Here’s a few updates for us all as we’re moving into a very special weekend:
First – we have Good Friday and Easter! Unfortunately we won’t be meeting in person, but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be worshipping our God together for who Jesus is and what He has done through His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.
These days are very special, not only because of what we remember on them, but because it’s one of those times during the year when people who are not Christians, or who do not normally go to church, are willing to go and hear the good news.
Since we aren’t meeting in person, we’re asking that you would pray about who you can invite to listen in with us. Just like the last two Sundays, the worship service will be streamed through Youtube Live and Facebook Live, as well as directly on our website. Feel free to share the links through your social media, but also think about who you could personally invite to listen.
Second – it’s been a few weeks now since our communities season officially ended, just for a small break. Those groups will be up and running again starting the week of April 26th.
If you haven’t tried joining a group yet, now is a great time to check them out. You can request more information or ask to join and the leader of that group will get back to you directly. See our groups here: https://revivenj.churchcenter.com/groups
While the lockdown continues, Revive is purchasing a business account through Zoom for group leaders so they will be able to host their meeting digitally for as long as they would normally meet.
Third – we’ve added a new page to our website, which is listed in the menu at the top of the page, that says, “Need Help?”
This is how we will be managing prayer requests, requests for counseling, requests for financial assistance, and anything else we might be able to do. If there’s anything we might be able to help you with, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
You can find the page directly by clicking here: https://revivenj.org/need-help/
I’m continuing to pray for you all, and can’t wait until we can meet together again.
here are your Friday updates, we’ll be doing this every Friday while we remain on lockdown, and I’ll also do a Facebook live video going over this stuff at 6:30, so if you have any questions, definitely plan to watch then and I can answer during the video.
Today also started Friday devotionals, those will be posted early Friday mornings on our website and through Facebook, I hope they can help encourage you.
This coming week we are also starting Wednesday night prayer meetings. This coming Wednesday Dorrel will lead us in a short time of prayer, things we can focus on to pray for as a church, and that will also be through Facebook.
This Sunday will be similar to last, but we’ll have some worship as well. So Dorrel will start us off with worship at 10:00, and then we’ll start another video for the sermon directly after.
We’ve also invested in a system that will allow us to stream live simultaneously to both Facebook and Youtube, which I hope will be ready for the following Sunday (this will allow us to play a live video directly on our website, and for anyone who has a smart TV, you can watch live through the Youtube app there). Some of the equipment is back-ordered, and I’ll need some help figuring out how to set it up.
So make sure you like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Youtube channel
As far as things we’re doing to be a help to people in the middle of this shutdown, we want to be good neighbors by doing everything we can to avoid becoming sick and spreading it to others, but we also recognize the stress and pain of being cut off from others, so here are a few things we’re working on:
- A resource with ideas for at-home activities, besides watching the new or scrolling through social media
- A Revive Netflix Party, a new feature they have rolled out that will allow us to watch the same thing at the same time, with a group chat. We’ll try our first Netflix Party this coming Tuesday night at 6:30, and we’ll conduct a poll to vote on what to watch – find out how Netflix Party works here: https://www.netflixparty.com
- We are also rolling out a “Love Your Neighbor” Initiative. At the following link you’ll find a PDF you can print, fill out, and drop off at your neighbors’ homes with different ways you are offering to help them. It’s a great way to both demonstrate and point to the love of Jesus, and the hope we have in Him. Pray about ten neighbors you can give the flyer to. Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vgSukJhecsfFHrNHyAhFdY9_oYejAifj/view?usp=sharing
Finally, just a note about a few events that were upcoming, but may have to be postponed:
Good Friday and Easter – we may have to celebrate the important events we remember on these days online, although by then we should be able to stream to Youtube and Facebook, which means it can be on our website. Think about friends, family, and neighbors you could invite to watch, either through sharing the link or having a few people (no more than ten!) in your home.
Membership Class – membership with a local church is important, because it is a meaningful commitment that is biblical, unifying, and helps facilitate spiritual growth. This class has been postponed.
Family Dedication – this is an amazing opportunity for Christian parents to stand before the church, dedicate their children to the will of God, and ask the church for help in pointing them to Jesus. This has been postponed.
Baptism – this is a public declaration of faith and identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, which is commanded for all believers, and is an incredible opportunity to celebrate the work of God in peoples’ lives. This has been postponed.
Hope you’re all doing well, healthy and not too anxious about the Coronavirus. I just wanted to give you all a few updates.
As I’m sure you’ve seen, the Governor has banned meetings of 50 or more people, and so we are not allowed to meet again in person until the ban has been lifted. We may also look to when the schools reopen as a measure for when it is safe and wise to meet again.
This means that for now, we will continue live streaming worship on Sundays. This week will be on Facebook Life again, although I’m hopeful the following week to be able to stream on our website as well. I, and a few others in the church, are looking into options for cameras, microphones, and a system for streaming.
It is also possible we may not be able to gather together for Good Friday and Easter (I’m praying we can!). If this is the case, Dorrel and I will work on how we can celebrate those important days together, while still being apart.
While social distancing is still in effect, on Fridays I will be sharing a short devotional thought from the Psalms that relates to the current issues we are facing with the Coronavirus (isolation, anxiety, etc.), updating you all on what we are doing in the church, giving us a focus to pray for together, and an idea about how you can safely, and practically, love and serve your neighbors.
Finally, we are a very young church (5 months old!) and we have a small staff, and not many resources to offer. However, our mother church, Emergence (I call them mom), is publishing some great, daily resources for as long as the ban remains in effect, and thankfully these resources are available for everyone. You can find them daily on their Facebook and Youtube channels, whichever is easiest for you.
I’m praying for you all. We serve a God who is sovereign; He is ruling when things are peaceful and when the world is chaotic. We can trust Him.
For now, I’ll leave you with a quote the Italian Prime Minister used in a recent speech: “Let’s remain distant today so we can hug with more warmth and run faster tomorrow.”
Original Update: 3/13/20
just wanted to reach out with an update on what we’re doing in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The two main responses I’ve seen are people who think the whole world is overreacting, and people in full-blown panic mode. I’m not a doctor (clearly) so I’ve been paying attention to recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and the State.
In light of recent developments and recommendations, we are canceling this week’s service (Sunday, March 15th).
Truthfully, I hate to cancel service. It’s what I look forward to all week. Being able to gather with other believers, and having people who are new to the church invited out to hear the good news about Jesus, it’s an amazing gift. But there are people in the church who are in high-risk categories. And even for those who aren’t, we all know and love people who are.
Instead I’ll figure out how to do Facebook Live (pray for me) and preach alone at my home, which will be great and not awkward at all. Although we don’t have the technology to stream on our website (it exists, we’re just poor), thankfully there’s a free version so we can still worship together under the Word of God.
If you don’t have a Facebook account, maybe you could go to a friend’s house to watch and worship together.
Because God is a much better planner than I am, this week’s sermon is all about division, how sin separates us from one another and God, and yet how in Jesus we can still be brought near. If you have family or friends you think might need to hear something like this, invite them to listen with you.
I hope this will be the only week we have to cancel meeting in person, time will tell. But we’ll send out news about any updates on our website and through social media.
Remember, although this disease is a very real reason for concern, in Christ we also have a much more real reason for hope.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 ESV
Let’s pray to the One who has overcome the world to bring healing and peace.