Dear Church Family,
As our state and nation are gripped by the impact of coronavirus, I want to share the hope of Christ and encourage us all to walk away from fear and towards wisdom, faith and grace. It's very understandable that this disease would raise concern in many, yet, when our culture shifts from “wise concern” to “wild panic,” the enemy is at work: the destructive plans of he who lives to steal, kill, destroy and inspire terror, should never distract us from looking to Jesus, whose name is greater than any other name, including COVID-19.
As our church walks in faith, we also want to be a gracious community of healing, as we extend care for the most vulnerable among us. Because of that, we have made the following decision about our gathering this Sunday:
Along with many other large churches in Los Angeles, and in response to our Governor’s and Mayor’s requests, and more importantly in response to the leading of the Lord, we will be holding virtual services this Sunday, March 15, and there will be no on-campus gatherings through Saturday, March 21. We will be monitoring the situation to make decisions about the next few weeks.
While we will not be gathering in person this week, we are also not canceling church, as we will continue to stream our services online — you can use your computer or smartphone. The best way to engage us online (including real-time interaction) is through our Facebook Live platform. Please share this with others who might benefit from worship and an encouraging word in this crisis. As well, visit our website for a video update from me. You may also watch our services live or anytime throughout the week on our website (thechurchontheway.org). Podcasts of the sermons are also on our website.
Also, please subscribe to our social media (Facebook, Instagram) and repost our announcements and video, as an encouragement to others, and make sure to watch your email to keep up with us through this critical time.
Additionally, if you’re used to giving your tithes and offerings in person, I’d like to encourage you to give online during the next few weeks. You can do that by giving online, or by texting TCOTW to 77977. Thank you for helping us to keep financially strong during this challenging season.
Here are some pastoral encouragements for you in this season:
First, if you become sick, WE INVITE YOU TO LET US KNOW! We are still your church, and we want to be aware of what you're going through, so we can respond. James 5:14 tells us, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” Would you let us know of your situation and contact information, so one of our pastor/elder team can be in touch with you? You can do so by emailing [email protected] or calling the church office at 818-779-8000.
Second, regardless of whether this ever touches you personally, this should be a sustained season of prayer for all of us, as the world and our community are impacted by this disease. Let’s press in and pray for regions and nations that have been impacted by this virus, as well as individual neighbors, coworkers and friends who may be impacted by the virus or even fear of the virus.
Third, we urge you to continue to connect with your small group or ministry team. If you’re a part of a small community of people from our church, who supports or serves with one another, this is an important time to continue to be the church outside of Sunday mornings. If you don’t have a group, but would like to find one near you, please look at our Groups page on our website and reach out to a leader.
We're actively monitoring this situation, keeping in touch with local officials and experts, and seeking to walk in wise and discerning response to God’s leading, as we navigate these next few days and weeks. Like some churches have to stop meeting when there is a snowstorm, or like The Church On The Way felt led to cancel services during the ’92 riots, a week or two of not meeting on-campus will not destroy who we are as a church, in fact, we can come out of this stronger than ever.
I encourage you to walk forward in faithful response to the Lord, continue to love one another and your neighbors, and live deep in the Lord’s presence in this next season. If you have concerns or need clarification, please call the church office at 818-779-8000. And thank you for your prayers for your leaders, as we determine the best way to lead forward.