Pastor’s Note – June 18, 2020

In Pastor's Note by Schweitzer UMC

Friends,

This is a big week for us. This week we start the process of reopening. You can find all the information about reopening on our website: sumc.co/reopening.

As we are approaching reopening, I’ve been reflecting on some of the things I’ve learned in the last 14 weeks (yes, it’s been 14 weeks!!). Let me share one of those things with you today: You don’t need to come in-person to be part of the church family. 

Before our shutdown, I used to think of online ministry as a bridge to being in-person. I know a lot of churches live-stream their Sunday morning worship. We were posting a video of our sermon each week. My thinking was that the online experience was a “taste” of what it was like to come in-person. The goal was to be in-person.

What I’ve seen over the last 14 weeks is that we can do effective ministry through a virtual platform. In the last 14 weeks we’ve…

  • baptized people,
  • had Confirmation,
  • received new members,
  • hosted classes and groups,
  • seen our church family be incredibly generous with their offerings,
  • and we’re about to launch a new way of doing VBS in a “block party” model.

It’s been amazing to see how our reach has grown as we embraced online ministry. For instance, we have people who have signed up to host VBS Block Parties in the Springfield area and in Joplin, Kansas City, and St Louis!

As we come back to in-person ministry, we are entering a new season in our church where we will be a both/and church. You can be part of our church family through both in-person and online.

As we’ve embraced this both/and approach, we’ve also realized that we will need to make a shift to how we do communion. Beginning in July, we will begin to offer communion to both our in-person worshipers and our online worshipers. This is something I’ve been personally hesitant about but recognize how important it is to include everyone as part of our church family. (We will have more instructions on communion in the next couple of weeks.)

God is faithful.

Spencer