The coronavirus has changed the landscape of our lives in unimaginable ways in the last few weeks. We know many of you have been very seriously affected. As a church we are affected as well. Our prevailing practice for discipleship has been getting people to physically attend meetings with us. This is no longer possible. Guidance from Vineyard Churches tells us we can no longer meet in person on Sundays nor in small groups for the foreseeable future. Nearly every other church group says the same; RCCG, Elim, Baptist Union, CofE, New Life, Praise House etc. But Jesus said he would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Jesus always equips his church to thrive in every environment.
Here are 3 ways we believe Jesus is empowering us thrive in this time:
Until further notice we will not meet for a 10:30am service at St Mary’s nor for a 6pm service at Project B. Instead we will publish on our website and on Youtube a live-stream of a “service” from our home at 10:30am every Sunday. Jesus started this church in our dining room. We believe close to 1000 people have been through that room and have encountered Jesus in some way. He can meet with you in your dining room or living room or kitchen every bit as much as he has met us in ours.
We will no longer meet in person for small groups. Instead, over the next fortnight we are re-working our mid-week groups so that you can connect with and grow with a few people through some simple online tools. This will enable people who are self-isolating to be right at the center of what God is doing through this church and, we think, might actually improve the support structure of the church. Indeed the church in Singapore has been doing this for over a month and they have found it has enriched relationships and discipleship in their churches.
Finally, and sadly, due to government guidelines we will be suspending all our current midweek Love Croydon initiatives such as English School, Street Cafe, the Easter Production, Money Courses, the Marriage Course and Alpha. However, we believe this new environment presents an unprecedented opportunity for us as individuals to show love and support to our neighbours. In the next few weeks we will be looking to equip you to care for your community in a way that is both appropriate and powerful.
We will be in touch again very soon but, for now, we really encourage you to push into connecting with us through our website and to reach out to others through digital means. If you are feeling low, isolated or just need some help with some stuff please do call on the church - we are here for you.
We really hope you join us for the service that will stream this coming Sunday morning 10.30am. In the meantime, we have posted a short video message which you can access through the link below that reiterates the above message and gives some extra encouragement!
With much affection,
Tom & Lesley Thompson
Senior Pastors, Croydon Vineyard