We are living in uncertain and unprecedented times. Thankfully, in his love and wisdom, God has given us both hope and precedent for times like these.
First, our hope. God has given us hope for times like this in verses such as Psalm 46:1-2, which reminds us that, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the hearts of the sea…”
It certainly seems like the “earth is giving way” or like “the sky is falling.” And while news outlets, social media, and the world at large may be panicking and giving in to fear, as Christians we can be certain that God is still in control. We must heed the call of passages like Psalm 46 and fear not. We must continue to live our lives with an eternal, godly, and grounded perspective.
Second, our precedent. God has given us precedent for how to navigate the constantly changing recommendations about social distancing. Verses such as Romans 13:1-2 teach us to, “Be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed.”
Our precedent for how to navigate as individuals and as a church is to submit ourselves to the thoughtful suggestions and recommendations of our governing officials and health professionals. This will be Hillside’s posture in the coming days, weeks, and months. There are a few helpful articles that articulate this point: Christianity Today, and New York Times.
All gatherings and events are cancelled until April 6th
At the recommendation of many government and health officials, and in consulting many other churches, we have decided that Hillside Community will be cancelling all gatherings and events until April 6th, at the earliest. This includes Sunday worship gatherings, Community Group gatherings, Kids Community and any additional events that were planned. We will keep in contact in the weeks ahead about future gatherings and events, as information becomes more clear.
Staying Connected: 3 Recommendations
1) Sunday Sermons, Facebook Live @ 10:45am.
We are working out the details of which online platform we will use, but starting this Sunday (3/22) at 10:45am we will be hosting a live-streamed sermon. Please join those at 10:45am on Sunday mornings.
2) Social Media
We’d encourage you to join Hillside’s Facebook Group. Also continue to check Hillside’s website for more information and connection. In addition to utilizing the church’s social media outlets, utilize your own to connect with friends and families from church, your neighborhood, workplaces, and around the world. While we often see too much social media as a negative, it’s an incredible blessing in a time like this. Social distancing may be a good practice to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus, but it’s not a good practice for the human soul. Use your social media outlets to stay connected to people!
3) Personal Interaction
Our church’s mission is to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ. Our vision for how to do this is by living as a family of sons/daughters who pursue God, brothers/sisters who practice his commands, and neighbors/witnesses who proclaim his gospel.
Let’s continue to fulfill our mission and live out our vision by:
- Pursuing God through practicing spiritual disciplines such as personal Bible reading, prayer, silence, solitude, rest, recreation, etc., and listening to God’s Word by live-streaming our 10:45am Sunday morning sermons.
- Practice his commands by reaching out to your brothers and sisters from Hillside (Community Group, friends, etc.) and encouraging one another through phone calls, texts, emails, FaceTime, etc. As you feel comfortable and led by the Spirit, don’t hesitate to hold small and private get-togethers, as it fits within the recommended regulations.
- Proclaim his gospel by seeking to be good neighbors and witnesses. Ask how you can help and serve those in your sphere of influence. See if any of your neighbors need groceries on your next trip.
I will personally miss gathering with you over the next few weeks. However, this uncertain and unprecedented time offers the scattered church of Jesus Christ an incredible opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. Let’s maximize this time for God’s glory, the good of our neighbors, and the advancement of God’s gospel!