The content below was updated: 3/27/20
Many of us are following the spread of COVID-19 around the world, including a growing number of cases in our local community. As a church, we’re sobered by the painful consequences of living in a broken world. We’re grateful for the hope and help we have in Jesus. And we’re committed to helping one another fight for joy in Him even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.
In keeping with recent requests from public health officials, we are not gathering for worship on Sunday mornings or in small groups throughout the week for the foreseeable future. That’s really hard. God made us for community and we rightly grieve the loss of seeing one another face to face. At the same time, we don’t stop being the church – we’re a people, not a meeting. The way we walk out our mission may look and feel radically different for a time, but our God hasn’t changed. He still calls us to treasure Christ, pursue authentic community, and love our neighbors.
The guidance and resources on this page are designed to help us do exactly that – to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel no matter what COVID-19 brings our way. We don’t have to know exactly what will happen over the next few weeks. Our Father knows, and in that we rest.
Service: Between now and then, however, we do well to find additional ways to encourage one another with biblical truth from afar. We plan on live streaming a 25-30 minute teaching from God’s Word every Sunday at 10am. The streaming link will be sent out in the weekly newsletter and available on the announcement bar at the top of our homepage.
For those who are unable to watch the livestream, audio recordings will continue to be added to our weekly podcast. Lord willing, we will resume our sermon series from the Gospel of John, Life in the Son, later this year when we are able to gather again for corporate worship.
King’sKids: The publishers of The Gospel Project for Kids, our Sunday school curriculum for 5-11 year olds, have also given us temporary permission to include class videos, lesson plans, and activity sheets in our weekly email to all families with children enrolled in King’sKids. We’re excited to share these resources and hope they equip you to continue discipling your kids at home.
Giving: The Lord has richly provided for our church over the last year. We trust him to take care of us. We also depend on the offerings we receive every month to continue in gospel ministry. If you’re a member or regular attender at KingsWay, please continue giving generously, even if that means finding a new way to do so. This is really important for the long-term health of our congregation. You can give online, by text, or by mailing a check to the office (more details here).
Here are a few practical tips for staying relationally connected over the next few weeks:
+ Reach out to people you know at church by phone or email using the directory on CCB (click on the Participants tab in the Members group). Ask how they’re really doing and find out how you can pray! Make sure your personal information is correct on CCB so other people know how to get in touch with you. If you have questions regarding CCB, please contact Jerlay.
+ Many of us meet in Community Groups or Bible studies throughout the week. As long as we’re unable to gather in person, try staying in touch with Zoom. Zoom is a web-based application that allows you to video conference with multiple people. The free plan allows you to talk as a group for up to 40 minutes per call. For technical support in English, contact Daniel. For help in Spanish, contact Jesús.
+ If you are a small group leader at KingsWay and wish to use Zoom for longer than 40 minutes per call, please contact Matthew so he can upgrade your subscription.
+ The present need for social distancing creates more discretionary time at home for most of us. Instead of binging on Netflix, take the opportunity to strengthen your practice of personal devotions.
+ If you are subscribed to our newsletter, you will receive a 5-day guided devotional every Friday to help combat the temptation to fear and anxiety during the upcoming week.
+ The first devotional will be sent out on March 20. If you are not subscribed and would like to be, please click here.
+ If you have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, follow these guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health.
+ If you are sick with COVID-19, please take the following steps:
- Let our elders know immediately by asking for prayer. With your permission, we will also add your name to a church wide prayer list in our weekly newsletter.
- Carefully follow these guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (click here for Spanish) to care for yourself and protect those around you.
+ If you are caring for someone with COVID-19, follow these recommendations from the CDC. As much as it might feel awkward, please don’t enter a sick person’s home to deliver a meal. Give them a call and drop it off on their porch. Remember your ability to love others well depends on not getting sick yourself!
+ We are so grateful for the ability to care for our surrounding community through the Food Pantry. The Food Pantry will remain open via curbside delivery on Thursday afternoons for those in need. For more information, please contact Jerlay at (804) 379-2551.
+ We anticipate the economic impact of COVID-19 in our community will be significant. If you are a church member and are out of work, please contact our staff Deacon of Mercy, Craig Smith. We’re eager to provide as much financial assistance as possible. Don’t wait to speak up until you’re facing an unpaid bill. Early intervention is best.
+ If you can help others financially during this time, please consider supporting the Mercy Fund. This fund is used to practically care for members of our church and neighbors in our local community. For example, it takes upwards of 1,500 lbs. of food to provide a week of groceries to the 20-30 families we serve every Thursday in our Food Pantry. To give to the Mercy Fund, designate “Mercy” in the memo section of your check or through the drop down menu on the online giving form. Click here for more information on giving. If the financial need among our members exceeds the limits of our Mercy Fund, we will let the church know as soon as possible.
Over the last few weeks, local, state, and federal officials have all urged us to practice social distancing. The goal is to limit the number of COVID-19 deaths by flattening the pandemic curve and avoiding a situation where the healthcare system is overrun with critical cases. It’s impossible to specify exactly what that requires in every situation.
Do you stay indoors or get outside for some exercise? Do you go into the grocery store or limit yourself to curbside pick-up? Do you have a struggling friend over for coffee, staying below the legal limit of 10 for public gatherings, or pivot into Zoom meetings and phone calls only? Which is more loving – visiting your elderly parents across town to serve them or staying as far away from them as possible to minimize the risk of infection? What if your spouse or child works in a hospital?
Decisions like these are not easy. You won’t find a chapter or verse in the Bible that spells out exactly what sort of social distancing is wise or pleasing to the Lord in a given situation. If we’re not careful, that leaves us vulnerable as Christians to falling into one of two errors. On the one hand, we can proudly proclaim we’re not afraid of dying and march on with life as normal. On the other hand, we can recoil in fear, declare that the most conservative approach to social distancing is the only “Christian” approach and shame or despise anyone who disagrees. Suffice it to say, none of those responses embody the unity and charity Jesus urges us to contend for as a church in John 17.
In a situation like this, we uphold and strengthen our unity in Christ by agreeing on the biblical principles in play. To give a few examples, honor the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-2). Consider the interest of others more important than your own (Philippians 2:4). Do not fear sickness or death (Psalm 23:4). Love your neighbor as yourself (James 2:8). Look out for the weak and vulnerable (Proverbs 31:8-9). Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Give thought to what will communicate respect to the people around you (Romans 12:17).
We then do the hard work of going to the Lord in prayer and asking for wisdom to walk all of them out in the details of life. We take advantage of godly counsel as needed, recognizing the Lord often cares for us through the wisdom of others. Then we practice charity by rejecting attitudes of disdain or self-righteousness toward brothers and sisters who come to different conclusions about what sort of personal application or practice is wise.
And if we do have a concern about a fellow believer’s actions, we approach them gently and graciously with open-ended questions, not judgments, that point them back to the Lord and dependence on his Spirit. Our goal is to help each other wrestle honestly with the Biblical principles while allowing room for different people to arrive at different conclusions over how to wisely implement them.
While social distancing may be new, the way we navigate all manner of wisdom issues in life as Christians is not. We look to God’s Word. We listen to God’s Spirit. We lean into godly counsel. And we step out in faith, not because we’re convinced we got the answer “right,” but because we trust the Lord to guide and protect us as we strive to love him and one another.