Never waste a crises.

I had a good friend tell me, “Never waste a good crisis.” When you step back after recovering from a crisis, you find that fruit is grown from times of radical change. You also see what’s most important. Crises are not just troubling times, but they can be if you keep your head, centering, and adaptive times that push you forward, not pull you back. I heard someone on television say that times of crisis just make what’s already happened, happen more quickly. They accelerate opportunities. I would argue they also can congeal a community. That’s what I think has been happening here. As I sat in my office here at church, alone … phones weren’t ringing, people weren’t coming, and I looked at weeks of quarantine for our church, one of the things that most troubled me about the quarantine was all our people.

  • How were they going to cope?
  • How were they going to show care?
  • How were they going to get fed?
  • How were we going to be the church in all this?
  • How was the staff going to be safe and still do their job?

Another thought came about ten days later from the outside, rather than the inside, was how were we going to reach out to people? It’s been weeks later now, so I thought maybe we should look back. Church members are doing just fine. From what I’m hearing, everyone is doing well. The one thing I hear everyone say is they miss everyone. This makes me over-joyed. I can’t tell you how concerned I was. I was afraid everyone would spiritually starve! No kidding! My heart went out to all of you. I called A LOT of people. I wrote A LOT of blogs … A few learnings here:

1. Everyone was doing well. Your faith was intact. You were finding ways to feed your souls. You were applying the lessons you’ve learned, and God was filling you with faith and grace to get through all this well! To be honest, the calling was starting to weaken. There wasn’t enough time in the day to call everyone, so we started a ‘HOPE Connector’ care caller list. Several people agreed to do this, and the entire church is connected and cared for! In a way, it never had been before!

Another concern was spiritually feeding all of you. Well, I learned that some of you had found on your own, new feeding stations on the internet, in books, and some of you picked up your Bibles.

2. Then we had our Small Group leaders get creative and do FaceTime, Zoom, and with the help of Reynold, Microsoft Teams. What a blessing that was. Everyone was hungry for it and grew from it. We’ve since learned to even show videos on these platforms! Look out world. Teresa’s Facebook site became our main portal of faith teaching. Facebook Live helped turn our church into a little production studio. If I could, I’d give Reynold an academy award for best director, best cinematography, best producer, best sound engineer, etc, etc. Reynold and Jean also helped me film videos and devotional posts too. And Gary has begun to post devotionals as well! How amazing! Sharon Wingate came through with her usually superb graphics and song lyrics to support. We purchased songs and videos to support each week’s theme. Jean produced our ‘Go Deeper’ outlines, which we will continue. Benjamin humbly allowed the spirit to flow through him in word and in song, and Joel has been such a great blessing musically to our services. Through it all, we’ve reached our people, touched old friends, and made new ones as well. How cool is that? The only weak spot I see is the skits, and I promise their shelf life is almost over! (Jean inventoried wardrobe and she told me it’s about empty. ☺)

We’ve had new things emerge as well … Diane stepped up with a prayer time from 8 to 9 every Tuesday and Thursday morning on Facebook Messenger, growing our prayer life that has been a big desire of mine. It happened during a crisis! Again, we started a ‘HOPE Connector’ care caller’s ministry. On top of that, God blessed us with the opportunity to feed many people and make new connections with our community. We had many volunteers over the three-week period. More than I could have ever imagined, and it both affirmed our direction to reach out to the community and made me ask the question, “Lord, what do we do next?!”

I’m here to tell you that our staff is just as amazing as before. I mentioned Benjamin already. Friends, what a great gift he is to us. We are just scratching the surface of his talent and our church’s reach through him. Jenny, on her own proactively started making video lessons for families, and I have to say, two stars have been born; yes, Jenny, but her daughter, Olive as well! Carolyn has been a superstar. She managed a leaky roof, a rundown fence, all of our financials, and our renters from afar. She’s put up with all my questions and ideas and has been as always, just a great servant. Jean is now the #2 camera person for the church. She is also our print room coordinator, who takes things from a draft to publication! I do believe Jean has the most colored masks in our church, and as she whizzes by, I can say, “Who was that masked person?” Just like I did when I watched the Lone Ranger on TV as a kid.

Well, I’m here to tell you that, not only are you going to make it, but so is Pointe of Hope! God’s grace and goodness are truisms in all this. We are coming out of this crisis more techy, more connected, and more willing to serve than before. Our hearts have been made tenderer, and our faith has grown stronger, which is a positively dangerous barometer for the future! Look out Devil!

I am very proud and thankful for all of you. Thank you for your prayers, your extra effort, your willingness to try new things, to put up with me as I get a little stir crazy, and I thank you too, for your generous giving in all aspects. I’ve had calls from Gary asking how I was … and from Mike Christie almost every day … Laura, Diane, Benjamin, and Wade with his happy hour, Jack and Juliet and Chuck with their nice words. I’ve had treats from Jean, a new phone stand from Reynold, and many yes’s from so many! Thank you to you all for the prayers and support! Poor Joan has watched me struggle and do too much (my ongoing sin) and as always, stepped in with a centering word or two. Thank you for your grace with me, and I will continue to offer grace and love to you all as well!

The future awaits us. Soon we will most likely be coming back together. As we transition, I want you to know we have no expectations for you. We will try to respect social distancing and be measured. Elbow bumps for all! We also will try to continue to offer great video from Facebook Live. So again, there is no pressure to return sooner than you are ready. Teresa has also been working hard behind the scenes and will be bringing forward a phone app and a new website with a new look, new services, and more needs for volunteers.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2-3 (NLT)