Dear Colleyville Family,
I know that this season has been profoundly challenging for each of us, and for our church as a whole. I know that it has been, without a doubt, the most challenging period of my pastoral ministry (and I don’t expect those challenges to end any time soon!).
I know that you each have your own stories of difficulty and grief and frustration during this time. I am thankful that so far, the Lord has spared us from death or serious harm from the virus itself, but all of us have suffered in various ways due to the broader societal changes the virus has brought. Some of us have lost work, or suffered other financial loss. Many of us are missing out on special experiences, things long planned and anticipated that now will be impossible to replicate or replace. All of us are suffering from isolation and the normal joys of life in community with one another.
And yet, I want you to know that I am also seeing and hearing many beautiful things in our congregation that are encouraging me during this season, as I speak with you and hear your stories. As you enter into another week of following Jesus in the midst of the present challenges, I thought it might be encouraging for you to know some of the things I see happening in our church.
I see siblings learning to love and appreciate one another in new ways.
I see families ordering their lives with much greater intentionality and care.
I see those who are employed working with new creativity and skill as their jobs and industries change.
I see husbands and wives learning to work through conflict and challenges and loving one another.
I see those who live alone learning to be joyful and use their time as unto the Lord.
I see public officials and medical workers and grocery employees in our congregation serving with wisdom and faithfulness.
I see church members calling one another and checking in, listening and praying for one another.
I see deacons gathering funds and proactively ensuring that those in need financially are supported.
I see elders wrestling with hard decisions and seeking to shepherd those under their care.
I see a faithful group of men and women meeting four mornings a week to pray for our church and our neighbors.
I see church staff members reaching out and listening and praying for others.
I see families and individuals learning to read the Scriptures and pray with new maturity and intentionality.
I see pregnant women carrying their unborn babies faithfully with courage and grace.
I see a small team of men and women working hard to make sure worship resources are provided each week.
I see those in financial need trusting in the Lord to provide.
I see a congregation full of members eager to serve another in whatever way they can.
I see families and individuals continuing to faithfully give their tithes and offerings to support our church’s ministry.
I see families and individuals embracing the difficulty and worshiping in their homes Sunday by Sunday, trusting that their worship still matters, and the Lord will use it to bless both them and their neighbors.
Beloved, if running the universe were up to me, this is not the path I would have chosen for our church. But thanks be to God, that is not my job. And increasingly, I am seeing how Jesus is strengthening us as a congregation and deepening our maturity during this time.
When we come through this, we will be a different church. How could it be otherwise? And I am incredibly confident that we will be a people with softer hearts, with stronger practices of prayer and worship, and with a deeper love for Jesus and one another. I encourage you to join me in praying to that end.