Note from Tim 2020-05-02

It’s spring and it’s beautiful! And we thank God that there’s some melting of the hold that the virus/quarantines have had on us. And so I want to highlight a few things that keep us making progress in life and ministry together during this time.
 
First, as we “gather” tomorrow for worship, we will be adding a couple of new opportunities for fellowship and study. At 11am each Sunday, soon after the 10am “live” worship service, I will be hosting a “Digging Deeper” Zoom gathering with a focus on further understanding and applying the text based on the sermon that we just heard. Zoom allows us to have 5 or 105 of us participating together—on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can ask questions about my sermon and I will ask you all questions so that the gospel is driven deeper and bears fruit in our lives. Laura will provide instructions and a link that will get you connected to us for that time.
 
Immediately following the 10am “live” worship service, Emillie Clayton will be hosting an opportunity for Zoom fellowship. Be patient as we give this a shot, experiment a bit with whoever comes up on the screen, and see how God works in this way toward connecting and caring for each other. The link and information will be provided.
 
Staying connected and caring for one another during this season of “shelter in place” is perhaps the greatest challenge we face and I want to encourage you toward Life Group participation—even if you have never done this before. Some of the groups are meeting weekly and it has been great. Mike Fisk is facilitating the Life Group ministry at this time and he would be glad to help you with finding a group or any questions you may have.
 
Your elders and deacons are making some connections with you—including an email update and information from our consistory. The staff and I are constantly talking about how to make the adjustments with ministry and planning for the weeks ahead. Since we started into the video recording of services/sermons 8 weeks ago, Dan Van Stensel has been using his equipment and its capabilities are limited. Even as we begin to physically gather for worship, we anticipate that we will want to continue to provide a video feed and record our services. And so we are considering the purchase of equipment that will serve us well for the years ahead.
 
The admin team is also developing a “phase-in team” that will develop a plan and guidelines as we begin to phase in various elements of our ministry. They will seek to answer questions around how we will sanitize our facilities, how do we meet under various phased-in restrictions, nursery, children’s and youth ministries, coffee stations, greeters, Sunday School, and many more questions/concerns.
 
I also strongly encourage you to use the sermon study guide that is provided each week for your personal, family, and Life Group study. It can serve well for processing and applying the gospel throughout the week.
 
Finally, in my sermon tomorrow, I make reference to sermon shame and “not-good-enoughness” as it relates to my occasional response to my sermons and particularly the video versions. But you need to know that you all have been very encouraging and supportive. I am grateful. It’s a preacher thing. And I really do—even through this crazy virus season—stay well encouraged because I believe and embrace the gospel messages that I preach every week. Jesus is more than sufficient to carry us through.
 
Grace, peace, and love to you all,
 
Pastor Tim