Hey Purpose Claremont,
I wanted to share with you some info and reminders in light of the COVID-19 (i.e. “coronavirus”) pandemic that is before us. Some of this will be practical information for us as a community while some will be a word of encouragement and call to the mission of being the church during this fear-filled time for so many.
First of all, please know that the cleanliness of the Western Christian campus continues to be a major priority to Western as well as to us as it always has been. The quality of care and cleanliness of the campus will continue.
Some have asked if we will continue to meet together in worship gatherings. The answer is yes and no. Being that the board of health of Los Angeles County has advised groups of 50 or more to not meet, we are moving forward in the following ways:
- Thursday evenings, because our attendance is usually between 30-50, we will still be meeting. Purpose Kids on Thursday evenings will still be meeting.
- For Sunday mornings, we are encouraging everyone to stay home or get together with home church members or others in your family to watch a live stream worship service through the Purpose Claremont Facebook page.
These changes will be on a week-to-week basis. We will be sending out updates through Mailchimp, the website, social media, Slack, and any other avenue of communication that we can come up with.
Some of you may wonder how you can continue to give to the ministry of Purpose Church Claremont if we’re not meeting together on Sunday mornings. For those of you wondering about that, you can still give online or mail in your financial support. If you mail in your financial support, please mail to:
586 N. Main Street
Pomona, CA. 91768
In the memo section please write “Claremont campus.” If you don’t know how to give online, click here and follow the instructions.
We, along with the Pomona campus of Purpose Church, are implementing these types of precautions to make sure that we are caring best for our community while still connecting as a community that is on a mission together. This is not a decision that is being made from a place of fear. Rather, it’s a decision based on caution.
And now to remind us all of the call to Christ’s mission:
Over the centuries the church has always responded in times of distress, trial and fear with bringing the hope and healing that comes with following Jesus. In the mid-third century, a plague ravaged the Roman Empire. There are estimates that 5,000 people died every day just within the empire city of Rome. And what was the church’s response? The went in toward the need because of how Jesus came toward our need.
John Horgan, assistant professor of history at Concordia University-Wisconsin, wrote this: “Christians played an active role in caring for the ill as well as actively providing care in the burial of the dead. Those Christians who themselves perished from the illness claimed martyrdom while offering non-believers who would convert the possibility of rewards in the Christian afterlife. Ultimately this episode not only strengthened but helped to spread Christianity throughout the furthest reaches of the empire and Mediterranean world” (emphasis mine).
Caroline Wizer made this observation: “Seeing the pestilence as an opportunity to put their most deeply-held beliefs into action, early Christians beatifically set about caring for the sick and giving proper burials to the dead” (emphasis mine). So in other words: the church still acted and loved and lived like the Jesus that they followed.
So as we move forward in this time we have a choice: move forward in fear or move forward by faith. Fear is a natural response to any scary situation. Don’t feel guilty in any way for having some type of fear pop up in your soul. But it’s in that time when fear shows up that we have to make a decision: to rise above the fear and move forward in faith or be paralyzed by fear all the while missing the opportunity to impact others with the gospel. We, as the church, have the opportunity to introduce people to Jesus and the hope and peace that comes with knowing him. We have a chance once again to preach the gospel to people so that they too can know God through Jesus. We have an opportunity to meet the needs of those in our community who may be impacted in any way by this. And we have the right to go before the God who is still on his throne and is still in control to pray. So pray. Pray for God to eliminate COVID-19. Pray that God’s healing would flow through the world. Pray for the gospel to reach more people than ever before. Pray for each other, that faith would bring us hope and move us forward in missional boldness to bring people to Jesus.
These words that we looked at a few weeks ago, that God spoke to Joshua, still apply to us today: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, ESV).
The church, over the centuries, has always stepped up in times of crisis and adversity in such beautifully bold and amazing ways with the gospel of Jesus. This is our time to continue that tradition of loving God and loving others well. By God’s grace, God’s power, and God’s presence, we can do this.
I’m so honored to get to walk forward in God’s mission with you. Thank you so much for allowing me that privilege. Our community is the most amazing community of believers that I have ever been a part of.
Love you all more than you know,