Leadership Announcement (COVID-19 UPDATE)

G’day Church,

I hope that you and your family are well. We have been praying for you in these very interesting times.The purpose of this communication is to let you know that we have made the tough decision to suspend all gatherings. This includes 9am and 10.45am services on Sunday, kids and youth ministry, and our community groups and activities. This decision was based on advice we have received from health professionals (who advised it would be wise to keep gatherings to under 15) and as you are probably aware the government has now imposed a ban on gatherings of over 100. Again I want to reiterate that we are not responding in fear, we are responding in love. Any measures we take will hopefully minimise the spread of the virus, assist our health system and hospitals to cope, and protect the most vulnerable in our community. Our congregation has a significant percentage of people in the high risk bracket and last Sunday saw a drop of 40% in our attendance. We believe strongly that we need to join with the rest of our community by playing our part in the fight against this virus.

These decisions provide for us a very unique and exciting challenge as we seek to figure out what church will look like for, well who knows, possibly up to 6 months. Over the coming days my team will be working hard to communicate with you what shape things will take and we will be working hard to give you access to resources that will encourage you during this time.

As for Sunday we will be live streaming our first ever service on Facebook and YouTube. You will be able to join us online live at 9am and if that doesn’t suit it will be available for you to watch at 10.45 or whenever you like. We will release all the details/links on how it will look in the coming days. At this stage we are working on having some worship, community announcements and Mandy is ready to bring us part 3 in our Living Well series called “Focus.” We will be encouraging you to pray and take communion together as a family or small group. This is uncharted waters for us as a church so let’s have a crack and see how it goes. We know that there is nothing better than being in the room but I would like to encourage you to try it knowing that God will be there with you and at least there will be one point in the week were we will be together even if it’s virtually. Please know we are working on ways to connect with people who will not have access.

As I was reflecting this morning we are in very interesting and exciting times. With the new restrictions, we are about to see whether we practice what we preach. We have been preaching for decades, things like the church isn’t a building or a program, it’s people! Will they be just words or will they be something that we truly believe and live out?

In 1 Thessalonians 1: 4-5 (MSG) it says, When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.

My prayer for us is that we would have Holy Spirit steel in our CONVICTIONS as we move together into these uncertain times. As I prayed I saw a flexible steel braided hose and it had very distinct, woven together steel threads that are going to bind us together but also help us to remain flexible and robust during this next season. Things like

• A continued sensitivity to the Holy Spirit; I pray that we would have “Steel Convictions”
• A commitment to the Word of God and prayer
• Mission; They can’t cancel the Great Commission, lets continue to help people find and follow Jesus while being His hands and feet
• Generosity; its super important that we are generous with our resources, that we keep buying local produce and goods, supporting local business and continuing to give to the Lord’s work here and overseas

Deuteronomy 15:7-9 (MSG) When you happen on someone who’s in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don’t look the other way pretending you don’t see him. Don’t keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don’t count the cost. Don’t listen to that selfish voice saying, “It’s almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Cancelled,” and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He’ll call God’s attention to you and your blatant sin.
10-11 Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures.

• Care for and look out for each other
• Connect in small groups

I hope these “threads” resonate with you? I pray that they will bind us together allowing us to be flexible and robust.

Lastly I want to remind you that God is on the throne. Have a read of Psalm 92 and be reminded that He is our shelter and refuge and HE is our everything. If you are struggling and need a chat feel free to call 9313 1600 to chat and pray with one of the team.

Praying God’s best for you and your family, in this together,

Rod Thom
Senior Minister