What's Happening: May 14
I write to you in lieu of our normal What’s Happening video format that we have been sending out during this season. I want you to be able to reference this update as often as you need. I hope you will read and receive this information so you can stay informed and fully participate with LifePoint Church in this season.
This is no normal season of life in which we find ourselves. I have been in a state of studying, evaluating and planning since Thursday, March 12, to envision our future, or simply a way forward. As I think most will agree, there is no clear path. And any path that appears seems to fade or turn just as quickly. With this in mind, I want to share with you our plans for moving forward with courage and compassion in this season.
As you are aware, this last Sunday, May 10, we launched a new Sunday gathering strategy that included two simultaneous opportunities to gather with LifePoint. First, we continued our online “Live Event” called “Sunday at Home”. Anyone can participate in this event by going to www.SundayatHome.church at 10Am on Sunday for worship, prayer and preaching. Second, we launched our new, in-person service strategy called “In the Garden”. We are hosting one worship service on LifePoint’s back lot, called “the Garden”, where anyone who is ready and able can attend in-person for worship, prayer and preaching. Both service strategies are led by the same songs, prayer and sermon.
Originally we launched this initiative as a better option than what public gathering allowances would afford us the opportunity in our facilities. Since we are already in three services, we simply do not have the resources to host multiple services and maintain proper social distancing. The outdoor service offers us a number of benefits. First, it affords us the opportunity to provide necessary and essential spiritual ministry to people, and fully accommodates guidelines. This plan allows us to see and assess how many will come over a period of time without limiting attendance or turning people away at the door. In this plan, LPC plenty of room to "welcome" people, not having to turn any away, within reason.
I want you to know what informs and drives our decisions. We are not striving to create a new normal simply to be creative or some other shallow reason. LifePoint’s core values (Relationship – Expression – Authenticity – Mission) drive all our decision-making. We remain deeply committed to your spiritual edification for growth and maturity; to lead people to be real Christ-followers in life…together. As a result of this commitment, we are not merely creating a new normal, but aiming to continue to equip the church to Be the church in all our environments and ministries.
I shared this with the staff and Elders this week: “We are one week down (with our outdoor service) and now must envision what it means, what it looks and feels like for LifePoint to be in one service in the Garden. This is not an experiment nor just a single event for fun. This is the way LifePoint gathers as the body of Christ in this season. The “new normal” of this season will be guided by three operational priorities.
1. We are outdoors together. It feels different but remain the church and must receive full priority. Certainly, there are aspects that will change. Some we will grieve the passing of, even if only temporary, while others we will welcome for a season. Children will remain in service with their parents, but we will not lighten our commitment to teach the truths of God’s Word to people of all ages. Our KidLife and StudentLife leaders are working hard to resource every family. I encourage you to stay connected and fully utilize those resources. As we gather in the Garden, let’s anticipate all God wants to do in this season. Let’s prepare every week to welcome those who are able to return in-person for the first time. Let’s seek the Lord and ask Him to work in ways that He wants to work and do all He will to do in and among us as LifePoint.
2. We are mobile together. While we are only hosting one, in-person service, we will set-up and teardown each week. And surely the service will feel different; more spread out, more distractions at times, less comforts and conveniences to serve us. This list could be endless, but so can the advantages of all God wants to do in this time. Honestly, I could not be more excited about all I believe God wants to do through LifePoint in this season. I pray you share my excitement and anticipation. I hope you are praying to this very end, every week.
3. We minister by teams together. We have no plan to simply produce an outdoor service that you attend each week. Leaders equip the body to serve. The body is responsible to minister to each other. New needs opportunities to serve are our new norm. Be ready to serve in new ways to love and minister to one another. This is the essence of what it means for the church to BE the church.
Finally, our plan is to remain in this ministry strategy through the second Sunday of August. We will make adjustments from week-to-week to continue to improve and remain faithful. We will likely offer new opportunities for ministry later into the summer. However, we believe that it is most important that we provide stability in our ministry throughout this season. And for now, this is the best way for us to be able to do that.
Know that I love you deeply, and praying for you regularly and anticipating the time when I can welcome each smiling face, shake each hand of fellowship and be together with each one of you.