We live in some strange and tumultuous times…what we are seeing now across America and around the world has never before been witnessed and will be a turning point in our history and one that will be studied and talked about for generations to come.
I personally believe that we, the church have a wonderful opportunity to be a grace and a guiding strength and force to a world that is being literally rocked by the spirit of fear. Let me make it very clear…while we are certainly being cautious in all that we do, we WILL NOT be a people of fear or dread. I stand on the word of Psalm 91…that we are delivered from the snares of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. We will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, or of the destruction that lies waste at noonday. The Lord is our dwelling place, He is the Most High, who is our refuge and no evil will be allowed to befall us, nor any plague allowed near us.
I’m sending you this video because I want to be very clear about our position of faith and leadership during this crisis. I can share with you my personal conviction regarding the issues that are before us. With all of my heart, I believe that this will ultimately be short-lived. There are several national prophets that I respect and the word of the Lord through them is that this is already beginning to take a turn towards resolve.
For the next few weeks, it may mean that things look a little different and how we do what we do as a congregation may look different. It doesn’t change our commitment to lead well, to love well, and to passionately pursue the heart of God.
The “why” of who we are will not look different at all…we will continue to place a high value on being a blessing to the families of our church, to reach out to our community and most importantly to be a people and family of faith unto the Lord, who pursue Him in our worship and in our walk.
Around the country, the government is putting restrictions on the number of people who can gather at one time. May God give us the wisdom that we need both locally and nationally to see the tide completely turned on this unexpected intrusion into our lives. We didn’t anticipate this, we didn’t ask for this, but we will rise up to the moment, we will step out in faith, boldness, courage, and wisdom to do the right thing that honors God and brings Him glory through us, His people.
If we are not governmentally restricted, we will continue to hold our regular services. Having said that, we will maintain the diligence in ensuring that our campus is safe and our gatherings are protected. We have already initiated protective measures around the campus and in our children’s and youth ministries to make sure that all risks are minimalized.
I would ask that if you are currently sick, please refrain from attending any of our public services. We want to afford you the opportunity to get better while at the same time, protecting those that will gather.
Even if you’re not sick, but you are uncomfortable with a public gathering, please feel safe and comfortable to remain at home without any sense of judgment or condemnation. We want each person to be at a place of confidence in doing what they feel is best for them and their family.
As we move into the next few weeks and face whatever lies before us, we will do so knowing that God is exalted, the devil is defeated and Jesus is Lord.
For those of you that feel comfortable in attending live services in our building, we are going to establish a few healthy parameters that will keep all of us safe and confident as we continue to be a people unto the Lord and a family unto one another.
First, we will maintain our “no touching” policy. If you want to greet somebody, please do it from a distance with a smile and a wave. I know that we are hugging and loving people, and we will one day return to those affections, but for now, let’s give each other a little space. Secondly, we will continue to offer communion on a weekly basis, but it will be served to you by people who are wearing sanitized gloves. Do not reach into the basket for or tray for the bread or the juice and do not ask the attendant to break the rules and take their gloves off.
When we minister to the Lord in our tithes and offerings, we will do so by bringing our gift to the altar where there will be giving receptacles on the steps. If you are uncomfortable with that, you can always give in the designated giving stations around the campus.
We will continue to have two services and are asking that if you have children, please attend the 11:00 service if possible. Obviously, we will have a ministry for your kids in both services, but it will help with the sanitizing process between the two services if there aren’t a lot of kids in the first service.
If you aren’t planning on participating in the live congregational services, I encourage you to join us online. Right now, we are live-streaming from our Facebook platform and you can locate us at MGT New Hope.
As we walk through this time of unknowns, may I ask you to continue supporting the church with your tithes and offerings, even if you don’t attend a service. We have two different ways that you can give: one is through our “Text to Give” 309-214-9302 for the Moline campus and 309-226-5722 for the Milan Campus. The other is through our website at newhopeqc.org. We have a lot of commitments that we have made and while we certainly have reserves, we don’t want to expend them all due to something of this nature. Your faithfulness will allow us to be strong, to provide for our team and staff families and maintain the commitments that we have made to so many. Thank you for standing with us financially. On top of everything else that we are facing, we really don’t want to have to walk through those struggles as well.
Our school is on Spring Break next week and we will be making a decision in the course of time, as to whether or not we will extend the spring break. Obviously, it all depends on the outcome of the next several days. So far, every day has looked different. We are committed to doing what is safe, what is responsible and always what is required of us and the faith that we walk in. God is faithful, His word is true and is NOT a man that He should lie. His Word is true, steadfast and we have trust and confidence in who He is and what He has declared over us.
There are a lot of things that have been canceled, but let me assure you of a few things that HAVE NOT been canceled…
The power of Jesus' Name!
Loving our Neighbors
Reading the Word
God’s good promises
Laying hands on the sick
Checking on elderly friends and family
The church – however, we gather!
Those who need hope (and we are that hope)
The prayers of the righteous
Sharing our resources
Peace in the midst of chaos
Looking into the eyes of our children and loving them
Turning off the news for awhile
Reading a good book
Asking for help
Our Daily Bread
We’re gonna make it through this…we are gonna come out stronger, more faithful, tuned in to the Spirit of God and ready to continue changing the world! The devil does NOT win, he doesn’t have the last word and this virus WILL bow its knee to the authority and power of the Name of Jesus Christ.
We love you, we thank God for you and stand with you in all that God is doing in you and through you…rise up, be the church, be somebody’s answer to prayer and be somebody that God can count on during this time.
See you soon!