So…what do you do when you’ve spent months as a congregation, turning your focus outward, talking about what it means to be good neighbors, good citizens…?
What do you do when you’ve filled a map in the lobby with stickers indicating ways in which your people are reaching out to really love the community around them…?
What do you do when you’ve got up a good head of steam about being a church that reaches out and doesn’t just hunker down…
What do you do if all that was happening….and suddenly, are FORCED to hunker down? By a pandemic. Forced to stay within your walls. Forced to avoid neighbors. Forced to wear masks that cover your face and hide your smile. Forced to be cautious and avoidant and even suspicious about people you don’t know.
Well…that’s exactly what happened. Prior to the outbreak of COVID, we had focused a great deal on what it means to love your neighbors, love your community, give yourself away in service to others. And we really WERE seeing some great growth in that area.
Then came that nasty bug and all that outwardly-focused momentum…like so many other things…screeched to a halt.
BUT, that was SOOOOO 2020! 2021 is a new day. Chapel Hill is coming back with a vengeance…a holy vengeance! Worship attendance is up, LifeGroups are thriving, giving is strong and, hallelujah, we just celebrated our first Vacation Bible School in three years.
In many ways, we are regaining lost ground. It’s time now to recapture that outwardly-turned spirit we worked so hard to emphasize. My upcoming sermon series is another step outward. The series will be called “For.” As I’ve said many times, it is often easier to identify what Christians are AGAINST rather than what they are FOR. But we are trying to put the lie to that. There are many, many ways we are declaring what we are for…and all of them are life-giving, hope-filling, community-building initiatives.
Many of our newest efforts are being funded by our Beyond These Walls initiative. I know you will be thrilled to hear how your sacrifice in paying off the last of our debt is now paying great dividends FOR our community.
This Sunday I will start with a foundational declaration: “God is for All Y’all!” If you aren’t sure what I mean by that, then come and find out. If you think you know, come and see if you were right. Regardless, come! Every Sunday more and more people are rediscovering the life-giving joy of worshiping together.
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash