Hi Shoreline family and friends,
I love you and am praying for you. This pandemic has been difficult on everyone and I am praying God will use it to grow our faith and love for Him, as well as our love for one another. The Lord has greatly and continually humbled me over the last few months and I am truly grateful. I want to thank you for all your prayers and for being so gracious as we have tried to navigate difficult waters.
I sent out a letter to our church on May 20th (I will quote from it and you can find it here) where I explained why we temporarily stopped physically gathering and moved our services online. I argued “public safety falls under the sphere of governmental authority” and since the stay at home order was generally applied and not content specific we should comply. I also gave several criteria for when I believed biblically civil disobedience would be right and necessary. First, if the government told us to not worship God (or preach the gospel or deny Christ in some way) we would not comply because worship is “clearly outside the sphere of governmental authority. We would disobey man in order to obey God” (Acts 4:19). Second, if the government allowed other “congregating crowds,” but continued to ban religious congregating then the order would move from an issue of public safety to an issue of religious discrimination. Such a situation would be a “dividing line” and we would immediately meet in person to worship. Third, if at some point the government’s orders “become completely unreasonable, then we will begin to meet.” While I believe there are other criteria as well, I still believe in the biblical and theological reasoning and veracity of these criteria. Thankfully, soon after sending the letter the governor lifted the stay at home order for churches and we began to meet in person while streaming the service online for those who are high risk.
Last week the governor put out new guidance for churches, which includes a prohibition of singing or chanting in public worship services. The order is neither generally applied nor is it content neutral. I shared with our church Sunday that as for now we are going to continue to sing praises to the Lord for two reasons. First, as stated before, God simply has not given government the authority to dictate the content of a worship service no matter how well intentioned the motivation. We must acknowledge God’s absolute sovereignty when it comes to how we worship. Second, in the Bible from the time of Moses (Exodus 15) all the way to the early church (Eph 5:19), God’s people have gathered to sing praise to the Lord (Psalm 150). Paul told the church in Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
I understand there may be those who disagree with this decision. People of good faith and conscience can disagree. The apostle Paul said God has received us, therefore, we are to receive one another and not despise one another due to issues of conscience (Rom 14:1-6). Let’s rejoice that God has received all of us in Christ, and “with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 15:6). If you cannot sing and worship in faith and with a clear conscious before the Lord due to health concerns or to the governor’s order, then I encourage you to join us online so that you can sing unto the Lord with a pure heart.
I want to encourage us to pray. We must pray we never develop a spirit of rebellion, and for the Lord to give us grace to have a humble and submissive spirit that honors God. We must fervently love and pray for our leaders. Our government officials are having to make many difficult decisions in very difficult circumstances. There simply are no painless or perfect solutions where everyone will agree. We are all having to think through things we have never faced and as fallible humans will inevitably make some mistakes along the way. We should pray for our leaders to make good decisions (1 Tim 2:1-3) and give them grace when they make mistakes. We must continue to honor those in authority (1 Peter 2:17) in every way we can while being faithful to God. As always, I am happy to discuss any of this with you. The Lord has taught me so much through you, and I desire to grow in wisdom as I learn from each of you. May God bless you richly.
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Dear Shoreline Family,
To be sure, the church is not a place, it is a people; but the church is a people
who gathers to worship God. The Greek word translated church means “assembly.”
The church by definition gathers for worship. We have a desire for corporate worship,
but we want to make sure that we can do so as safely as possible. We want to be able
to meet for worship in a way that demonstrates and communicates our love for each
other, our community, and most of all the Lord. We want to share with you our plans for
when we worship in person and ask that our members and workers read our plan as we
prepare to worship together.
Click here to view full plan.
The question we are all asking is when we will resume in person worship services? The answer to that question is, “Soon, Lord willing.” We have decided on a “Returning to Church Plan,” and you can find it here. The Governor has announced health guidelines being released for in person worship services; so our plans may be modified, but these are our plans for now. We also are considering meeting outside in our courtyard initially.
Another question we have asked is why have we not met in person for so long, and why are we not meeting immediately? I want to address those questions directly. As believers and as a church we have many biblical commands and sometimes it is difficult to know how they apply in any given situation (especially the complexity of a pandemic). I want to share my thinking and heart with you. I also want to say it is okay if you disagree with my reasoning (I have changed my view over the last few weeks as well). These are complex issues of balance and proportionality and there is certainly room for us to disagree in good conscience with one another and still exercise love. I think it is important to exercise humility and grace as we all seek “to live to the Lord” (Rom 14:8) in this pandemic. There are a host of important constitutional and political questions related to the Governor’s orders. These are very important questions for us as Americans, but I do not believe the church should make its decisions based upon politics or anything outside of Scripture. I have personally disagreed with many aspects of the government’s response, but I do not want to base what we do upon personal opinions of governmental actions.
I want to give two biblical reasons we have temporarily not met in person. First, Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love God supremely and love others as yourself, and upon these two laws hang all other laws. In light of the initial uncertainty and danger of Covid-19, we chose to exercise caution and temporarily move our services online. This decision would be wrong if motivated by fear, but I believe it was right because it was motivated by a love for others. As believers we do not fear death, but we also do not want to cause death either.
Second, the Bible says God has appointed the institution of government for the good of society, and by submitting to government we are submitting to God. This God-given authority, however, is limited because the Bible says we are to obey God rather than men. Jesus put it this way, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22:21). The government asked everyone to avoid all crowds and gatherings for health and life reasons and public safety falls under the sphere of governmental authority. If the government told us to not preach the gospel, or to not worship God, or to deny Christ in some way, we would not comply because those issues are clearly outside the sphere of governmental authority. We would disobey man in order to obey God. If the government’s order was a matter of persecution of Christians or gospel proclamation, we would not comply because to comply would be to deny the supremacy of Christ. But I do not believe at this point the governor’s order is a matter of religious persecution. He has banned all congregating crowds, not just religious ones. He has even closed schools which are central to his personal ideological perspective and agenda. With that said, if at some point the government’s objective moves out of the realm of public safety and into the realm of persecution (the government were to open schools but not churches), we will immediately meet in person to worship- that is the dividing line. If the government’s orders become completely unreasonable, then we will begin to meet. I think we may be approaching both of these criteria in which civil disobedience would be necessary, but I do not think we are yet at that point; so I think patience (while government and judicial processes continue to work out the legal issues) is the most biblical and prudent course of action at this specific point in time. If civil disobedience becomes necessary and it may, we would do so not with a spirit of rebellion but with a humble and submissive spirit that honors God while lovingly praying for those in authority over us. With all that said, I anticipate we will be worship together in person soon. As always, I am happy to discuss any of this with anyone and everyone, and desire to grow in wisdom as I learn from each one of you. I look forward to seeing you soon. May God bless you richly.
Hi Shoreline Family,
We had a wonderful time worshiping online Sunday morning. I hope and pray the Lord is strengthening your faith and love for Him during this time. We want to let you know how our church is mobilizing online to do the ministry God has called us to do. Please let us know if you have a need (food, toilet paper, supplies, etc.) and we will do our best to help. If you are trying to help someone you know, we may be able to help as well. We do not want to miss an opportunity to love and serve one another and our community.
As I mentioned on Sunday it is important that we stay connected during this time. Below, you will find ways to do that.
Children and Youth Ministry
It is important that all of our students stay connected with each other and their leaders (the leaders are definitely missing them). Please encourage your kids to reach out to their leaders if they have a special need/request. We are also planning weekly meetings for them:
CHILDREN (1st-5th grade)
Our Life Groups are continuing to meet and connect online. Here is a list of the different groups and how to connect with them. Just click the name of the leader below to email them for more information or to be added to the group email list.
Dear Shoreline Family,
As most of you know, the state of California has issued a "stay at home" order. This means we will be unable to meet in person on Sunday morning, but we will still be meeting online! Please watch this video from Pastor Matt for details and a word of encouragement. There are links below for ways to watch the service.
This situation is in constant flux. For now we will plan on meeting online this way Sunday mornings. Once we have any updated information we will contact you.
Dear Shoreline Family,
We want to share with our church family our Coronavirus Response Plans. Of course, this is a fluid situation and can change at any point, but we want you to know our current response. We are certainly not panicked, but we want to do what we can to exercise caution. We plan to continue to have Life Group and Worship Service on Sunday, but in light of the virus we are taking the following precautions:
As believers, we are not to live by fear, but rather to live by faith. If you start to worry, I encourage you to pick up your Bible and spend time with the Lord in His Word and prayer. Let’s pray for one another, our neighbors, and most of all for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with others. I love all of you and if you have any needs let us know.
August 23rd – Friday - 9:00 AM – Planning Meeting: 2019-2020
You are invited to join us in planning our Agebuster excursions and luncheon programs for the 2019-2020 church year. You may pick up a “Planning Meeting Survey” form in the Connection Center. This will provide a list of some early ideas. Use the form to write down your ideas for excursions and luncheon programs for the upcoming year. Give to Bob Garcia before the meeting so he can include them for the planning day.
After our planning session we will go to Metro Pointe in Costa Mesa to view the premiere of the movie, “Overcomer.” It is from the creators of “War Room.” A discouraged basketball coach reluctantly agrees to manage the cross-country team. While his original state championship dreams are dashed, he and an up-and-coming track star both find hope through their faith. Lunch in the food court after the movie.
Every year, our group chooses a word or phrase to act as a goal for our young adult ministry to apply to our ministry events, outreach, and our own lives. In January of this year, Shoreline’s young adults got together and chose the phrase “Community Servants” to focus on for this year. The word “community” helps us focus on making our group a place where people can come if they need help, ears to listen, or just some friends to hang out with. Our group has been growing close and having different events outside of our bible study. We celebrated Lauren Stejskal graduating from Grand Canyon University by throwing dodgeballs at each other, we all went to see the Avengers End Game movie together, and we locked ourself in an “escape room” for Priscilla Ramierez’s birthday. We chose “servants” because we want our group to be more proactive in helping others. We have done a few events focused on this: we helped paint the upstairs Life Group hallway, we assisted multiple members of the church with various tasks around their homes, and we landscaped a church member’s yard by pulling weeds, adding wood chips, and planting hydrangeas!
We finally finished our study of Revelation and also finished a split study on Thursday nights, where the girls and guys split into their own studies. The girls were learning about how to create and sustain deeper friendships, while the guys were studying the disciplines of godly men. On Sunday mornings, our young adult life group, Voyage, has been going through all of the Old Testament Sunday school stories with flannel board illustrations and focusing on the details we missed as kids. It’s been so cool to see the typical Sunday school stories with adult eyes and attention spans! Now we’re studying Distorted Images of God (a topical study) on Thursday nights and Women in the New Testament (a character study) on Sunday mornings.
The most recent event we’ve had was our annual Summer Retreat at San Onofre State Campground from July 5th to the 7th. There were eight of us camping with quite a few visitors. Shout out to Danay Hoang and soon-to-be young adult Lainey Sneddon for coming down to lead worship for us! We studied God’s creation and dwelled in it with happy hearts all weekend long!
For our upcoming event in August, we will be joining the Agebusters for their monthly potluck. Many of them don’t know young adults, and so many young adults don’t know them. So, we’ll be mingling and getting to know each other!
Lastly, we would like to ask for prayer as one of our members, Will Kazmark, is in Alaska for the next few months to work in commercial fishing. He has been doing this for a couple years now, and we always miss his wisdom and sense of humor.
We have been blessed to see God work through this ministry, and are praying that we will reach and connect with more people of our generation. Thank you for all of your support and prayers!
Summer is flying by and we have already had several events. We started off with our annual All-Nighter, which was a blast! We had 42 students attend and everyone had a great time. A big thank you to all of our youth students who helped with VBS- it was awesome to see so many youth involved in helping make VBS a success. We also had our first beach day which was a fun time.
We are so excited for the rest of our events coming up this summer- camp, another beach day, and our annual Jr. High pool party to welcome the incoming 6th graders. Don't forget- if your child is going to camp there is a mandatory parent meeting Sunday, July 14th from 1pm-3pm (today). All of our events are on our website and registration for every event is online. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Our first fall event will be our Leadership Conference- an overnight event at Shoreline where students get a chance to learn what it means to be a leader, choose breakout sessions that interest them, and put their leadership skills into practice. Registration is online and a permission slip is required.
We are really excited to be entering into our busy summer season in youth ministry. God has been working in the lives of our students, bringing new students into our ministry, and drawing our current students into deeper faith through Bible study and community. Our youth room has undergone a remodel with new paint, pictures, decorations, a surround sound system, a video game room, and we are still adding a few more updates that will enhance our ability to use videos and slideshows for Bible study and events.
Our most recent event was Secret Church- a 4 hour video study of the entire Old Testament. We had 17 students and most of them stayed awake through the whole study! Praise God for his faithfulness and for the 17 students who attended Secret Church and were blessed by the study.
In June we will have our annual All-Nighter! Last year we had a record breaking number of students attend our all-nighter and we are in need of drivers who can help drive our students from Shoreline to different venues and back to Shoreline around 2 a.m. If you are available to help with this event, please contact Brad at email@example.com.
Summer camp is only 3 months away! It is one of the most spiritually impactful events in the lives of our students that we do all year long. We have 4 spots still available for students who have completed grades 6-12. You can get more information and register online. Feel free to contact Brad if you have any questions or concerns.