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.
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.
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.
One of the most important aspects to church ministry is communication. It is hard to be involved in what you don't know about. We want to make sure everyone knows about all the various ministries of our church so people can be as involved as they want to be. We have multiple avenues for communication: our bulletin, our website (including church calendar), announcements, church newsletters, ministry specific newsletters, and Facebook. Now we have one more exciting way for you to know what is going on at Shoreline: a new church app for your mobile phone. Our new app is called "Church Center." Here is a list of how it will help us communicate all is going on to you and to each other.
There is an "Events" tab on the app that allows you to see all the church events scheduled for the next three to six months. If you want to just look at all the events for a specific ministry, you can search by category (all categories, Agebusters, Children, General, Men, Women, Young Adults, Youth). Each event has a description of the event, day, time, cost if any, and allows you to register for the event if registration is required. This will allow everyone to know what is going in our church.
There is a "Groups" tab on the app that allows you to see all the ministry groups you are a part of. Each group contains a list of all the people who are a part of the ministry group with their email and phone numbers. The groups section also includes our Church Directory (if you have signed up to be in it) with everyone's name, picture (if taken), email, and phone number. The groups section also allows you to request to join new ministry groups. For instance, you could sign up to join a new Life Group.
There is a "Give" tab on the app that allows you to use your phone to give online.
There is a Profile icon that allows you to edit your personal information (address, phone number, etc.), check your giving, and view all of your event registrations (past and present).
I hope God will use this app to facilitate more ministry in our church and allow us to be more effective in making disciples of Jesus. Below is instructions for downloading this new Shoreline app.
As we approach the end of another year and we begin to reflect on what has happened over the year, I wanted to provide a brief update on what has changed on our church campus. The Building a Legacy campaign is going strong and Pastor Matt will be sharing an update on that very soon, but that is not the only beautification happening. Within our regular budget we have been able to paint all of the classrooms in the education building upstairs and all of the preschool classrooms currently in use, thanks to our church family volunteering, led by Kato Mearig and Young Park. Pastor Dan’s office has had a complete makeover, with new flooring, lighting, and paint. There are new curtains in all of the preschool rooms that match our color scheme. We have also begun the task of improving the exterior lighting on the campus. During this next year we are going to continue to improve the lighting, continue with the interior painting, and reseal and stripe the parking lot. We are so blessed to have this campus to use for tle Lord in reaching out to minister, and I am thankful for the heart of our congregation in wanting to make it as beautiful and useful as possible. Thank you!
We have had several recent changes in our church leadership team. Recently Heidi Schultz stepped down from leading our Preschool Ministry in order to focus on her new job as a Christian School teacher and to help Brad in our youth ministry. We are thankful for all of Heidi’s hard work in leading our Preschool Ministry, and are praying for her in the new ministry assignments the Lord has given her. As you know, Kandyce Register has been leading our Children’s Ministry and has been doing a great job. Now she will be leading both our Preschool and Children’s Ministries. Our Sunday Preschool and Children’s Ministry has grown by over 50% in the last year. God is bringing new little ones to our church and we have the privilege of sharing with them the love of Christ. Pray for Kandyce as she leads these two very important ministries and if you sense God wanting you to get involved in these exciting ministries let her know.
We also have added a new position to our church team. Breanna Herd is our new Social Media Coordinator. We are using social media to communicate with our community and our church all that we are doing as a church. So many people use social media as the primary way they connect and communicate and we want to utilize it for the sake of the gospel. If you are not sure about an event, now you can go not only to our church calendar for information, but if the event is soon you can find it on our facebook page. In addition to our church facebook page, we also have pages for our children’s ministry and our weekday Preschool. We invite you to “like” and follow them.
Ken Fox has served as our part-time church administrator for over three years now and has done a great job. He is now coming on full time as our Church administrator and Facilities Manager (beginning in November). This move will allow our church to be more effective and efficient in our ministries and also to present a clean and neat campus for the purpose of seeing people come to Christ and live for Him. The Lord deserves the best we can give Him and I am happy to see Ken lead us in giving the Lord our best both in our organization and in our facilities.
Dear Shoreline Family,
Over the last few months, there have been a lot of difficulties people in our church are facing: cancer, sickness, injuries, the loss of family and loved ones, and many more. Every week my prayer list has grown longer and longer. In each case, you could have allowed these difficulties to push you away from God, but instead you allowed God to use them to draw you closer to Him. I have never seen so many difficulties in such a short period of time, but I also have never seen more growth in faith and love. The ministry needs have been greater than I could meet, but together you have ministered to one another in the name of Christ. You are a constant encouragement to me.
Remember Jesus said in as much as you have done it to My brethren, you have done it to Me. Let’s continue to faithfully pray for and minister to the hurting in our congregation.
God has really been working in people’s lives. I encourage you to come to church each week in faith and with anticipation that God is going to speak to us through His Word, and that God is going to work in our life and in the lives of others. God is bringing new people to our church every week- let’s make sure to show them our love for them, pray for them, and minister to them. We have a lot of new believers and new members in our church, let’s welcome every new member of our faith family with open arms and not cease to pray for them.
We all know people who need to come to know the love of Christ. I especially want to ask you to pray that God will give us a burden of compassion for the lost. I am thankful for the fifteen people who went through our evangelism training class, their passion was exciting and I look forward to the fruit God will bring from it. But let’s ask the Lord to give all of us boldness to share Jesus with our family, friends, and those He brings into our life. The Lord has blessed us with a great church family, and I am so very thankful to the Lord for you.
This past year we made many changes in our church budget structure. We combined all of our ministry budgets into one church budget so that we can see what the actual cost of each category is, for example, we can now see what our total electricity usage is for the entire campus. This is now true for all categories so that going forward we can have a true picture of what we spend as a church. Since all of our operations are ministries of the church. We focused a lot of resources on beautification of both the inside and outside of our campus. Our general budget covered painting all of the upstairs and downstairs classrooms in the education building. Building a Legacy covered the outside of the entire campus, including some much needed repairs with the painting.
The overall financial picture for last year is good. We are expecting to be very close to our projected budget. We expect to end in the black by $5,000-$10,000. Our revenue is expected to be short by about $40,000 but we also reduced our expenses to match. We spent about $10,000 more on the building than we planned because the painting has gone faster than projected, and that amount was planned for this next year, so we will recover it after September.
Building a Legacy. We have brought in just over $125,000 and currently have spent $76,000. A new sign for the front of the building is in process and we hope to have it approved and in construction soon.
For 2018/19 we have increased salary cost projections to finally allow for some much needed raise for our awesome church and preschool staff. This new budget is still very conservative and we are optimistic that the revenue will surpass our plans, but we want to maintain a practice of preparing conservatively and spending carefully.
Telling others about Jesus is one of the greatest privileges and responsibilities of the Christian life. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 tells us that God “has given us the ministry of reconciliation… and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” If God has given us the ministry of reconciling people to Himself, we want to make sure we do the best we can. Pastor Matt is going to offer a four week evangelism training class on Sundays this Fall, and everyone is invited to attend. Childcare is provided.
Dates: Sunday, September 16- Sunday, October 7
Time: Sunday at 4:00 p.m.
Location: Shoreline Conference Room (Upstairs in B-210)
Our Discovering Shoreline Class is a lunch and class is for those who are new to Shoreline or those who have been coming for a while and have not yet had an opportunity to attend this class. Our pastors want an opportunity to get to know you and share with you how Shoreline can help you grow in your walk with the Lord and how you can help others grow in the Lord. We are really glad you are here and look forward to getting to know you better, and learning how we can be a spiritual blessing in your life by serving you.
Date: Sunday September 9th
Time: 12:15 p.m.- 2:00 p.m.
Location: Upstairs in Room B219-220
Childcare: Room B-102