“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15)
Since Covid-19 hit I have been inundated with questions from others, but mostly within myself, as to how we do church. Not just worship. That part has been clear. We have to worship online. It’s not optimal but it suffices. Some have even said how hard it will be one day to get used to getting out of their pajamas and actually going to church on Sunday mornings again!
As well, we have made a great transition to classes and groups by Zoom. Again, not optimal. We aren’t sitting right beside each other. But it has kept us connected in an amazingly meaningful way.
Not even missions has really suffered. Sure, safety measures limit some of the ways we extend care and hope to people, but we are indeed giving practical expressions of hope every day.
But one of the questions that has haunted me most is this: what does it mean to bring someone to church? I have lamented that in an increasingly de-churched and un-churched society. Covid-19 will hasten the demise of the church. But I’m starting to think differently.
Last Sunday afternoon my daughter Julie called to share a recent experience. Julie is part of a yoga fellowship where she and a “mentor” stay in contact for accountability and encouragement. Her mentor lives in Boston and shared that she and her husband had recently left their church. It was fairly conservative and was not very open to gay people and stood opposite where they did on many social issues. She explained to Julie that it's been hard to leave many good friends and they felt they were just done with church, at least for a time.
Julie told her that she understood, and while she might need a break from church for a while, when she was ready she should try St. Luke’s. She explained how we are an open community, welcoming and receptive toward all people. Julie promised to send her a link and the woman thanked her but with little promise that she would use it any time soon.
Julie was shocked to get an email from her early Sunday afternoon explaining how she “went to St. Luke’s that morning,” and was blown away by AnchorPoint with Pastor Regina, and then the worship service and Nicole’s sermon. She spoke as if she had found a new church home.
This story turned my thinking significantly. Instead of being the death-knell to church connection, maybe Covid-19 has been a lifeline. There’s never been an easier way to invite others to church—just send a link! That’s all we have to do -- encourage people to watch the service, experience St. Luke’s for themselves and let God do the rest.
So who can you invite to St. Luke’s? Never has it been so easy to offer hope. It’s just a link away…