Shore Community Church Announcement for March 18, 2020.

In light of recent governmental mandates restricting public meetings, Shore Community Church will not meet publicly until further notice. As Ocean City Elementary School was required to close, this also means that our access to the school on Sundays is prohibited until further notice. While our church is small, the intent of these mandates is to also encourage smaller congregations like our from gathering as well in order to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Lest we think our situation is unique, churches all over the country and the world are reacting to these circumstances. We are forced to ask ourselves not so much questions about the validity and necessity of these mandates, but “How do we best love our neighbor during this time?”, and “How do we respect authority in this time?”. Furthermore, questions about how long this will go on are unanswerable at this juncture.

So this is how Shore Community Church is responding:

  1. No public gatherings until further notice. This loves our neighbor by minimizing the potentiality of spreading disease and it honors the authority of governmental mandates.
  2. Wait. Be Patient. In a culture of productivity and progress, this is a season of patience and resting upon the Lord’s timing. We are in a season of change and flux and we need to guard against rash reactions. We may need to adjust to a few small meetings throughout the week in homes, but I’m going to wait on making that decision at this point.
  3. Adjust and Adapt. While assembling for regular worship and fellowship is absolutely essential to Christianity, for at least a period of time, this will not happen. Again, there are other options for gathering, but we are not pursuing those in the short term at this point. So call the people you normally see on Sunday and check in with them. Ask them if they need anything or if you can pray for them in any way. Do the same with the people who live nearby and work with you. Listen to good preaching online (here or here or here for example), and pray and sing with your family. Instead of binge watching Netflix or mindlessly scrolling through your phone, read a book (like this one or from one of these lists: 1, 2, 3). For the love of everything holy, limit the attention and time you give to social media!
  4. Call your Pastor. You can even text or email. If you have questions, need to talk, need to pray, or have a practical need, I want to talk to you. We’re all in this together, and this can be a season of refining and clarifying what the church is, and removing from us some cultural baggage that we may not have even realized was there. If this situation persists long, the nature of pastoring is going to change, but I plan to take my own advice to adjust and adapt. I’ve never been a pastor during a pandemic before, and I’m going to make mistakes, so be forewarned. But I’m also incredibly excited to see how Jesus is going to glorify himself in his church which he purchased with his own blood.

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