Whats up, Oasis!
Happy Friday 🙂
The last time we had an in person church gathering was March 8. When I first announced that we’d be moving our services online, I assumed it might last a few weeks. Here we are, SIXTEEN weeks later, and I’m getting really excited about the prospect of RELAUNCHING Oasis on September 13 at Holly Springs High School.
As I’ve spoken with many of you, I’ve heard some very similar questions and concerns and I’ve been listening to the echoes and praying, trying to do the right thing for you and your family, and also trying to make the right calls for our whole church along the way.
full disclosure: YOU have been so encouraging and supportive throughout these sixteen weeks. I am truly proud to be your pastor. With that said, I’d like to take few paragraphs to acknowledge 5 different concerns that have been expressed and help provide some perspective.
#1- “I feel so disconnected lately.”
Trust me, you aren’t the only one. There have been times when I feel disconnected from the church lately, and I’m the pastor! I know if I’m feeling disconnected, then you must also be feeling the same. COVID 19 has put us all into a spin cycle and we’ve been forced to replace our personal connection to one another with an online substitute. No matter how hard we try, online church, zoom, social media, and texting just isn’t the same.
At first, I was feeling really insecure about this online church thing because I felt the temptation to compete with other churches “production quality.” A pastor friend of mine reached out a few months ago and asked how I was feeling, and I told him I was feeling overwhelmed because Oasis doesn’t have a stage, or a building, or a bunch of expensive gear to pull of a big Sunday morning livestream production.
If you are looking for the best “production” of church online, it won’t be Oasis. I could send you a list of “better” online experiences. However, I can assure you our team is working just as hard or harder than anyone out there and we are doing the best we can with what we have. I’m really proud of our staff and ministry teams, their effort has been inspiring.
I want you to feel connected, but the only way to “feel connected” is to actually connect. So for now, I’m encouraging you to make online connection a priority for you and your family.
#2 – “Doing church online isn’t the same.”
I know church online isn’t the same, and I’m so grateful for those of you who are choosing to engage with it.I think it is safe to say this COVID thing has lasted longer than any of us anticipated. We have done our best create excitement but online church can never replace an in person gathering and I don’t think it should. For those of you who haven’t been tuning in online, I’m asking you to reconsider and reengage.
We have an online Vacation Bible School for kids coming soon, Sunday services live-streamed at 9:15 and 11am on Sunday at churchonyourcouch.com. There is also something special for kids every week on our website at www.kidsloveoasis.com
Some small groups are even starting to get together in person. There are additional opportunities to connect and serve the community together, visit OasisChurchHub.com to see opportunities to get connected.
#3 – “I disagree with you.”
Hey, I know you don’t agree with everything I’ve said or all the decisions I have made over the past few months. It’s totally ok for you to disagree with me on how I’ve handled things related to COVID, masks, BLM, my sermon style, worship music, or whatever you might disagree about. Can I remind you, disagreement does not have to mean division. Over and over I have tried to make the best decisions for Oasis Church as a whole. I’ve made plenty of decisions that go against my own personal preferences, and I don’t expect you to agree with everything I say and do, nor do I expect you to disagree. And let me say, I don’t make decisions in a vaccum. We have a tremendous staff filled with leaders who are smarter and wiser than me, they have led our church really well through one of the most trying years in our history. I don’t think agreement matters as much as our commitment to unity and to praying for one another. Let’s continue to focus on the things that unite us, not on the things that divide us. I will continue praying for you and your family, assuming the best about you, and speaking highly of you. I hope you’ll do the same for me.
#4 – “I’m upset with someone else from Oasis.”
I know that you’ve probably found a good reason to be upset with someone else at Oasis during the past few months. Something they wrote on Facebook bothers you, something they didn’t write on Facebook bothers you, something about something that happened on Facebook bothers you. What’s the common denominator here? Facebook. Haha
Seriously, please don’t let facebook, politics, or opinions cause division between you and your church family. Galatians 3:28 says you are ONE in Christ Jesus. If you’ve got beef with someone, please work it out. The last thing I want for you is to be carrying around some unresolved offense or bitterness toward someone else in your church family. I had a pastor friend tell me… “sheep will bite the shepherd, but they will also bite each other.” So I thought I’d just encourage you…to stop acting like sheep! LOL
On a serious note though, Satan does not want to eliminate Oasis Church. He just wants to divide it against each other. He will start doing the divisive work in your marriages and families, then it will bleed into your small groups and ministry teams, and then he will attempt to divide the leadership against one another.
That’s why I’m taking the time to write you today, because our only healthy path forward is UNITY. Let’s do unity this summer, not dis-unity. (see that play on words? lol)
#5 – “Things aren’t the same as they were, and they may never be the same again.”
The phrase “new normal” is becoming my least favorite phrase. For a lot of people, this phrase either invokes fear and resentment, or curiosity. You need to know that whatever the new normal is, will CHANGE again after about 6 months. It’s just life. Everything is changing all the time. Don’t let these big phrases scare you. Just have faith and know that whatever happens, “God’s got it.” Take some responsibility and reach out to people in the church, and encourage them. Let’s allow curiosity to get the best of us in this season, continually asking God “what now?” I am believing that, no matter what, our best days are ahead of us. We will be spending the month of August focused on preparing for whatever normal looks like in September. And then we will continually revisit our methods for ministry over and over as the months progress.
THANK YOU. Thank you for being consistent in your walk with God and for being a positive voice in our church community. Thank you or continuing to engage and participate in everything we are doing on the weekends. Thank you for reading this ridiculously long message.
AND thank you for your patience this summer as we figure out how to move forward as a church.
I love my church
And I believe our best days are in front of us.