Wow, what a year it has been in the Nashville area. First, we were hit with tornados that swept across Tennessee. Second, COVID-19 brought about the closing of churches, businesses, and stay at home orders that put us all in seclusion. Third, this past weekends storms knocked down trees, damaged homes, and cut off electricity to thousands of homes in our area, including mine. I don’t know about you but I’m ready to get out of this valley so we can start having some mountaintop experiences!
That is partly why I am sending you this update now. Over the past several weeks the elders and I have been meeting every Wednesday at 4:00 PM to pray and seek God on the safest ways we can start gathering in New Hope’s facility again. I know how important it is for the church to gather as a body and participate in worship together through song and the preaching of God’s Word. Many of you have joined us for the Livestream of the worship service and I am happy to report that New Hope Online continues to REACH an audience that is much larger than the actual size of the church. I put REACH in bold italics because it is the first word in the mission of New Hope, which is to REACH our community with the message of Christ. Long story short, New Hope has grown over the past few months. This has been reflected in the viewing audience and online giving. That is definitely a wonderful silver lining in these crazy times!
New Hope Online will continue to grow and we have plans to have more ministry programming available that extend beyond New Hope’s worship service, but I’ll have more info at that when the time is right. For now, let’s discuss in person gatherings.
Throughout the past month I have been approached with a myriad of thoughts and opinions on if, when, and how New Hope should resume physical gatherings at the facility. Until recently, Governor Lee had asked churches to follow the Stay at Home order and directed congregations to online worship services, but with the Stay at Home order now lifted and things beginning to open up a little, churches are receiving a little more freedom to make decisions on gathering again. This still creates a challenge for us because there is a lot of planning and work that must go into making sure the facility is prepped and ready to follow guidelines that will keep congregants safe and healthy. Cleaning, sanitizing, traffic flow, distancing, and other safety measures (such as the use of facial masks and gloves) are all items that must be considered.
With that being said, I would like to hear how the congregation feels about moving forward with physical gatherings at New Hope. Lifeway Stores recently put together a congregational survey that will help us hear your voice in this matter. We have adjusted the survey to meet New Hope’s language. It would be very helpful if you took the time to answer these questions. Your answers will remain anonymous.
You can take the anonymous survey HERE.
Thank you for taking the time to do this. I look forward to being able to worship together with you soon.
Pastor Josh Huisman