Church online has been working for lots of us.
As a matter of fact, it kind of saved our butts during the “stay safe, stay at home” order.
We've heard from all of you about church online.
Some of you have said “it’s just not the same”. And we agree. It hasn’t been the same for us either.
And others are saying “What do you mean come back to church? I never left; I’m online”.
Let’s be honest it is convenient to just watch from home. I mean we've all dreamed at one time about just being able to go to church in our jammies.
So here is what we have to say to all of you
“The Doors of the church are open again and we welcome you home. When you are ready".
As shepherd’s of God’s people, our primary concern is that church has become an “option” for a culture that glorifies busyness and that far too many people are not going to make it back to church.
However, we must remind you that the local church is one of only two institutions that God ordained for his people (and in case you are wondering, the other is marriage). So I guess you could say church matters to God. And if it matters to God………..it has to matter to us too.
So we wanted to help lay a foundation for you in your decision making about when and how to safely return to church.
1. Drift is imminent without connection.
People are designed to be in community. And as your Pastors we have seen what happens to those who choose to “go it alone” versus those who remain in community. Drift from God is almost always the result of spiritual isolation. It is true that no one has to attend church to be a Christian. As a matter of fact, at Cornerstone we talk about how each one of us has a story to tell, uniquely your story, but your story becomes a part of our story when we join together in community. And every story we hear told reminds us again and again that those Christians with the more vibrant walk with Jesus regularly attend a worship service and are actively involved in their church community.
It’s not about sin. It takes nothing more than the busyness and pressure of everyday life to allow your walk with God to become a part of your life rather than the center of your life.
Drift from God will happen. Unintentionally. And the church is the primary leader, encourager, and teacher for maintaining an intentional, growing, vibrant faith.
2. Our worldview shapes how we live our lives.
We hear that word a lot. Worldview. Defined it is simply the set of values and beliefs about the fundamental aspects of reality that ground and influence our perception, thoughts, knowledge and actions. Life is challenging. And confusing. And if we want to maintain our Christian worldview we have to be actively involved in conversations that help us figure out how to live in the middle of the complex, ever changing culture we live in. This is one of the many roles that the church fulfills in our lives. And each one of us has to decide who or what is going to shape our worldview……….the Word of God or modern culture?
Even Christians don’t always agree………. But together we can wrestle through those tough decisions. And it’s having those conversations that sharpen us and stretch us and grow us (and build relationship with one another).
3. Living a vibrant spiritual life often requires coaching. Even with coaching most of us will readily admit we have lived a far from perfect life. But imagine how lost we could be right now if it wasn’t for the coaches that God put in our path to encourage us and redirect us in those moments. A coach can come in many forms: someone who helps you wrestle through a tough decision you are facing, a Pastor who helps you navigate a difficult family situation or a spiritual mentor who helps you develop the leader in you. No matter what a coach looks like to you, it should be someone with a vibrant spiritual walk, actively involved in a church community.
4. The church is a light in your community. God has given you gifts and abilities that only you have so that you can use them to serve others. Just as we need the church; the church needs you. The primary mission of the local church is to serve its community and it can do that so much better when we all roll up our sleeves and serve and reach the lost and hurting together.
5. Healthy habits bring stability. A healthy life consists of healthy patterns and rhythms based on biblical principles. For example, a balanced diet and some form of exercise form a healthy foundation for our lives. Similarly, a consistent connection with a body of believers become a strong foundation on which to build a vibrant spiritual life. We get it. No church is perfect. Why? Because it’s made up of imperfect people. Yet even the most imperfect church can become a stable foundation for a wonderful, vibrant, loving life. And you will make even the most imperfect church better. We say that at Cornerstone a lot. Our church is better because you are here. Those aren't just words to make you feel good. They are our truth. Cornerstone needs you and your gifts and your heart for eachother and those who are lost and hurting. Together we can make the world a little bit better.
So our doors are open.
We are waiting.
With arms wide open.
For your return.