Pastor’s Friday Comments (01.29.2021)

As I have noted a couple of times before since we suspended indoor worship in April, it is difficult to get a handle on how many members of our church family are engaging in worship each Sunday. My biggest concern related to this is the inability to know who has “dropped out,” no longer connecting with the family, for whatever reason.

But I have to say that, since we started worshiping in the parking lot beginning in October, I have been blown away by your level of participation in congregational life. If we can make an educated guess based on the number of views of the virtual material as to how many of you are worshiping at home and add that to those who attend in person each week, we are approaching our normal, indoor level of participation. This is all the more remarkable when you think about how chilly it has been many Sunday mornings.

While we will continue to offer virtual worship material until we are all able to be inside safely, and while we completely understand that there are some who are unable to join us outside, I know that those of us who are able to see each other in person are gaining the added benefit of fellowship.

I am not naive enough to think that it is my spellbinding preaching that drags people out of bed on a blustery Sunday morning to come sit in the parking lot for an abbreviated, truncated service of worship. You’re coming to see each other. That is obvious by the amount of time you spend talking to each other (at an appropriate social distance) after the service is over. It is a happy task for those of us who lead Sunday School classes after worship to have to drag people back into the class circle because you are reluctant to finish your conversations with your friends.

My intention in this column is simply to say “thank you.” Thank you for your incredible willingness to adapt to unusual circumstances related to worship. Thank you for your expressions of appreciation for the work of the staff and volunteers to put all of this together. Thank you to those who brave the elements and thank you to those who can’t come out but who worship each week nonetheless. Thank you to those who are so faithful to join the midweek Zoom call to pray for one another. The participation of each of you is keeping our part of the body of Christ strong, even in the midst of adversity.