Following Government advice and instructions from HQ, the decision has been made to close public meeting spaces as a precaution and a safety measure for the time being. Elim HQ will reassess this decision as we approach Easter.
We begin a new journey this week of learning to do church outside of a building. The priority for me is that we continue to operate as much as we can as a church family. We will use technology and deal with the challenges that brings as we go.
All public meetings have ceased for 4 weeks but there are alternatives listed below.
SUNDAY SERVICE - We will LIVESTREAM a service on Facebook at 11am. Due to the new technology and circumstances it will be a little bit shorter than usual but will give us an opportunity to worship and pray together and to encounter God in a time when we need His presence.
I’m sure we will face technology difficulties and we will overcome them. Its important that as many of you as possible meet together in this way. We cannot physically meet but we can encounter God together.
TUESDAY – FOODBANK. We are closing Fridays for now and changing how we operate Tuesdays. No tea/coffee and toast and communal space for the time being but we desperately need donations. Drop them in Tuesday or at Morrisons in the Green.
WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY HOUSE-GROUPS – We are setting up Zoom which is a free video conferencing app. There are limitations on it but we’ll figure it out as we go. See John for details on Thursday, see me for Wednesday.
We will be setting up prayer meetings as well next week.
As a church we have a number of concerns: chiefly, isolation and fear. I know we can be in fear sometimes especially as isolation kicks in but I want you to know we have an unprecedented opportunity to go back to basics, to Love God, and to Love People and to really see church operating outside the walls.
We love God when we:
Read the Word. Read Psalm 18, 28, 46, 73, 91. Isaiah 41:10, 31. Don’t Bible Study, encourage one another to encounter God through this amazing book.
Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray alone to start your day, pray with your wife/husband/partner/friend/colleague/neighbour. Offer hope to the lost and the broken. We will be setting up a pray meeting by Zoom soon.
Worship. Please try to tune into Facebook live on Sunday for the service. In our togetherness we banish fear and isolation. We worship and God comes.
We love People when we:
Fellowship together. We can’t meet physically but we can phone/zoom/skype/whatsapp etc etc. Use this time to reconnect, to pray off old resentments and to come together like never before. Connect with people. Offer to pray together over the phone. Drop stuff off if needed. Consider those on zero hour contracts. This crisis will surely show up the number one quality for being known as a Christian. Our love for one another.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
**MEETING** - Please encourage everyone you know in church to get on the church face-book page, ready for Sunday.
GIVING - Giving is part of our worship. As we face this unprecedented time, this is bound to have a considerable impact on the finances of the church as nearly all our income is from offerings.
I want to thank those of you who already give via direct debit or bank transfer. If you don’t normally give this way please consider setting up a standing order.
We are also setting up a new facility to give via smartphone called GIVT. This will be live next week once I have received the registration details.
Please pray that we can survive financially as a church. We know that prayer changes things. We know that the greatest weapon in our hands, the greatest thing we can do, the greatest contribution we can make at this moment, is to firstly pray.
Philippians 4:6 tells us: 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Its common to worry at a time like this. Many of us will be worried sick but never fear that that God doesn't love us or that He won't come through for us in our time of need. We need to learn to accept the reality of His love for us, so that our fears do not control us.
1 John 4:18 says that ‘perfect love casts out fear’. 1 John 4:16 points out that we should be conscious of God's love. It needs to be more than just a biblical fact for us…we need to experience it daily.
Keep a journal, share answers to prayer with friends, encourage them, focus on the love of God, because perfect love casts out fear.
We can also fear that our needs won't be met—that God won't come through for us in time.
We face unprecedented worries but when we experience God’s love daily we grow in confidence. Surely the God who loves us like this will come to our rescue! In fact, Hebrews 13:5-6 among many other verses tells us He will.
God is for you. He is not against you. satan is against you, but He that lives in You (The Spirit of Christ) is greater than he that is in the world.
Romans 8:38-39, which I pray will comfort you right now, says:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As long as you refuse to let anything separate you from God's love, you will have the victory.
Stay connected, see you Sunday on Facebook!