our plans for church life and mission during the pandemic.
We don’t know all that the Lord is doing in this pandemic. But here’s something he told us to do:
“Be still, and know that I am God”
This is one of those famous kitchen calendar verses. But for reasons that may surprise us, it’s also an apt word for these strange times.
The psalmist begins with comfort for the greatest imaginable natural crisis: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea” (46:1, 2). But he continues with a word of rebuke to a world brimming with human-made trouble, of raging nations, tottering kingdoms, chariots, and bows. These words, “Be still…” are that rebuke. The Lord is saying, “Halt! I am God.” Surely one of the things that our Lord is teaching us in this pandemic is to stop, to be still, and to recognize that he is God. One of our curious comforts is that our God is able to shut this world down in a moment.
This is the command and comfort our elders have in mind for our church during this season. Let us be, for a time, still together—a fitting play-on-words while we are apart.
STILL AT HOME?
Restrictions are loosening in our region, but most of us are still spending a lot more time at home these days. Some of us are working from home, others are schooling from home. Some of us are especially lonely. This new season has brought new challenges for most of us. Here are three points of advice for the times:
Let us be still in our speaking. I’m thinking here not only of what we say out loud, but what we say to ourselves in our own heads. Let us avoid protesting or speaking vainly, or rashly during this time. Better to pick up the Psalms and to pray.
Let us be still in our movement. That is, not busying ourselves to put the crisis out of our minds, or as if we could do something ultimately to fix it. Entertainment and internet browsing is a form of passive activity. Let’s watch out for that too. Let’s not miss the opportunity to be bored in order the we might gain some wisdom in all of this.
Let us be still in our hearts. Let us be still inwardly that we might know the God of heaven better during this trouble we’re having on earth. If the Lord has given you family, pray together. Pray longer prayers, pray silently, pray daily. If that’s new for you, this is a great time to start.
Does this mean we halt our life and mission together? No. This stillness is not idle. It issues in worship and mission. God’s next words to us are a promise, “I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!” (46:10). This promise is one we lay hold of together. God is our refuge and strength, and this psalm is comfort on our lips to one another. Here are our (simple) plans for worship, one-anothering, and mission during the pandemic.
In Worship. Join us on site on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. Read more about our plans for gathering and our livestream at Heritage Resume. In addition, as you’re available, join us on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. for a Zoom prayer meeting. Look for an email on Thursday mornings with a link.
In Community. Our care structure is built for all seasons. Shepherding Groups will continue meeting on their normal cadence, each first and third week through Zoom or whatever platform your group adopts. Elders, Deacons, and Shepherding Group leaders will have their own Zoom Shepherding Sync meeting on the fourth Sunday of each month.
In the Great Commission. Let us each make the most of this time for the gospel. New doors are already being opened as you walk your neighborhoods, serve with co-workers, and meet the medical needs of people in harm’s way. Let us pray that “God may open to us a door for the word” and that we may speak with boldness and clarity as we ought (Col. 4:2-4; Eph. 6:18-20)
OTHER UPDATES AND INFO
Giving. We aren’t passing the plate, but we remain partners in the gospel. Please give faithfully as the Lord provides. You can give online, by mail, or you can bring your gift to the church office during regular office hours.
Church Directory. Use the church directory, available online or through the Instant Church Directory app (apple, android). This will be a season of significant upheaval in the lives of our brothers and sisters. Let’s be attentive to one another and intentional in connecting and praying.
Communication. Our Friday Life in the Body email will remain a main vehicle for church life information. For coronavirus related updates, visit our coronavirus updates page. Pastor Trent will periodically write at his blog, “Reflections from the Study.” You may also find some communication on our Facebook page.
Children. Parents, look out for an email each week from Kevin Delp. In this email he shares resources for families and a video Bible lesson along with an activity worksheet. As an example, here’s Kevin’s Easter lesson. You can contact Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students. We are implementing new ways to connect with students that we believe will serve them well in these days. For example, we are offering a 30-minute Principles of Bible Study (PBS) class on Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m. We are also connecting with our students in other ways. If you wish to learn more about our PBS class or other opportunities for your students to connect, you can contact Dan Cruver at email@example.com.
Office Hours. During this time, most of our staff will be studying and communicating from home. Heritage will maintain our regular office hours, Monday–Friday of 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. as we are available. If there are any changes we will notify you by email and update this page. Staff are always available by email, available through the church directory.
Contact. If you need to contact the church office, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Elders, deacons, and staff are available by email as well, also available through the church directory.