We are currently in a sermon series on the bond that we share as brothers and sisters in Christ. We have differences of opinion about many things – politics, public health policy, whether the Buckeyes will win March Madness this year (prayers up). But we are unified in the most important reality of all: in Christ, under the authority of Scripture, as “One Body.” The church in Ephesus was facing the potential for division because there were Jews and Gentiles together from vastly different backgrounds who now belonged to Jesus, and therefore also belonged to one another. Paul exhorts them, in light of their shared salvation in Jesus, to relate to each other “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). He urges them to use their God-given gifts to serve one another and build up the church family. “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ . . .” (Ephesians 4:15).
On Sunday I shared that we were aiming to go back to two services, traditional and acoustic, on April 11th if enough people responded to the call to serve. We did! 65 or so people volunteered. I am so thankful for this. Not everyone is in a position to serve right now, and that is completely understandable. For those who are able to serve, it is a great blessing to all of us when your gifts are put to use to build up our local church.
There are some great advantages to being one body of Christ with two services:
- We will have more room to welcome our people back to in-person worship, with better spacing.
- Our traditional service will return which is an important aspect of NAPC’s identity.
- For those who continue to be reluctant to worship in person due to COVID, there is no pressure to return. We will be livestreaming both services, and after Sunday we will post the sermon (but not the entirety of the services).
After a long discussion, our staff recommended and session approved the times as follows, beginning April 11th:
8:45a Traditional Service (nursery and toddler, no JAM*)
11:00a Acoustic Service (nursery/toddler/JAM).
At both services, we will continue to require masks when we are not in the act of worship, and encourage masks during the worship service (for further details on this policy, read here).
We would love to offer JAM at both services, but currently Anne does not have enough teachers to be able to do so right off the bat. Because most of the current teachers would normally go to Acoustic and because on the whole there have proportionately more children at Acoustic, we chose that service for JAM. This summer, we will go to “summer JAM” for both services.
We chose 8:45a instead of 9a because the extra 15 minutes will allow the Acoustic worship team to carry out the necessary set up and sound checks (with little time to spare). Ultimately we aimed for the best balance possible, choosing times that will be neither detrimental to the latter service nor too early for the first.
We are very excited about this for a number of reasons – bringing the choir back, a growing sense of normalcy, and most importantly being able to see more of you. But I want to reiterate that this decision is not intended to pressure anyone to return to worship who continues to feel led by their conscience to remain at home for now. We are not rushing anyone, and whether live-streaming or in person, we are “One Body!”
* JAM = “Jesus and Me,” the name of our children’s ministry.