4-9-2020 – e-News

Hello Parkgate!
This has clearly been the strangest and most upside down Holy Week in all my 22 years as a pastor!
As you know, this week will mark our fourth virtual worship experience. Believe it or not, there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into producing these experiences. Even though we have been filming our services for years, there is a big difference in recording a full room on Sunday and an empty room on Wednesday. It’s much harder to lead worship and preach to a camera than it is to real people. And sound and lighting are much harder too. It has been like we are building the bridge while we are walking on it. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate how our staff has come together for all of this, stretching and learning – always under stress – but with a great heart to serve every step of the way. And THANK YOU for all your support and encouragement too.
Pastor Kenneth and I filmed an important conversational walk through of the pivotal events of Maundy Thursday in Jesus’ last hours before the cross. That broadcast will air Thursday at 6 p.m. We hope you will take a few minutes and watch it with your family and then have a short conversation centered around those scenes.
We’ve also filmed our Easter Sunday service. As always, our virtual Easter worship service will air at 10:45 a.m. This Sunday we will have a time to share communion together virtually. We are telling you this now so that you will make preparations to join us. You can go and get special bread and grape juice, but you certainly don’t have to. Whatever you elect to use, even if it’s tortillas and iced tea, it will be sacred if your heart is using it in a worshipful way.
One other thing, each Sunday the number of people who participate in our worship services has been much greater than our average Sunday worship attendance. The first week we had 1383 separate clicks to watch either on Facebook or YouTube. On the second week we had even more, 1523. This last week, we were down, but still had 828 views. The only difference, as far as we can tell, was that this past week only 7 people shared the video during or after the service aired. The previous weeks we had 12-14 shares. This tells us that it really matters that you help us spread the word. So, we can’t encourage you enough to invite people to join you before worship and to share the service after it airs. It really makes a difference!
Finally, please pray. As I write this message, we know that five people in our church family have lost their jobs and two others have had their pay cut significantly. There are probably more, and we only expect this number and the needs to grow as time goes by. Pray for them and for the literally millions of others like them. Also, please pray for the spiritual receptivity of people right now. Pray that people far from God would be open to hear His voice and surrender to Him. And pray for those who know Him to grow in Him in powerful ways during this time. We have already heard some awesome stories of people responding to our KiX lessons and worship services who would have never seen us apart from this time. Pray that God would be glorified more and more!
Know that you are loved!
Pastor Jim
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