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We wanted to pass along some tips for our new normal.
“We’ve been sent back to a very ancient way of doing church: the household. We are slowed. We are limited in contact with the wider gathering, but that should not limit community with God and with others. We could come out of this closer to Him and to one another. We could come out of this with new passion, fervor, connections, and tools to share the gospel, together. The church tends to be at her best when we are forced to innovate. To slow down. To see what matters most. God is showing us the essentials of “church” in this pandemic. We have the opportunity as those leading the priesthood of believers to press in more than ever before. We will be wise. We will have conversations we would never have had before. The Lord is very much on the move in our midst.” – Matt Chandler
TIPS FOR WORSHIPPING ONLINE (Provided by The Village Church)
1. Prepare: Gather everything you need before the service starts (Bibles, journals, sermon notes), and don’t forget to use the bathroom!
2. Put Aside: Take a break from distractions like phones, pets, and food.
3. Pray: As a household, ask the Holy Spirit to help everyone hear and believe.
4. Participate: Realize that you are a spiritual leader. Model worship for your kids by singing, praying, and opening God’s Word. Remind everyone that the Church is God’s family—a group of people who love and trust Jesus—not a building.
5. Practice: Discuss how you’ll apply the lessons you just learned.
“Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” – John 13:34
TIPS FOR WHEN YOU FEEL ISOLATED (Provided by Whitney Woollard)
1. Cultivate Your Devotional Life
We know that God is near to all who call on him (Psalm 145:18), that he promises never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and that nothing (not even coronavirus) can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39). So why not lean in to your time alone, rather than run from it? Take this time to treasure God’s presence through Bible reading, meditative prayer, and singing. In the midst of the corona-chaos, turn off your TV and silence your phone to spend time gazing on the beauty of the Lord (Ps. 27:4). If you struggle to stay focused because of fears or other people’s needs, simply write them down and come back to them when you’re finished. If you are dealing with fears, ask God to reveal what’s causing your fear and to help you trust him with it. If you have a house full of kids do family devotions and worship together. If you’re single, try practicing a half-day of reading, singing, and praying. Listen to an edifying podcast, read a devotional book, or play a favorite worship song and meditate on the lyrics. However it looks, ask the Lord to meet and minister to you in this space. He can transform an empty home into a glorious refuge. He’s done it for me time and time again.
2. Pray for and with Others
Prayer is a great way to stay connected during periods of isolation because it creates intimacy—both with God and also with those you’re praying for. As you pray, you become moved by people’s needs and invested in their stories. Their burdens become yours (Galatians 6:2) as you bring their needs before the Father. When we pray alongside others, it creates connections between us. After you pray for someone, send a text, email, or note sharing the specific things and Scriptures you’re praying for them. You can also call or FaceTime another believer to pray together on a weekly basis or start a group thread with close friends sharing prayer requests and updates throughout the week. It also connects us to one another and what’s happening in the world when we pray together for things outside of our personal concerns. Praying for church leaders, mission workers, the worldwide church, government leaders, and the spread of the gospel in our communities, unites us even when we are physically distant. Through periods of isolation, we must learn that prayer is some of the greatest work we’ll ever do (Colossians 4:12–13).
3. Use Technology for Good
Phone calls and video calls aren’t a long-term substitute for physical presence, but they can be a lifeline in the midst of isolation. A 10-minute chat reminds us there’s life outside these four walls, and we are still part of that life. It’s humanizing. What might this look like for you? Use video chat for your weekly discipleship or small-group meetings. Check in with your family or old friends if it’s been a while. Contact ministry partners or global workers to get an update and pray for them. If they’re able, FaceTime or call your grandparents or elderly individuals in your church or community to see how they’re doing. Let them know they’re not forgotten. Be aware of people who will feel the isolation of social distancing more acutely, like singles, those who live alone, older adults, or believers with mental illness. If you don’t know where to start, contact your church office or pastors to find out who needs spiritual and relational care, and make it a point to call them. You could even commit to checking in every week during this crisis. You don’t need anything profound to say, just ask them how they’re doing, exchange stories and updates from your lives, see if they have any prayer requests, and tell them you love them. The point is human connection, not working through an agenda. These are just a couple of ways to avoid feeling isolated while also helping others not feel isolated. Pick a few and try them out!
TIPS FOR LOOKING OUTSIDE YOURSELF DURING THIS CRISIS
1. Keep your eyes open for those in need around you. Pay attention. If you hear of a need do whatever you can to fill that need. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”- Philippians 2:4
2. Support someone or an organization that is doing something that you can’t do. For example, donate funds to the Clarksburg Mission or the Change Initiative.
3. Try to encourage someone that you notice seems depressed. Look out for signs on their social media. Take the extra step to reach out privately and encourage them.
4. Continue to do what you were doing before. If you felt like you should help in some way before this crisis, it probably is even more important to step up and support that now.
We love you, church! We hope the joy of the Lord is reigning in your life right now!