We have been living and we continue to live through unprecedented times. None of us have walked this road before; none of us know what’s ahead.
In order to serve people well as a church, in addition to our Welcome Church online Sunday meetings, kids work, youth work and Life Groups, we quickly introduced two new things when this situation began:
- A daily encouragement video
- Twice daily prayer meetings on Zoom
These have both been running for just short of ten weeks now. The positive feedback from the encouragement videos has been appreciated, and I’ve been amazed at people’s faithfulness to log on and pray faithfully, as well as at the many answers to prayer. We’ve also held online communion which has been well received.
Thanks to everyone who has taken part and to everyone who has worked to make these things happen – especially to Darren, to Ethan and to our subtitling team
As Lockdown eases – (and who knows what may happen in the next few weeks) – we want to make sure that what we do as a church stays fresh, is sustainable over the long term and serves people well.
We are all aware of changes happening in our country as more people are now going back to work and as the range of reasons we’re allowed out has been expanded. We are also more used to Lockdown, and no longer in a state of shock and panic.
With all this in mind we’ve done a review taking into account a range of different factors including:
- Changes in the level of engagement as people have gone back to work or have simply gone out more, especially on a Saturday (we have numbers and trends for every video and prayer meeting!)
- A desire to keep things fresh and helpful (it’s always better to change things before they get stale and not to wait until after they do)
- The reality of needing to do things sustainably over the long haul (and it may be some time before we’re free to meet together in person, perhaps not until next year)
- A need to avoid burning out the team (and it’s got too close for comfort along the way, in more than one case)
- The fact that if we’re doing one thing with our time & resources, we can’t do something else with the same time & resources (this is called “opportunity cost”; put simply, sometimes doing something good can stop us from doing something great)
As a result of this review we’re making some changes, and we’re also introducing something new …
A change to the Zoom Prayer Meetings
From Monday 25th May onwards we will be holding our prayer meetings online once a day, Monday to Saturday, from 8.15am – 9am. That’s a lot of prayer meetings every week, and my encouragement is for people to come to at least one each week if you can, and let’s expect to see God answer our prayers
This time can be made to work for the vast majority of people. I know that some will be disappointed to lose the 1pm, slot, but it’s worth bearing in mind that when we had that time, there where others disappointed by the lack of an evening slot!
A change to the Daily Encouragement videos
The current run of daily videos will be ending on Monday 25th May, after almost ten weeks. Thanks to all who have made them possible and thanks for the feedback.
From the week commencing Monday 1st June we will begin ‘Encouragement from Welcome Church’ as a twice weekly video, probably on Tuesdays and Fridays at 4pm.
These encouragement videos will be a mix of news and Biblical encouragement. Don’t miss them if you want to stay up to date and encouraged!
And now for something completely new
From the week starting Monday 1st June I am delighted to announce the launch of a new ministry called:
Forerunners is our new ministry aimed at anyone from age 60 and upwards. It is intended to help people build friendship and connection with one another and to grow in God. Some aspects will be social, many will be more ministry based.
Forerunners will be led by Tony and Pat Hewatt, along with a team, and they have a desire to release people into all God has for them in this season of life. They will say more about their vision and plans in the weeks ahead.
Pat and Tony want to be clear that, although this is aimed at people from 60 and upwards, all the meetings are open to anyone of any age who wants to join in.
Initially Forerunners will start online on Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunchtime, so bring your lunch and be online ready to eat, chat and pray. The exact details and timings will be communicated in the coming days.
I’m so pleased that we’re able to kick this off during this time of Lockdown, and I know that there are a good number of people in our church who will appreciate it, including some who will miss the 1pm prayer slot.
Please feel free to invite other people to join in too, wherever they are from. This is not exclusive for Welcome Church: all welcome; come as you are.
Welcome Church online continues each week at 9am and 11am. Welcome Kids is at 10am each week. Youth is on Friday evenings. Most Life Groups are also meeting every week.
If you are looking for connection to people and to God there are many places to find it so no one need miss out.
One last thing: communion online
We will be holding our next communion online on Sunday 7th June at 6.30pm, for about 45 minutes. It will be on the same Zoom code as the prayer meetings, so do join us.
It will be another ‘Come as you are communion’, so do log on as a family and bring your own bread and wine (or Ribena or whatever). Please put it in your diary now, and I look forward to seeing you online.