As you all know, I have been speaking consistently about a need for the Church in America to be different, and showing opportunities where we can be more like Jesus. I hope it has been said in such a way as to convey that I don’t have all the answers because I truly don’t. My heart is there, but I often don’t know where or how we are to specifically act in some situations. I recognize that none of us, myself included, can affect much change beyond our own church, so for this message to you I am going to shift to just what we as a church can do differently.
Let’s start with an area that is clear in Scripture, but has been a struggle for us as a church. Part of our worship is being obedient to the authorities in our world. Paul writes clearly, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1). Paul doesn’t just say it once, but several times. He writes to Titus, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1). He really presses the issue of obedience and submission as our way of modeling Christ to the world around us.
As a church, we have talked about this a lot, even as recently as the last couple of weeks in Daniel. I have personally felt inconsistent in this area, knowing that LA County had issued guidelines that we were not adhering to. Using Daniel as an example, I wanted to find where and how we are to draw our lines. If you have not seen the Daniel messages I am talking about you can find them on our website at www.GenFamily.church.
If you are not aware of the issue, here is a quick summary: LA County instituted a mask mandate about three weeks ago for indoor gatherings on church campuses. It was met with a lot of criticism, honestly from everyone. I was hoping that the disagreement would result in a change in the mandate, or maybe a decrease in cases would occur, but that hasn’t been the case. The cases are not decreasing and I believe our current mandate will be with us for a while.
Again, using Scripture as our guide and the messages from Daniel as examples, I know a change is needed for us to faithfully follow God and be good witnesses in our community. Before requiring masks at church I wanted to see if there was a solution that honors God and is best for our church. The young men in Daniel knew where and how to draw their boundaries, as well as how to obey well.
With the help of my amazing leaders, I think we have found our solution. Here is our plan moving forward.
Starting on Sunday, August 29th we will begin worshiping outdoors. We will do one service at 10 am each Sunday. Masks are not required outdoors so it honors the LA County mandate. That allows us to be consistent with Scripture and still honors our church’s desire to worship without facial masks. More details about children’s ministry and other things are to come. Our 2021 goal at Generations is to fully embrace all areas of ministry, not allowing guidelines to prevent us. This means we will adjust how we do midweek on-campus gatherings as well. You will hear details from our leaders in the next few days.
Please know that behind the scenes are always conversations and ideas about how we can best lead and serve you as a church.
I look forward to seeing you online or in-person this Sunday, at either our 9 am or 11 am service. We will make the change to outdoors on the 29th of August.
|PASTOR JEFF LUDINGTON