- How do we care for those most at risk, and those who cannot get supplies they need?
- How do we care for our neighbors who otherwise are not connected to the church, and love them as if they were Christ?
As we’ve begun thinking and praying about this, we’ve already started getting some ideas. Pray through these questions with us, and hopefully you’ll have some ideas, too. Share them with us.
These are challenging times. But working and praying together, with love and understanding and a shared sense of mission and purpose, we will get through this, not because we are so great, but because God is.
In closing this letter, I would remind you of some of the points in made in last Sunday’s message about what to do in times of fear and uncertainty.
- Remember the big picture. [ John 16:33(NIV) In this world you will have trouble. But FEAR NOT, for I have overcome the world.]
- Trust God, but don’t tempt God.
- Remember that you are not alone. [ Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.]
- Pray!!! [Jeremiah 29:12 (NLT) In those days when you pray, I will listen.]
- Trust in God. [Psalm 56:3 (NIV) When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.]