Dear friends in Christ,
We’re in around our sixth month of online worship services and even though we’ve been able to welcome 25 people per service back to the sanctuary since June, it remains that virtual church doesn’t have the same kind of accountability as full, in-person worship. We believe that the Holy Spirit works faith through the Word of God, and the internet can transmit that Word, but the pastor has a harder time shepherding the flock when his sheep are invisible to him. He may not know whether they are still following or have left the fold and the faith. I very much appreciate however those of you who have “chatted in” on Facebook Live during the service because at least I know you’re out there. I’ve heard from some of you that you prefer to watch the service later in the day, or even the week, but I have no idea how many of you or exactly who does that.
Nevertheless, I think I have a fairly decent idea as to how many of our church members are participating in the spiritual and worship life of the congregation—about 75 percent. That’s slightly higher than what was reported in a recent survey by the Barna Group, which found that one-third of regular churchgoers questioned said they did not watch services online and put church completely on pause during the apex of the pandemic. The number was even higher for those in the millennial generation. Another interesting figure in Barna’s research: when asked if they had contact with a church leader at all in the past month, only 30 percent of practicing Christians replied “yes.”
At this point it’s hard for church leaders to gleam some meaning from all this data. We pray God will end the pandemic sooner than later—all in His time of course—and we’ll be safe to meet together again before we’ve even figured out what it all means. In the meantime we press on as the Church, worshipping our God in response to His Word and all He has done for us. After all, we have much to be thankful for including the fact that the church is still together, the campus is intact and looking good; the preschool is in session, some of our ministries our continuing via Zoom, volunteers are still serving in a multitude of ways, and praise God, the Holy Spirit is bringing children to the saving waters of baptism.
On a separate page I’m going to outline a few things happening within our circuit. Some of you might not know what a circuit is, so I’ll explain that as well. There is an important decision coming up for the voter’s assembly before the Northwest District LCMS convention next spring, so I want to give you ample opportunity to consider it.
The peace of the Lord be with you,