Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am filled with gratitude for the way God is providing for, and sustaining, His people during this pandemic. God is faithful. This conviction does not minimize the challenges we are facing. However, it does acknowledge that God is above all and rules over His universe in no uncertain way. Please know that my prayers are with you all, seeking to discern how to serve and support one another in this season of trial.
We have all experienced a “fast” from our church building. Even though our church building has been closed, ministry and service continues. Relationships are being nurtured, pastoral care is being given to students and families and invitations to know and follow Christ are being made. In sum, a message of supernatural life in Christ is going forth through our teaching and in our own lives. My prayer is that this interruption of meeting in our physical building has given you an opportunity to focus afresh on our mission: inviting neighbors to find a home in Christ together. In my life, God has brought multiple opportunities to connect with my neighbors in new and different ways. I am filled with expectancy as to how He plans to bring good out of these dire and difficult circumstances.
Let me encourage you to keep connecting with our weekend worship through the Aspen Ridge Church Facebook page and the “sermons” tab on our website at AspenRidgeChurch.org. A number have been asking about the re-opening of our church building. Our elder team met last night to prayerfully discern biblical principles that govern this decision. These include the Great Commandment to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We certainly do not want to be an (indirect) means of advance for this virus by having a public gathering prematurely. Another principle that governs our decision includes submission to governing authorities. Colorado is currently operating under “safer at home” guidelines, effective May 14, 2020. As of this writing, we have not heard about a change of policy to that end.
I would like to share a few things with you that I received from trusted counsel some days ago. First, we are working from a playbook not a blueprint. The times we live in are unprecedented, and things are changing quickly. We are looking forward to receiving updated direction from our governing authorities. Second, we have no clear timeline. Despite our desire to have and communicate a date for re-opening our building, we do not have this. This means we can declare and announce nothing firmly. Third, we do seek to offer options as restrictions are lifted. These may include outside meetings, different seating arrangements, overflow live-stream worship options and others. Fourth, we would like to listen to you. Please let us know your views and opinions! Some may think our pace is about right, others may think we are too far ahead and some that we are behind. This is a part of doing life in community and as a family. You may communicate with our staff or leaders through the [email protected] email address. Finally, there will be a new normal when restrictions are lifted. We understand this and are teaming on a staff and elder level to build new means of service and ministry.
I personally see all this as God pressing the “reset” button for His church. He is giving us a fresh start, rooted in our identity in Christ and given in mission to the world. In the meantime, let me strongly encourage you to connect with a small group. Meeting live and in person can be done while respecting the “safer at home” guidelines. These include six feet of physical distancing, a recommended use of masks, while vulnerable ones should take extra precautions. This will be an important “next step” for Aspen Ridge Church life. If you would like to connect with a small group, please be in touch with our Director of Small Groups, at [email protected].
Further, thank you for your faithful and sacrificial giving, which God is using to sustain this ministry during times of unprecedented trial. Over 70% of our giving is now being received online, which is to be commended. As God prospers and leads, you may give by the following link: AspenRidgeChurch.org/give/. I look forward to the day that we will meet physically in our church building… soon. But even more important, I look forward to that day when Christ returns, and He calls His people home, together. In the meantime, there are many neighbors to invite into a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Affectionately in Christ,