Dear Trinity Grace Church,
Over the next five weeks, the elders will send out a series of pastoral e-mails. Each week, there will also be an accompanying YouTube video message version of the letter. If you’re more of a “watcher” than a “reader,” feel free instead to watch a video version of the letter below.
How are you?
How are you as we continue to face the pandemic? How is your health? How is your peace of mind and emotions? How are your relationships—with family, friends, coworkers?
During these socially-distanced and locked-down times, it’s important and helpful for our holistic health to stay connected relationally, especially with the church. At the beginning of the new year, the elders and deacons checked in with those not connected to a midweek New Community gathering. If you did not receive a phone call, text, or e-mail, please let us know. We want to connect and see how you are doing.
Most Importantly, How is Your Faith?
We are over a year into the pandemic. The headlines these days point to an end to the tunnel of the pandemic, based mostly on the hope of vaccine rollout. Nevertheless, we are not out of the woods yet.
That said, the elders are burdened with writing a pastoral letter to our church family, addressing the state of our corporate and personal faith. Who imagined a pandemic when we rang in the 2020 New Year? Who thought we would be over a year into the pandemic? As the pandemic continues, the elders desire to speak to our continued faith in these challenging times. What is more, even with the end of the pandemic in sight, the elders are concerned about any pandemic side effects on our faith and life.
At any given time in the present, we all fall on a spectrum of spiritual health. We want to encourage you wherever you find yourself.
For those of us who have continued to run our race of faith strongly during the pandemic, more grace to you.
For those of us who have become disconnected and have lost missional steam, the elders’ desire Hebrews 12:12-13 for you–that by God’s grace you might “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet…” Our heart is similar to the apostle Paul’s when he says to the Thessalonian Christ-followers, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” (1 Thess 5:14)
A Series of Five Reflective Questions about Our Church’s Worship, Community Life, and Mission
In the next five weeks, we will ask five reflective questions, one per week. We are concerned for our church’s worship, community life, and mission.
As a preview, the five questions are:
- How will we worship our God as his people in a worthy manner as the pandemic continues?
- How will we love our neighbour in a worthy manner as the pandemic continues?
- Am I grieved that we are not worshipping God in-person as the pandemic continues? Am I grieved that my ministry to my neighbour in-person is hindered as the pandemic continues?
- How do I relate distinctively as a Christ-follower to the government as the pandemic continues?
- Finally, am I living by faith and wisdom or by fear and anxiety during these times? Do I live in the hope of the resurrection in Christ with supplementary sound scientific wisdom, or am I afraid of death for myself and my loved ones and basing decisions driven by anxiety?
The Elders’ Desire and Motive
Our desire is for you to come to prayerful conclusions over the next five weeks, as each question is presented. Our prayer is that the questions and tensions we outline each week will help you discern the state of your faith, like looking into a clear spiritual mirror. And may we all act freely on our Spirit-led and Scripture-guided consciences before God.
Our motive is to present Trinity Grace Church as spotless and blameless as possible to her Lord, Jesus Christ. As elders, a part of our calling is to discern the times as we shepherd our church. Like a competent doctor, parent, or consultant, we are responsible for discerning all the good and bad effects of the pandemic on our church’s worship, community, and mission.
Echoing Paul, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.” Amen.
Albert, Colin, Trevor
Check out a video version of this e-mail here: