At 3pm today, Governor Pritzker gave the following mandate in the state of Illinois:
“Last night, the @CDCgov announced it strictest national recommendations to date, advising against gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. As a result, I am mandating that any gathering of 50 or more be canceled in the state of Illinois.“ Earlier today the recommendation from the White House dropped the number of those recommended for gatherings from 50 to 10.
Let me first say, that none of us like the current situation. This is a major disruption, but not one however, that we can pretend doesn’t exist. We exist as a church in a community with fears, opinions and needs, the greatest of which is a relationship with Jesus. Our goal is to walk with the community through this process, but to be the true church of Jesus at the same time. In fact, I believe this to be a great opportunity for SonRise to help the community minister to its neighbors and for us to learn how to minister outside our four walls more intentionally. Let me be clear. We are in no way shrinking from our Biblical mandates in the Great Commission and Great Commandment.
Today I met with the church board as well as our other elder and a nurse practitioner in our church family to assess and make plans as a church. Here are some things happening effective immediately:
Due to the governor’s mandate and the President’s recommendation we will be cancelling all gatherings of over 10 people including worship services. Romans 13:1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Though we may not like the mandate and recommendation, nothing we are being asked to do is in direct contradiction to God’s call for us. We are not being told we cannot share the gospel or pray or worship or meet with any other Christians or love our neighbor as ourselves. At SonRise, we must be intentional about continuing to do these things so we continue to obey the Lord Jesus while living under some restrictions. I do not pretend to know the outcome of this virus and its scare, however, I do believe that the best way to show and communicate love to our community right now is to participate with the community in protecting our vulnerable and being the hands and feet of Jesus to them.
ACTION #1 – Though we will not gather in the sanctuary on Sunday, we will be presenting a fresh worship service online on Sunday Morning at 10am for everyone to watch and participate in. Our desire is that you would reach out to your neighbors and church friends and meet with a group of 6-10 people. The service will be broadcast at our website http://SonRiseBibleChurch.com. If you are hosting a gathering there will be a host information sheet on our website for you prior to the online service. The service will also be available for those who have YouTube on their TV. You can follow a link at http://SonRiseBibleChurch.com. We would also like to have groups rsvp at our website so we have an idea who is meeting where and can get the material to you. Hebrews 10:24-25 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. This scripture doesn’t communicate how many people are supposed to meet together at a time. It doesn’t communicate how we meet together, but it does communicate the necessity to meet together. Why? What comes from meeting together? “Spurring one another on toward love and good deeds” and “encouraging one another”. Though we would prefer to do this as a large group, we can do this as effectively (and maybe more effectively) in small groups.
ACTION #2 – We will be opening our doors for 10 or less to receive prayer, to pray alone in the sanctuary, or pray with others. It might be a great time to simply see another human being as well.
Open Prayer Times This Week will be: (Watch website for next week’s times)
Tuesday – 6-7pm
ACTION #3 – There will be “Next Right Steps” for Sunday morning groups such as walking the neighborhood together and praying for the community and individual homes. Dropping off SonRise sanitizer at neighborhood homes with information letting people know how they can request help or a need.
ACTION #4 – Providing opportunity for those in our community that are not a part of our church to help others in our community.
ACTION #5 – We will have a place our website and via our church phone (will be checked multiple times a day) where those in need can express those needs and we can do our best to love our neighbors by serving.
This Thursday Night’s class videos will be posted at our website. The class will not meet this Thursday at the church.
Philippians 1:9-11 - 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Immediately after verse 11 Paul says, vs 12“Now I want you to know, brother and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” God has an incredible way of taking the bad and using it to advance the gospel. We will not be so shortsighted as to think this has caught God by surprise or that the results of all this will be negative. We trust God too much for that. Blessings,
Rev. Dustin Largent