Note from Emillie 2020-05-09

This Spring is not going according to my plans. Has anyone been feeling this way? We are all experiencing loss in many ways and on my mind recently has been the loss of opportunities in ministry. I had been so encouraged through the Fall and Winter about what God was doing in our church community in focusing on our vision work and especially after the Organic Outreach Workshop. It is natural in difficult circumstances to shut down and stop doing things we had previously been working toward. However, God continues to remind me that his work doesn’t stop because of our situation. Rockford Reformed Church believes in and has invested in equipping members to work toward a lifestyle of outreach. How does outreach look in the face of an uncertainty, being home bound and having limited interaction with others? I have been praying about and wrestling with this notion. How do we turn outward and work toward our goals with Organic Outreach as individuals now?
 
We can study. We can continue to grow in our faith by focusing on God’s word. As we study the Bible more we will understand and grasp God’s love and grace for us. Study will help us to love God and people more as well as equip us to share the Gospel with confidence.
 
We can pray. We need to continue to pray for individuals and opportunities. Did you make a list of people that God has put in your path? If not, make a list of people and pray for those people. This stay-at-home experience has given many of us more time (whether we want it or not). Prayer is a very useful way to continue to work toward Organic Outreach.
 
We can connect. Technology has been an amazing tool. We have the ability to connect with individuals through email, text messages, phone calls, and even video chats such as Facetime or Zoom. We need to continue to reach out to our neighbors, friends, and family. This can be an isolating experience for people who live alone. This can be a trying time for parents working at home and educating children. This can be an uncertain time for individuals who have lost jobs or income. This can be a challenging time for people who struggle with addiction. We may not be able to do or fix anyone’s situation, but we can listen to the hurts and struggles of the people God has put in our life. We can pray with people who open up and share. We can be vulnerable, ourselves, and share our struggles and how our faith gives hope. We can share scripture to comfort. Please continue to connect with people.
 
We can be accountable. During the Organic Outreach Workshop we learned about the One Degree Rule. On a scale of one to ten, we can find ourselves as it relates to evangelism. Are you cold, hot, or somewhere in between? We can keep this idea in the forefront of our minds by assessing where we are on the temperature scale and determining how we can raise our temperature. I want to reiterate a message from the workshop: we need to evaluate our temperature based on our awareness of outreach, people, and opportunities. We should be accountable to someone in our life and discuss these ideas often. Share with a friend, a spouse or a child about how we can continue to think about outreach even when it seems difficult.
 
As Christians, we know that God is working through these circumstances for our good and that is a comfort. But do not forget that Satan is also working. He is working to sideline some of the good work that God has begun in our congregation. Through God’s power we can stay strong in this mission. “You are the salt of the Earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can not be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16