3/13/20 (updated 3/19/20)
Dear River of Lifer,
It’s me again. Just a few hours ago I sent out a letter addressing precautions for our worship services, but around noon today, Governor Tim Walz provided clear direction to organizations in Minnesota that host gatherings. We want to align with the new public health guidelines set by the Minnesota Department of Health Services today. We desire to respect our governing authorities in determining the best course of action (Romans 13; 1 Peter 2:13). Therefore, what this letter states, replaces the letter sent a few hours ago.
What You Need to Know:
- We will be offering online worship services only for the indefinite future. No services in our buildings will be held on Sundays until further notice. Mid-week ministries will also be suspended. Church offices will be closed and our office staff will be working from home. If you have an immediate need, please visit our website at rolmn.org or call the church office at 763-441-7527 and someone will get back to you asap. We will be monitoring our phones and voicemails from home during this time.
- We encourage you to worship at home. Our worship services will be recorded live at 9:00 a.m. and then put online. We plan to have worship, testimonies and a message. Folks, we’re still doing church, just differently.
VOLUNTEERS: Please await further direction, as we will likely still need a few hands on deck to make the online services go as smoothly as a regular weekend.
- Our Rationale: We are saddened by this. We love to come together as a church family, but this is different than a bad snowstorm, where we often try to “be hearty” and continue to meet in our worship services. In contrast, this state of emergency calls for us to do what we can as a church body to “flatten the curve of the pandemic.” In other words, to keep the virus from spreading so quickly that hospitals and health care workers become overwhelmed. God calls His people to come together regularly to worship corporately (Hebrews 10:24-25), but He also calls us to love our neighbors. This decision is motivated by love for our neighbors, which is the second greatest commandment. Again, we are driven by love, not fear. There is a rapid trajectory to this virus, and no one knows for sure the extent to which it will go. We acknowledge the potential. This is not a panic response—it’s a wisdom response to step back, give space and move forward from there.
What We Encourage You to Do:
- Pray! Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We need Him now more than ever. Pray for the health of our church and communities, for opportunities for the gospel to go forth, and for the elderly and immunocompromised who are especially at risk. Pray for Christ to be magnified in the midst of fear and for God to use this pandemic to make the gospel go forward in power! Please send prayer requests to the church office.
- Keep gathering in smaller groups. We need each other. One of our key discipleship tracks is small groups. Gather together to worship Jesus, learn and apply His ways, especially during this difficult season.
- Feed your faith. Daily meditation on Scripture has always been God’s desire for His people (Psalm 1). But now more than ever, we need to stay grounded in God’s word and in prayer. Give extra time and attention to your walk with God. When Jesus saw that Martha was worried and bothered about many things, He told her that one thing was necessary—sitting at His feet (Luke 10:38-42).
How You Can Help:
- Give faithfully and generously. We need you, our church family, to stand with us financially. Regular expenses will continue. And by God’s grace during this time, your staff will be working harder than ever! But we will be in uncharted territory as a church with the absence of weekly offerings. Please use online giving, text-to-give* or mail to continue your faithful support of our ministry. We cannot continue moving forward without your faithful and generous giving.
- Watch for ways to serve and be involved. Hear this: God may be moving to answer many of our longtime prayers through this unprecedented time. He will be using His people in manifold ways to spread the glorious good news of the gospel. Keep a servants’ heart and be ready to dive in as needs arise. We will keep you updated.
We will be communicating more in the days to come! We all love River of Life and are greatly blessed by our weekly worship gatherings. God uses these times powerfully and all of us are deeply saddened to see them suspended. But it is the right thing to do. Please pray that it doesn’t last very long.
On the Victory Side,
*If you would like to sign up to do text to give, simply text the word GIVE to (763) 251-7700 and you will receive a reply with prompts to set up either a one-time or recurring gift. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office at (763) 441-7527.