Howdy Ridge Church!
What a mighty God we serve and praise! I hope everyone is safe and well. I am in continual prayer for each and everyone of you and our church during this time. We are in this together, we have remained connected, we continue to worship, and most of all we continue to trust in Jesus.
Previously, I told you we would provide an update on the pathway forward for re-opening the church again for worship, so I wanted to take this opportunity to let everyone know where we are at in that process.
Our elder team has been in constant communications and purposeful prayer since the start of this Coronavirus situation. We have been striving to be creative, innovative, relevant, and impactful in our efforts to worship and remain connected. We have maximized the current technology extremely well through our online services, devotionals, small group meetings, and we plan to continue with these efforts as we move forward. Additionally, as Tennessee has started to re-open, several small groups have elected to start meeting in person again while adhering to social distancing and other CDC and state guidelines. We encourage that activity if your small group is ready to do so.
Recently I sent out a survey to gather everyone’s perspective on returning to “in person” church services, and I want to personally thank everyone who participated and for your thoughtful feedback. With the data we received, the leadership team met and discussed the results and potential courses of action available in moving forward. We are anxious to re-open, as are the majority of you who responded to the survey. There is, however, a very wide range of opinion about gathering in person, and state guidelines presently advise worship gathering practices that would be very difficult for us practically.
Considering the survey data, the continuing unknowns about the Coronavirus, concerns about safety, and the state guidelines, the leadership team did not feel there was a compelling and defined pathway at this time on re-opening the church within the next several weeks. I understand this might be frustrating, but we are committed to opening safely as soon as practical, with a well-defined plan giving consideration to our partners and community, as well as state and local guidelines. Although we are hopeful and committed to a planned re-opening of worship services in the near future, we are also diligently tracking local trends and are open to making course corrections that are warranted.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Let’s not miss our great opportunity to show love to our community by thoughtfully re-opening in a way that inspires hope and develops trust with our community, and also demonstrates our bold faith in God’s providence. The elder team has the primary task of oversight for the church, but more specifically they are charged with the tasks of loving, protecting, caring, and leading. With that charter and those responsibilities, the leadership team feels led by the Holy Spirit to purposefully go to God for divine guidance and direction, through diligent and fervent prayer, this week. Therefore, we are asking you to partner with the leadership team now in this mission. So, for the next 6 days, will you commit to praying with the leadership team for guidance and direction?
We believe as scripture states in Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you, and in James 1:5 – But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. Commit to prayer with us this week, and we believe God will provide us the wisdom we seek. We fully trust in His providence and sovereignty, so the leadership team will meet next Monday and develop the re-opening plan according to God’s will, which we will share with everyone as soon as possible.
I am excited, as I know each of you are also, to get back together and fellowship, commune, and most of all worship our Heavenly Father! This season will soon come to an end, so be patient, be in prayer, and be ready for great and wonderful things that await us.
Bobby and The Ridge Elder Team
PS * - the rest of the scripture: 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and [h]without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a [i]double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.