Updated: Apr 6, 2020
“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
Dear Castleview Family,
It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago, life was proceeding as normal.
Exactly one week before the president declared a national emergency, the church staff heard a speaker press in on this reality: In order to prioritize certain things, we must de-prioritize other things. Almost without warning, our calendars have freed up. Work commutes, school trips, sporting events, social gatherings––cancelled. This is a divinely given opportunity to re-focus and re-prioritize.
How will we spend our time? How are we learning to number our days, to spend our time wisely, giving ourselves to things that matter into eternity?
This crisis is forcing the staff and elders to take stock of our roles and priorities. Here are some of our thoughts and answers to some questions about this unique time.
When will we gather again as a church?
As you might guess, we don’t know. As we follow the lead of our governing authorities, it seems that we are facing multiple weeks before it would be wise and loving to assemble the entire church. You’ll receive more information tomorrow in the weekly email about what Sunday mornings will look like during our hiatus.
What should the elders prioritize during this time?
Prayer. In Acts 6, the apostles set the model for church leaders: be devoted to the ministry of the Word and to prayer. Most pastors are not tempted to stop teaching and preaching the Word, but it’s easy to overlook the ministry of prayer.
The elders have scheduled weekly prayer conference calls to give extra time for prayer.
Shepherding As public shepherding is temporarily diminished, personal shepherding can expand. Elders are intentionally increasing the time allotted for individual contact with members. As we become aware of practical needs, we are utilizing deacons and other members who are coordinating our member care.
What is my job as a church member during this time?
Word and Prayer Don’t let this pandemic entrench bad habits. You may feel the pull to constantly search out the latest news. This is exhausting, so you might then respond by overindulging entertainment. Increased screen dependence will bear bad fruit even after things settle down.
Instead, if your life has slowed down at all, take advantage of the time to pursue deeper communion with Jesus Christ. (I’m preaching to myself here!)
The best thing you can give your church family is your own growth in sanctification. As rhythms are disrupted and we spend more time with roommates or family members, new tensions and conflicts can arise. What we need most is God and his grace. Turn to him in his Word and in prayer.
Bear others’ burdens Even as we practice social distancing out of love for neighbor, we need to stay relationally connected. Reach out to fellow members via phone and ask them how you can pray for them and help them.
Share your burdens Asking for help can be more difficult than offering to help, but it’s so important. We are called by God to bear each other’s burdens. But we can only bear what we know.
If you have immediate needs, please, reach out to fellow members. Ask for prayer and ask for help. We’ve had several members offer to help anyone who needs it. Don’t hold back from making your needs known. Don’t keep your fellow members from serving as they are called to do!
Reach out to elders for prayer and counsel. Let us know of any benevolence needs. Your church family is here for you.
Brothers and sisters, as the world around us is in upheaval, stay grounded in Christ. Stay faithful today. Depend on God and the church family he’s given you. Rest well.