In the past few weeks, the spread of the Coronavirus has escalated to such a large scale, affecting businesses, the economy, and normal day-to-day life. As we navigate this very unique time, our heart as the people of God is to walk in deep wisdom, love, and fellowship with the Lord and with one another. While the outbreak can easily lead to fear and panic, our hearts are to press into Jesus, letting Him be our peace for us and for those around us and doing our part to help slow the spread of the virus. As you probably know, the restrictions on large-group gatherings have been instituted as a means to slow the spread of the virus so that there is continued capacity to treat people medically. Through the recommendations of the CDC as well as the people in our community with medical knowledge, we feel it is wise to temporarily shift what our gatherings will look like in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus. While the majority of us are at a much lesser risk of the virus being fatal to us, we feel it is both wise and loving to comply with these recommendations. The good news is that Jesus is still building His Church, and we see in the early church believers gathering together house-to-house encountering Jesus, meeting needs, and living in fellowship with one another. While we have loved this transition season for us as a church embracing a new gathering space, Sunday Gatherings are just a part of our expression of our love for Jesus. Deep life-on-life, worship, fellowship, repentance, and obedience take place when even a few believers gather together, so our hope is to embrace these values all the more in this season. As we've spoken with different individuals inside and outside of our church the past few days, we see a variety of feelings towards the virus. Some feel nervous about it reaching their loved ones, others feel society might be overreacting, others feel we aren't taking it serious enough. Regardless of where we individually fall, there is a need for what Ephesians 4 exhorts: "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Our hope is that Jesus goes deeper in us and those around us as we press into Him during this outbreak.
During our normal Sunday Gathering times, our hope is that we will embrace this opportunity to gather in smaller groups and families to fellowship, worship, pray, and read the word of God. Each week we will be sending out a brief message that you can watch together as a group. Please keep gatherings to 10 people or less, so your lifegroup can meet in multiple locations if you decide to meet together on Sundays. Reach out to one of your lifegroup leaders if you have any questions about this. If you feel nervous about being in small groups because of the virus, we don't want you to feel pressured to attend any small gatherings.
Similar to Sundays Gatherings, we want to continue to embody the value of meeting house-to-house in our Lifegroups for those who are healthy and able. We don't want you to feel any shame about not being able to attend for any reason though. If you are nervous about the spread of the virus, we encourage you to discuss this with your Lifegroup leader. If you think you are showing symptoms of the virus, have come into contact with someone that has the virus, or have had contact in a high-risk environment, it would be wise not to attend. Other alternatives exist such as FaceTiming in to the gathering; so we encourage you to utilize an alternative to meeting in person if any of those situations apply to you. If your Lifegroup gathering will exceed 10 people, then for the time being please set up to meet in multiple locations, or simply meet as a guys group and a girls group during the current restrictions.
We believe this can be a time God goes deeper in us as a people, so we want to stay pressing in to Jesus and one another! A few ways you can do this are:
-Reaching out if you feel isolated
-Expressing need as it comes up (Relationally, Financially, Spiritually)
-Reaching out to others in the community
-Praying with us as we send out daily ways to press in together
-Signing up for a prayer slot with your lifegroup or family as a part of the 24/7 prayer amongst the Antioch network (see below)
As this virus has affected many people's abilities to work, travel, and eat, we want to be people who fill needs! We are currently seeking out ways we can be serving our Little Rock community during this time and will be updating you as any needs arise. Additionally, we know people in our community will have various needs come up, so if you know of a need, please contact Bobby or your Lifegroup leader so we can make sure we respond in any way we can. If you yourself have a financial, spiritual, or other practical need, please let us know so we be the church!
Lastly, we are wanting to partake in a prayer movement happening all across the Antioch network of churches during this season. The focus will be both on the coronavirus as well as various needs among our nation and the nations across the world. The goal is to have 24/7 prayer happening, lifting up both needs and praises to God as we believe for breakthrough. If you individually, your family, or your lifegroup want to sign up, you can choose a time slot and prayer focus at Antio.ch/prayer.
We're grateful that God is going to continue to give us grace and wisdom to invest in His purposes in our church and our city during this virus outbreak. Our hope is that this actually takes us to a deeper, further aligned place with Him and His purposes as we utilize this opportunity to further unite ourselves to Him and one another. We're praying that this results in His glory and the strengthening of His people in our city! We hope you know during this time you are loved, seen, and fought for!