I felt compelled to share with our church family at Gateway in South Austin.
Like many other pastors, we are a church with people who are eager to come back on a Sunday and many, many more who think it way too soon to even talk about the idea.
This is a complicated situation as some are struggling with loneliness, anxiety, and depression and live alone. Some folks have been working through this entire pandemic because they had to do so. Others are fine as they are – living with their family and able to work from home.
We choose to be a church for both groups and everyone in between.
I hope you and those you love are safe and well during this challenging season.
I know some of you have lost businesses or lost jobs or have even lost loved ones. We want to continue to serve you, pray with you, and help you in any way we can. If that is you and one of our pastors hasn’t contacted you, just let one of us on staff know your situation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of us have been some of the fortunate ones who have not lost our jobs and have been able to work from home or have stayed safe working on the front lines. And for that we are incredibly grateful. I keep thinking of what Jesus said: “to him much is given much is expected.” Even still you have blown away expectations.
- Some of you have given more financially knowing that others in our church family cannot give right now.
- Some of you have brought groceries to our food pantry which up to now has served almost 200 families which is about 700 individuals.
- Some of you have used this time to serve with us even more than you have in the past.
- Some of you even started a What’s After Life group for your friends and family and co-workers.
- Some of you have been investing in your kids spiritually like never before.
- Some of you signed up to give blood at our blood drive so that all spots are taken!
- Some of you have been reaching out to care for your neighbors and extended family.
Thank you for demonstrating what it means to follow Jesus during this time.
At the same time, if you’re anything like me in the midst of some really sweet times with your family, there have also been tensions. Not only tension at home, but all around us – people are even more easily angered. Have you noticed?
After the What’s After Life series Carlos Ortiz, and I will be teaching a two week series called “What Now?” followed by a series where Carlos, Kenny Green and I will be dealing with overcoming anger and impatience called Fast and Furious. What if we can take some of the best aspects of this season of quarantine and make them a normal part of our life? What if we don’t have to move around so fast and so furious?
But I want to invite you into something this week. Would you join us in praying for wisdom? Our government has given guidelines that don’t always seem to match from the city to the county to the state to the federal level. We are taking their precautions seriously and we are reading articles and we’re looking at the science and the data and the curves to determine when it makes sense to have services on Sundays for those who feel comfortable.
It’s important to know that we will always be meeting online at GatewayChurch.com. That may be where you join with us each week for the foreseeable future, and that is absolutely ok. Moving forward there will be ways to serve, connect, and grow online from your home. So take advantage of that!
We certainly want to listen to the wisdom that comes from the government and from scientists, and ultimately what we want is to be led by God in knowing what he wants for us.
Just ask God to guide us as we want to be a church for those who don’t feel comfortable coming back on Sundays and a church for those who need to come back on Sundays. We want to be a church where you can “come as you are” and “stay where you are.”
We have never believed that Gateway was just a Sunday service. We are Gateway – representing Jesus all around us in our neighborhoods, and our workplaces, and in our city!
Even still, gathering together on a Sunday allows us to connect with God and each other in a way that is life-giving and important, and when we do feel it is safe to meet again together, it won’t be the same. It can’t be. We will have fewer chairs in the room and possibly even needing people to register ahead of time. We will be taking precautions like hand sanitizers, social distancing, wearing masks, among many other precautions.
So whatever we do, we want to do so with God guiding us.
So pray with us this week and if you can join us online at 6 PM Wednesday for a time of worship and prayer, we would love to have you. You can find the details at our Gateway South Facebook group page online. We really believe that as a unified group of people in prayer, we will find the wisdom from heaven. James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
So let’s be a people who represent Jesus well wherever we go and however he leads in a world that needs his hope, love, and faith more than ever.