Being the Church Online

Greetings, NBC family! A few have asked me recently when we will likely resume onsite church services. The short answer is that I don't know. I have been trying to stay abreast of the news as it pertains to the question of the relaxing social distancing. Here is what I read early this week concerning CT: "Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont extended the mandatory shutdown in the state until May 20. Connecticut has joined a coalition with the Northeastern states of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts to coordinate the reopening of the economy, according to a news release from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office. Lamont said he believed it would take at least another month before the state could make a decision on how and when to open things back up and emphasized 'this is no time to relax.'" It goes without saying that we are going to be continue to follow the state's mandates. But even once the mandates are relaxed, the church's leadership team and I will discuss how our church will transition back to "normal" in a safe and responsible way. In the meantime, the worship team and I are working to improve the quality of our online services, and each week we make good forward progress. And now that we have our new website up and running, it is going to be much easier for us all to stay connected and to do ministry together.

I am really excited about some of the ways in which we have been able to do ministry online. Among other things, Karen has worked very hard at turning the Monday night bi-weekly Bible study home group into a weekly online Bible study/prayer meeting. Additionally, the Tuesday night Bible study that I lead on the book of Job via Zoom now allows for people outside of out church to attend from as far away as Ecuador.

Before I sign off, though, I would like to hear from each of you personally about how you would like to get plugged into ministry. If you are not sure how to do that, here are a couple of ideas to consider: 1. Pastoral Care - Consider calling a few fellow congregants regularly each week to check in on them. Make sure that they are healthy and that their needs are met. Pray with them about matters with which they are wresting. Remember that pastoral work is not just the pastor's work. We are all called to follow and imitate the Good Shepherd, which means that we are all called to pastor. And this work is super-important now more than ever, as many of us feel very alone, being stuck at home. 2. Start a fellowship group - This is a time when many people in and outside of the church are more open to share their hearts and consider the things of God. Even if you do not think that you are a teacher, would you consider hosting a weekly group online for 20 minutes to read a short devotional (perhaps http://ourdailybread.org/)? You could invite friends from inside and outside the church. As a part-time pastor, who has numerous responsibilities, I only have so much time to make new, impactful connections in the community. In order to expand our church's impact in the community and reach new people, we need some who are willing to make small steps like this to reach the people in their lives, whom I do not know, with the Good News! And maybe you have other great ideas. Please, share them with me. I am always willing to consider new approaches to ministry!

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