West Franklin Family,
Tomorrow we open our doors for corporate worship for the first time since March 8th. Had you told me then that June 7th would be the reopen date, I would have laughed in your face and told you we’d never be able to make it that long. But you are resilient and God’s grace is simply amazing.
We are scheduled to have a little less than half of what we averaged pre-COVID19. This tells me something very important: Some are ready to get back. Some aren’t. Both camps are right. You know what? It’s okay that we differ on when and how to come back to corporate worship. In fact, we are doing our absolute best to ensure that those who stay home will have a very similar experience as those who attend in person. The services shown on the internet will not be pre-recorded. They are live-streamed. What can you expect? The Gospel. It will continue to drive and embody everything we do. How and what we sing. How and what we preach. How and what we announce. How and what we spend.
I don’t have to tell you this, but when we gather tomorrow – we gather at a time our nation is on edge. Racism is front and center on just about every single media stream. Riots and protests are lasting longer than any of us would like. People are saying things that are intended to communicate one thing, but are taken to mean another . . .causing unintended pain. And people are still upset about masks. Even church people! And if that is not bad enough, we still don’t know whether or not college football will be a reality this year (I am kidding. . . sort of). [On an unrelated, yet similar note, I can tell you who won the last 86 Women’s Softball College World Series . . .because that’s the only sports on TV!]
If you think about the state of our nation, our state, our city – there has never been a better time to be the church. If there was ever a time to be salt and light, now is it. The world is yearning for a flavorful taste in their mouth, something that preserves the goodness in our society, and a city on a hill to look to for direction. Now, perhaps more than ever, is the time to let our light shine before others so they may see our good works and give glory – not to us – but to our Heavenly Father (see Matthew 5:13-16). To put it another way, now – more than ever – is the time to engage the whole person with the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ, anytime, anywhere, with anybody.
Let me be clear. This won’t happen by rioting or protesting (though if you feel led to be a part of a peaceful protest, go for it . . .but that is not what I am talking about here). This won’t happen by posting an opinion on social media. This won’t happen by reading a book on race (though I highly recommend educating yourself as much as possible). And it certainly won’t happen by – after watching the news, expressing your opinion to those in your home while throwing your remote control across the room.
Here is how it will happen: By us continuing to do what we have been doing all along.
West Franklin, long before anyone had heard the name George Floyd, you were loving on, relating with, serving, blessing, ministering to/with the beautiful people who live along Natchez Street near Downtown Franklin. Many of you were tutoring children who attend Johnson Elementary. We have church members who run ministries like Mercy Community Health Care and the Boys and Girls Club in Franklin. We have church members who serve on the boards at Franktown Open Hearts and New Hope Academy. You continue to serve those who have no home in Franklin. You ask, “What are we going to do?” That. Go back and read this paragraph. That is what we are going to do.
West Franklin, long before you saw a police officer put his knee on a black man, you were serving the Franklin Police Department. You serve many meals to our cops and pray for them regularly. Not because you support what a wicked cop who does such things to black men (to be clear – I/we condemn ANY sort of action like the one that took place in Minnesota); but because you recognize the character, value, dignity, effort, and courage 99% of the cops in our country do for us. You do it because the Father has given our church unique opportunities to serve police men and women in Jesus’ name. You ask, “What are we going to do?” That. Go back and read this paragraph. That is what we are going to do.
West Franklin, we don’t do the “flash in the pan” stuff. We don’t knee jerk. We serve where Jesus opens doors and opportunities for us – day in and day out; week in and week out; year after year. We serve when everyone is talking about it. We serve when no one is. We serve when it’s popular. We serve when it’s not. We know that talk is cheap. We don’t talk about change. We go and love in the name of our Savior.
You know what is super exciting for this pastor? We have been doing this even though we haven’t met in person for 3 months! You have been the church when we haven’t been meeting at church. Let that sink in, West Franklin. More on that soon.
You know what we’re going to do for our nation, our state, our city? What we’ve been doing.
Ensure the Gospel of Jesus Christ embodies everything.
Engage the whole person with this Gospel in ways the Father gives us favor.
Obey Jesus, day in and day out.
- Constantly be on the look out for how to make the greatest kingdom impact.
Some of you, I will see tomorrow. Others, I will see you when you are ready. Until then, let’s. . . well, you can read (see 1-5 above). Let’s keep being the church.
Because Jesus is Worth It,
a. Our livestream will air at 9:00 am and 11:00 am (NOT 10:30 am!!!!). Go here to watch on Facebook. Here to watch on YouTube.
b. Before you show up tomorrow, please watch this video!!!
c. Registration for Sunday, June 14th, will open Monday, June 8th and will close Wednesday, June 10th at midnight. You should receive an email (check your junk folder); or, you can visit our website for the link.