Last week was a whirlwind.
I don’t know anyone that could have Only God anticipated how much things would change. In light of all the uncertainty, we’re so encouraged by the way you all have cared for one another. While we’ve been doing our best behind the scenes, as pastors and staff, to set up sustainable systems for our family, we’ve been blown away at how you’ve have taken the initiative to reach out and check in on us. Knowing that while we’re scrambling to take care of you, you’ve already been taking care of us, has been an immeasurable source of comfort. Words can’t express the comfort we feel by those small acts of kindness. It reinforces the truth that every part of the body is absolutely necessary for our continued thriving (Eph. 4:16, 1 Corinthians 12). That’s what you’ve done, and by God’s grace that’s what we hope to help you keep doing.
Now for the update. Since the terrain of this situation is continually shifting, we don’t feel it’s wise to try to make a comprehensive road map just yet. However, just because the path is foggy down the road doesn’t mean that the next steps aren’t crystal clear. Much of this is uncharted territory and we are creating this road map as we’re taking the journey. Our goal is for communication to be clear, concise, and consistent. To that end, we desperately need your flexibility. Although things may constantly be changing, we want you to be confident that our commitment to you is unwavering . So here’s a brief email to outline our next steps as a church as we take this journey together.
Our First Step: Pastoral Phone Calls
We don’t have all the answers. Not yet at least. We need your help to determine how we should respond as a church. Where answers are absent, the need for assessment abounds. So that’s what we hope to do this week—gain an assessment on where you are and how you’re doing. We make it a habit to pray for each one of you. We always want God to hear our voices on your behalf. Nevertheless, in this season we want to ensure that you’re hearing our voices as well. So starting yesterday, our goal is to call every member of the Cornerstone family. We want to hear your voice and for you to hear ours. We want to know you’re okay and just have some time to catch up.
Our only ask is that you answer the phone or return the call if you miss it. I (John) don’t usually answer a phone call unless someone texts first—that’s common courtesy. However, we need you to make an exception (you know…with the pandemic and everything). Consider this our text message. We don’t have an agenda for this time other than to see how you’re doing. What’s going on? Where do you have needs? Where might you be filled with anxiety or worry? Only after we talk with you all will we come up with a more comprehensive plan. We want to be sure that our efforts meet the very real and specific needs of our very real and specific church community. So pick up the phone. Let’s talk.
Our Next Step: Bringing you up to speed without overwhelming you
Be on the lookout for a one-pager that helps to keep you updated on helpful articles about how we are to think and respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic. If any of you suffer from paralysis by analysis, you might find it easy to get overwhelmed while you’re being over-informed. All the media coverage feels like drinking from a fire hydrant. And drinking from a fire hydrant can feel more like you’re being drowned than having your thirst quenched. Our goal is to help get you up to speed without overwhelming you. We’ll be curating content and posting it for you.
Step Three: Sunday Service – Simple & Sustainable
To be honest, we’re still figuring this out. As the weeks go on and we learn more and more about this pandemic, the one thing that’s clear is that the adjustments we make will likely carry on longer than we originally anticipated. So in some ways we have to create a new normal for what it looks like for our scattered church to maintain a sense of familial unity. Two words that guide our philosophy in thinking about how to proceed are the same words that have carried us as a church thus far. Simple & Sustainable. Whatever we do we want it to be done simply so that it’s sustainable over the long haul. Without knowing when we all will be able to gather again, it’s important that whatever we do remains sustainable. So for the time being, we’re working on how to do that. Here’s what you can expect from us as we seek to continue to aid you in weekly worship.
- A weekly sermon from one of your pastors. In God’s providence we made the necessary equipment purchases at the end of last year. What we have is more than capable of providing a way for us to continue to fulfill our role as pastors in feeding the flock with God’s Word. You can expect to be hearing from us expounding God’s Word weekly. We hope this serves you well as a great baseline for family worship on Sundays.
- Resources to help you lead your children. Kim Gillespie, our kids director, and our kids team are working on corresponding resources for the kids as well! Be on the lookout.
Finally: Centralizing Communication
While we plan to continue to use mail chimp for all of our church wide communication, we will also be posting all of this communication on our website. Cornerstoneatl.org. If you click the link now, you’ll notice that all of the communication you’ve received thus far is posted on the front page. You should also expect other helpful resources to be uploaded as time goes on (devotionals, encouragements from the pastors and members, needs from our church body and surrounding community, as well as a Friday Update that will go out each week outlining Sunday plans).
As it stands, our plan is to take this thing 4-6 weeks at a time. So in accordance with the advice from the CDC, we’re not going to be gathering together as an entire congregation at least through the end of April. We want you to know that even though we might not see you face to face, we still hold each of you with an incredible fondness in our hearts. Until we get a chance to link again, we want to leave you with these words from our Lord.
“May the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.”Numbers 6:24-26
John Onwuchekwa | Richard Mullen | Moe Hafeez | Bob Selph | Jared Dawson