I’ll get back to the posts on Discipleship in a few days, but for now my focus has been on what to do as regards church and COVID-19. I love meeting with our church family. I love that the bible tells us how essential it is to meet together, and it absolutely is, and I will miss it. But yesterday I took the decision that we would suspend all meeting together for the time being after the advice from the government and FIEC.
It is not a decision I have taken lightly and it is still one that doesn’t sit easily with me. I’ve felt the pull of the bibles command not to give up meeting together, as well as pastoral concern for many, but I’ve also been pulled by it’s call for us to respect good government. Add in the call to love others. Alongside that I have tried to read as much as I can of the research about social isolation saving lives. And have listened to pleas from frontline NHS workers who advocate social isolation as the best strategy (many of whom are socially isolating themselves from family so they can continue to treat the most vulnerable). I felt reluctantly that this was the right decision.
This is not the same as persecution, when I would still meet as an act of civil disobedience to a secular government but as an act of obedience to our true sovereign. And so on Sunday we’ll be trying our first ever live stream. It also means we’re changing sermon series. We had one last chapter of Zechariah to do, but I think given that our service will need to be family friendly we’re going to follow the passages in our Sunday School series on Easter. That way we can provide families with worksheets and hopefully some craft ideas to go along with what we do.
I’m also going to try from next week to produce daily material for a family devotion for those in isolation.
Please be praying for church leaders at this time as they lead in a new way. We will get things wrong. The technology will inevitably glitch at some point. And we are always imperfect.
Pray for those who are anxious about this in your church family, and your wider community, and why not FaceTime or Skype them to see how they are.