Greetings from St Matthew, I’m Pastor Rob Appold – I’m praying for you and want you to know that we miss gathering together with you. I’m thankful you are joining us online when we can’t gather together in person. It’s been 6 months since things changed around here and we want to encourage you to stay connected through prayer, so please pass on your prayer concerns through the website and your small group.
Hebrews 12:2-3 says, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
I want to encourage you today. Our fears – while they protect us – can overcome us, and our self interests can become barriers. But what is greater is the presence of the Lord in our lives. And please remember there are people who do not know God’s faithfulness or are even aware of it. So I pray you are a light and a beacon of hope in the world that sometimes seems so dark.
I want to talk with just for a moment about how we are proceeding in ministry at St Matthew and what we will emphasize this Fall.
A Safe and friendly environment:
Some haven’t been back at church yet. I want you to know we have procedures and policies we’re following to do our best to keep this a safe place. Our Board of Directors is prayerfully monitoring our mask policy so that people know what to expect. We want people to feel safe when they gather with us.
In person worship.
As church, we gather in the Lord’s name in public worship services. Beginning September 20 our service times will be 8:30 and 10:30 AM. Connection with God is what we are created and redeemed for and I hope this not a light matter to you. We will continue work our hearts out to do this well. Lori is working to have a Jam time in each service for children ages 3 through 5th grade. In a moment, you’ll hear from Pastor Starner about our next step In the area of worship.
We will continue to emphasize online worship services. We know that for some online is their preferred method of hearing God’s Word. We will continue to host our worship services online and we want to expand this online ministry to connect with and help people take their next spiritual steps. In order to accomplish this Pastor Starner’s role has added some responsibilities and been modified to include this work such that Worship Arts ministry has been become a separate ministry.
Hi everyone! Pastor Matthew here.
You know, the past few months have been pretty exciting around here as we’ve been using this time to get ready to enhance our online worship services.
Since March, we’ve been pre-recording our services and that’s helped us to really improve the quality of the video that we stream each week. But the goal even back before COVID was to make it so our live stream would be as good as when we pre-record it – that the audio and video quality great and helps people to have a distraction free time of worship with us.
And now, we’re getting close to being able to do that! New cameras are being installed in both the Family Life Center and the Sanctuary, we’ve pulled somewhere close to 4000 feet of cable throughout the building, and we’re building a system that will really bring our live, online services to the next level.
Clearly, even without a pandemic, making our services accessible online is here to stay and we’re committed to doing that with excellence!
To do that, we have to expand our team – both staff and volunteers.
You may have seen that St Matthew is looking for a worship arts leader. That doesn’t mean that I’m going anywhere! It means that the job here has gotten bigger than just I can do and we need to bring someone else on who can help. More information about that position is available on our website and if you know someone who would be a good fit, send them our way!
We’re also going to need to grow our volunteer team. We’ll need camera operators, people running sound and slides, and other aspects of the new system. If you’re at all interested in learning any of these roles, come talk to me!
Our hope is that the system will be finished and we’ll be able to broadcast LIVE worship from both services some time this fall and we’ll continue to strive to do it with excellence as we make our worship accessible to those near or far who cannot be with us in person.
We know interaction with others is how we grow and so we are reinvigorating our small groups based on the comfort level people have about face to face meetings. Think about it as a red, yellow, or green spectrum.
Red groups are those who are comfortable with only a virtual gathering right now. Yellow groups are more cautious about meeting together, usually with people they know and are comfortable with. Green groups are much more comfortable meeting in person.
I’d ask that each one search your heart to identify where you are on the red yellow green spectrum and then join with us with a group. That will be a separate emphasis but I want you to be aware of that and start praying about that.
Because of the uncertainty of the present time, we are not confident that we can offer Sunday school or Bible classes at church this year. This is very difficult because we all need teaching – young and old. We are asking everyone to join in what we are calling St Matthew in the Word. We want to walk through the Word together in ways that feed us and speak to us at wherever we are on our walk with Jesus. For families with young kids, we are even providing a copy of The Story Bible. And we will tell where in the Bible you read for those who read the Bible itself. You’ll hear more about this in our sermon and next week, Lori and I will tell explain this in more detail. Watch more more information online as we get ready to kick off this Bible reading journey on the 27th.
So worship, a group, and growth. These are 3 things I am praying for each of you and inviting you to be part of this fall.
We end every service with the blessing of Num 6:24 – the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace – and I pray the Lord continues to work His peace, His true peace in you.