After conferring with our Elders, other local Pastors, and reading public health recommendations, Journey Church has chosen to cancel worship services and all ministry at the church for the foreseeable future. This includes Brunch and Bible Study, Community Groups, Membership Matters, Middle School Youth Group and the Meaning of Marriage Seminar. Instead of gathering for Sunday Morning Worship we will provide a devotional for you to use individually or with your family. The Elders of Journey Church encourage you to set apart time to worship the Lord on the Lord’s Day.
The decision to cancel Sunday’s service was difficult. We face a complex and fast-changing situation that poses a challenge in balancing our biblical commands to gather and proclaim the Gospel while also loving our neighbor. The latest health recommendation to avoid large gatherings is a proactive step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 which we are inclined to honor for the time being. While we are not obligated to do so, the love of Christ compels us to be cautious and do the right thing to help protect the health and safety of our Journey Church family as well as our greater community at large. There are individuals within our church body who are at higher risk for serious medical conditions should they contract COVID-19. We need to be sensitive to their concerns and health as we respond in this time.
Until we gather again, here are some considerations for us in the meantime.
Fear not. That command is repeated over and over in Scripture. Ultimately, we have nothing to fear. If we get sick, we can fellowship with Christ in our sufferings (Phil 3:10). If we die, we will be immediately present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). Living by faith that God will work all things for our good (even lost health or lost income) is one way we glorify God and give witness to his Sovereign power, so fear not! Furthermore, not giving into fear is another way we can love our neighbors. Viruses can harm and kill but so can fear and citywide or nationwide panic. Panic can lead to civil, economic, and social disorder whose harmful effects can rival any disease. So, trust Jesus and “fear not!”
Love your neighbor. The COVID-19 virus is very infectious, so we can wash our hands rigorously. We can stay at home or keep our kids at home if they have the symptoms of COVID-19. Some of our members are rightfully worried and are staying home, due to age or illness. So we can offer to get their groceries, bring them a meal or give them a call to encourage them. Some of our members are struggling with irrational fears (we all do at times), so we can share with them an encouraging verse. We can avoid Facebook posts that make light of their fears. If you are healthy, ask ‘What other needs can I meet?’ Christians have a long track record of fearlessly (but wisely) caring for the sick and caring for their cities in times of need. If you are sick or become sick, please let us know! We will pray for you and serve you.
Pray. There is so much to pray about. Pray for our medical professionals who will be on the front lines of care for those who get sick. Pray for our president, governor, mayor, and school district superintendent. They all have important decisions to make in the coming weeks. Pray for our missionaries living in countries where the border has been shut down. Pray for the Elders to have wisdom in all their decision making. Pray for God to be merciful to our city and region. Pray for the sick.
Witness. We have the only good news in the midst of this fallen world. Jesus has come to take the curse this world is under and to deliver us to a world of perfect blessing. He has done it all by His marvelous work on the Cross. In the face of death, preach the death of Christ, the triumph over the grave by the resurrection, and eternal life in the presence of God. Let’s pray that our friends and neighbors would have ears to hear that, and let’s fill our mouths, our social media accounts, and our lives with that glorious message.
We will be in regular communication in the coming days. Until we see one another again let us resist fear and pursue love, obedience, prayer, and witness.
In His sovereign hands,