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What is our primary purpose?

Updated: May 27, 2020

May 20, 2020

Leadership Notes

I've never been more muddled in my thoughts than I am right now. Our leadership board is meeting tomorrow night {May 21} to begin planning the way forward as the Covid-19 quarantine loosens its grip on life in Michigan.

I've participated in an online discussion about how and when to resume in-person worship and church activities. I've been in conversation with area pastors on what their churches are doing. I've visited countless church websites to see where they are at. There's a whole lot still up in the air.

Meanwhile, a church in California had in-person worship on Mother's Day. About 180 were in attendance. The next day, someone who was at the service needed immediate medical attention for Covid-19. On Mother's Day, that person was asymptomatic. Then, another church, this one in Georgia, began in-person worship with protocols in place. After two weeks, Covid-19 struck several church families. Citing extreme caution, they've once again cancelled in-person worship.

I am not normally a timid person. Covenant Church has been reasonable, rational, and responsible throughout this pandemic. The people of Michigan have done their part, many sacrificially, to flatten the curve and ensure our healthcare systems aren't overrun. Exercising caution is a good thing…actually, a Biblical thing. I also don't think it's wise to avoid all risk at all costs in all things. My thoughts have not settled on a clear direction for our worshiping life. It all feels so vaporous.

In a recent Barna poll, fewer than one-in-five Americans who consider themselves to be Christians say the primary purpose in life is "knowing, loving, and serving God." But that is exactly what the Westminster Confession, grounded in God's Word, says our primary purpose in life is.

While we are not being the church together, in person, for the time being, God makes a way for us to know Him and love Him. This has been a good time to develop personal devotional practices as well as think deeply about the intersection of theology with challenging world events. I think these are exciting times in which to live and have meaningful moments with God.

The other big piece for us is how we serve God during times of crisis. How do we love our community? How do we show Christ-honoring leadership within our community?

In the context of what's happening now, could the role of the church perhaps be to support all areas of community life that need to gradually reopen? People's jobs and businesses…schools…childcare…where people work and gather and contribute to the wholeness of their families and neighbors. Is perhaps Sunday morning worship the last piece that should fall into place {after other church activities}?

We know gatherings such as worship provide an environment for the spread of germs. I would hate to see the progress we've made face a setback because we couldn't wait until later in the process to have in-person Sunday morning services. What we're doing now {live streaming} is the next best thing. It is temporary, but highly effective in limiting exposure. And perhaps we ought to make that sacrifice for the long-term good of the community. In other words, I am concerned that worshiping together could undermine what we want for our families and communities. Short-term sacrifice for long-term goal.

Perhaps God is calling us to be a church that is so committed to the health and well-being of the community that we will be the last to satisfy our needs and wants. I look forward to your input on this. I want to know your thoughts and ideas.

Always Trying to be of Good Cheer,


P.S. - I love and thank God daily for the people of Covenant Church.

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