In the life of church planting, communication is so key. Especially in a time like we’re in – in the midst of COVID-19. I’m sure we’re all in the same boat, making decisions for our local spaces and gatherings, changing events and plans, but in the middle of all of this, we have a unique opportunity to invite those we love and lead into something the Holy Spirit is probably already doing in their lives and in the culture and community they’re in. So, I decided to write a love letter to those I love and lead:
A Love Letter
Aloha Beloved Owners,
In this time of concern and uncertainty, I can’t help but think that as followers of Jesus, in being committed to live together in the way of Jesus for the renewal of Hawaii, what will we do and whom will we be “in such a time as this”?
Power of Presence
In The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark, a sociologist, looked at what and whom Jesus followers committed to do and be in the time of the plagues of 165 and 251 A.D. in Rome. Life in the city at that time was of “disease, misery, and fear”. But, it provided a way for those committed to Jesus to commit themselves to one another and to the culture around them. Their presence mattered deeply. They chose to believe in the Presence of God, be more present with one another and present in the community and culture around them.
They imagined a better world in the coming future, but also were present in the solutions for present-day concerns and uncertainties. They so served and loved the community and culture around them, that this simple act of self-giving love, while the rest of the city fled and left the most vulnerable behind — their act of PRESENCE — demonstrated an apologetic for the world around them in a way that made nations look at the power of the Cross.
[W]hile the rest of the city fled and left the most vulnerable behind — their act of PRESENCE — demonstrated an apologetic for the world around them in a way that made nations look at the power of the Cross. ~ Eun Strawser
Presence and Peace
What will we do and whom will we be today in the midst of COVID-19?
In terms of major decisions for larger gatherings, we are in conversations with other pastors and leaders both locally and nationally to consider together what are the wisest things to do and be in order to hold both Presence and Peace of mind together for our own community and for the sake of the community and culture around us. We will honor you and do our very best to have an open dialogue and communication for decisions that will face us in the coming season. We will have open dialogue and communication for all of our guests to be able to better serve them as well.
In terms of Discipleship Core, we will continue to meet. It just will look differently for individual groups with their own individual make-ups. I cannot stress enough the importance of living together during times like these — we have the gift of so much more technological access to communication, that it would be such a waste to not participate creatively in thick community. What will we do and whom will we be? Will we be so much more mindful of touching base with one another? Phone calls, FaceTime, etc. Pray for one another and text one another what God’s been saying. Check in on one another and share resources. Reach out and ask for help if a period of community isolation is affecting your heart and mind.
A Renewing Presence
In terms of what we will do and whom we will be for the renewal of Hawaii, will we be people of faith, love and hope for those around us? Will we check in on our neighbors and co-workers to see if they are OK? Maybe there will be an opportunity for prayer, sharing of resources, and/or encouragement and hope. Will we check in on our friends and family and be a person of Presence to them? Moments such as these never forge character; it reveals it. As followers of Jesus, we should be the most hopeful in the midst of discouragement and despair; we should be the ones who actively pursue others more than anybody else; we should be the ones who extend the sense of “family” to way beyond what the world tells us to “protect your own”; we should show self-giving love over selfishness more than anyone else in our culture, being especially mindful of the most vulnerable in our society.
Moments such as these never forge character; it reveals it. ~ Eun Strawser
What will we do and whom will we be?
I love you each so deeply and so much more than you know. You have no idea the potential of Christ revealed in you, the hope of Glory, you have within you right now. I’m daily so humbled by all of you, your love for Jesus, your commitment to this rag-tag family, and your hope for those around you.
For the King and His Kingdom,
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