The last week has been one we will all remember for many years to come. Many in our community are facing the threat of illness. Many are struggling to adjust to the demands of children and jobs as they attempt to work from home; others don’t know when or if they will be able to go back to work again; still others have already lost their jobs. And, after just a few days of this, many of us are already feeling lonely, and long for community and friendship in a way that feels out of reach in this season.
As more information comes out about COVID-19 there are two things that we know:
First, we know that:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way...” - Psalm 46:1
While there is much to fear with this virus, fear doesn’t get the ultimate word: God is in control, and he loves us.
And second, we know that we are going to have to settle into a new rhythm for a while.
In light of guidelines passed down from our civic leaders, Redeemer will not host public services for the next eight weeks. In addition, we are no longer encouraging you to meet (physically) in Small Groups, as those generally exceed the “10 people or less” guidelines set out by our leaders (though many of our Small Groups are still meeting online).
Here is what we’re planning for the coming weeks.
During this time when we are not able to host public gatherings, we desire to create a context for us to still worship together—acknowledging the importance for us to continue worshiping through song, prayer, the hearing of God’s word, and communion as the family of God.
We are thankful that technology affords us the opportunity to facilitate this time together, and invite you to worship God together with our church in your homes. Because of this, every Sunday we will host “Sundays Online”.
Please join us this Sunday as we host a service live at 10 am at redeemerkansascity.org/live.
Each week we will post a liturgy guide on our blog, as well as a family discussion guide and activity to accompany the service.
In addition, we plan to host several prayer meetings throughout the week. Over the last year, our staff have begun to set aside a few hours a week in the Sanctuary at Redeemer Midtown to sing, pray, and seek God’s face together. In many ways, these Online Prayer Meetings are us opening that up to our whole body, and we’d love for you to participate by joining us online.
You can view a schedule of each week’s meetings at redeemerkansascity.org/live, as well as a link to our Vimeo account, where you can watch live. We also plan to make these available on our Facebook page, through Facebook Live.
This week, a pastor in our network said: "We may be practicing social distancing, but that isn’t the same thing as spiritual isolation." We still need ways that we can pursue community and deep discipleship together. So, our strategy is to encourage you to meet together in small clusters of 3-4 people to talk about how we are experiencing God through Scripture and in our personal lives. We also want to devote ourselves to prayer and look for creative ways to participate in God's mission during this time.
We've created a set liturgy for you to follow as you connect each week. We believe that as we engage each other in these focused conversations, we will be able to experience deep fellowship with each other while pursuing a deeper faith.
Ideally, discipleship groups will form through existing Small Groups. However, you can also grab a couple friends who aren't in your group and make a plan on how you will check in with each other weekly. It is likely that we will need to find ways to do this digitally (Google Hangouts is a great, free option), but for now gatherings of 3-4 people can still happen in person as long as we all follow the recommended CDC guidelines.
In addition, we’re eager to create numerous touch points with you throughout this season. Our pastors have plans to host online trainings and discussions throughout the next several months, with topics ranging from “What is God doing in the midst of this crisis?” to interviews with men and women in our community about how they are leading their groups, neighbors, or families through this time. You can stay up to speed on all of these by following us on Instagram or Facebook.
Many of you have emailed us to ask about ways you can step toward hospitality and mission. Right now, we think the best way you can do that is through your Small Groups, your neighborhood, or existing relationships you have in the city. We're working to identify a few local partners we can begin pointing people to immediately, but even as we do that, step toward your neighbors. We've heard of groups walking their neighborhoods, contacting elderly members in their communities to buy groceries, and raising money to help meet needs for those already facing the economic impact of this crisis.
So, serve your neighbors. Get with your Small Group or a few friends and find local organizations to partner with. And if you need ideas for how to get started, feel free to contact us.
We plan to send emails out every week or two, but to stay up to date on everything, follow us on Instagram or Facebook. If you have a friend who wants to receive these emails from us, they can sign up here.
Though we may not be gathering in person, the mission of our church continues through our groups and other ministries, the missionaries we support, and the church plants we partner with. In addition, your giving will help us care for and meet needs of members of our body and people within our communities who are already facing economic hardships related to this virus. So, for those of you who are able, now is a key time to partner with us through giving online.
If you have questions, let us know! Our staff and Elders are praying for you, and are eager to see God move in new ways.
Director of Operations
P.S. To read some specific ways our Elders are praying, check out what Orion (Lead Pastor of The Avenue) wrote this week.
We exist to cultivate communities of transformed disciples who live for the glory of God and the good of the city.
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8714 Antioch Road
Overland Park, KS
3921 Baltimore Avenue
Kansas City, MO