What does it look like for us to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9, ESV) in the middle of a pandemic? Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Gospel Comes With a House Key (available in our church library) explores this important question in this excellent article:
*Updated November 26, 2020.
Dear EBC family and community,
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, a new set of restrictions has been issued by the provincial government this week, and among them is a cap on the amount of people who can gather together. Churches, like every other establishment, are not allowed to have gatherings of more than 30 people.
Our leadership team had a good meeting this afternoon where we discussed these matters. As citizens of the kingdom of God, we know that our ultimate authority is not the government but the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet our Lord has instructed us in His word to have a disposition of respect, honour, submission and obedience to the human authorities over us (Titus 3:1-2, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17). Certainly there are times where the church has to say, “we must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). We do not believe, given the present circumstances, that such a stance is necessary nor appropriate at this time.
As a team of leaders, we are united in our conviction that obeying and honouring the Lord Jesus means complying with these present measures. At the same time, this does not mean that our life together as a church will grind to a halt. We can’t be all together as a church, but in the meantime we are still permitted to gather in smaller settings which will allow us a healthy measure of fellowship and edification.
And so that’s our plan for this Sunday and the next few weeks. We will have four gatherings of no more than 30 people each, each led and hosted by one of the board members. These gatherings will happen at 10:30 am in the auditorium at our EBC building, the the Fellowship Hall, and then in the chapel and student lounge at Nipawin Bible College. A fifth group, if needed, will meet in the gym at NBC.
These gatherings will be a bit of a hybrid between a Sunday worship service and a small group gathering. We’ll sing two or three songs, read Scripture, hope to have a good time of prayer and sharing together, and watch a sermon which I’ll pre-record. We are encouraging small groups to stay together in these gatherings, to help build on those established relationships.
You’ll need to register for a group so that we can keep our numbers in a good place. You can do so at https://ebcnipawin.ca/events/sunday-gatherings/. Please register sooner than later, so that we’ll know if we need to run a fifth gathering.
Also, it probably goes without saying, but there will be no Sunday School this week.
If you have any questions about these Sunday gatherings, please let me know. We are trusting that these gatherings in the next few weeks will be edifying and encouraging, even as we long to be all together as a church family again. Let’s pray that the Lord brings that day soon!
Grateful to serve Jesus with you,
I’ve been pondering how we, as Christians, should be thinking about and responding to what is now officially a COVID-19 pandemic. This article says many of the things I would want to say, and so I commend it to you as a biblical guide to help us process these matters.
Relationships with other Christians should go past the surface. They should be deep and meaningful. But that’s easier said than done, isn’t it?
How do we engage our brothers and sisters in more meaningful conversation? How can we do this even in the hustle and bustle of a Sunday morning?
The following short video from Biblical counsellor Ed Welch, drawing on his book “Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships” (on order for the church library) highlights two simple questions you can use, even on a Sunday morning, to help you break past the small-talk barrier.
Click below to watch: