|This past Saturday, nearly 400 GFCers participated in ECHOing God’s love throughout our community through service. Playgrounds were pressure-washed, walkways were put in, walls were painted, and much, much more. Perhaps the most exciting thing to behold was the enthusiasm from our church in providing care packages for the Mountain View community and frontline workers (we look forward to celebrating the impact of those this coming Sunday!).
Our mission as a church is building a community to reach a community. It’s why ECHO is such a rallying point for us. Community is the only word to appear twice in that statement (other than “a”, which doesn’t really count in my opinion). Our church community is important, but the larger community in which we gather is really important, too.
And that’s why, as I announced yesterday, we’ve prayerfully decided to push pause on in-person Sunday gatherings while our local health care system is feeling over-taxed (hopefully it’s a short-lived pause, but we’ll see). This choice isn’t motivated by fear, nor by guilt (as we have not contributed to local spread of Covid-19). It’s motivated by love for the community in which we find ourselves. I’m reminded of Paul’s words…
“I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”
(1 Corinthians 10:22-24)
Paul’s vision of freedom is not as a right for me to do what I want to do, but as an opportunity to love and serve others. We are free to continue gathering (truly, no one is forcing us to push pause), but we are also free to do what we can to love and serve others, including our local health care providers, frontline workers, and those they serve. After much consideration and prayer, we believe this is a step that will help that end by negating even the small possibility of unintentionally putting a further strain on health care resources as cases are climbing locally.
As I mentioned on Sunday, a secondary reason for this decision is the diminished interest from GFCers in attending onsite. Most of our congregation simply isn’t ready to return to larger, physical gatherings at this time. And I understand that. Smaller gatherings and groups will continue to meet onsite for now. Go here for all ministry programming information.
I can’t wait to gather on Sundays again, in-person, to worship God and learn from His Word, and hopefully that happens soon. But until then, let’s keep engaging online together at 9:15 and 11am on Sundays, and let’s keep giving ourselves to the mission that God has placed before us – building a community to reach a community. It’s more important than ever.
And as we often say, the church isn’t a building, it’s us.
P.S. We know that in-person gatherings are vital for us to connect relationally and grow spiritually. This coming Sunday, you will hear more about a gathering strategy for this fall that will enable us to be in more face-to-face environments while we wait for larger in-person gatherings to return. Stay up to speed with what’s happening on our Updates page.