Dear brothers and sisters of PABC, and visitors to our website and church:
Thanks for your attendance/interest in our church! We’re glad you’re taking the time to read this announcement. Obviously, with the COVID-19 outbreak and continual changing standards of society and government, church has changed a LOT recently. There’s still a very fluid feeling within our world about handling the outbreak, as well as many many different opinions, models and methods about restricting movements, interactions and groups of people. With that in mind, we have decided to continue with our house church worship service. We are pleased to say that this was a unanimous decision on our elders board, made very clear by the Lord and we are so thankful the Lord gave us unity on this, and to you for praying for us. Some of the reasons for house church are stated below, please read them carefully!
Why House Church Still? A Few Reasons:
1.First and foremost of these reasons is that we believe that house churches are a better expression of our vision for PABC at this time. That vision is encapsulated in the vision that God has for His church in these verses:
To go out and make disciples of the world - Mathew 28:18-20
To love one another - John 13:34-35
To care for the needy - Isaiah 58, James 1:22-27, Galatians 2:9-10
We want to care for each and every person as well as we can. Within a small group, we are able to learn, listen, and worship at a deeper level than we would be able to if we were to meet under the restrictions. Granted, it is not the same as it once was, but the Lord has brought this time to not just Park, but every church, for them to respond to. We can reassure you that this decision was prayed about weeks before, and by many people before it was even voiced.
2. We have seen that our governments are trying to manage something that is new and big and difficult, and we know that at any time, the regulations for big church meetings can change. Because of this uncertainty we believe it’s best to continue with house churches, as we are seeing great participation and growth spiritually in the people plugged into those groups.
3. The regulations that govern big church meetings are also quite restrictive and would reduce our services to something that we feel will not meet the relational needs of our people. The physical distancing protocols, masks, and limited seating options, and various other changes, big and small will not only fall short of what the small group can do for us and the Lord’s goals for the church, but would also be far short of what our big services used to be. Indeed, many of the things that gave the big service the “flavour” it had are found in the numbers, closeness, visiting, eating together and other things that our government is seeking to limit at this time. We encourage you to increase your communication and connection with the people of our church by phone, e-mail and in person contacts as you feel comfortable and able.
We recognize that this will feel like a big disappointment to some of you. Big church was and is an encouraging time to lift our voices with everyone around us, see many people that we love and appreciate and learn from the Word of God together.
We want to encourage you to enthusiastically jump into these house churches with the same passion as you would our big church service. It’s immensely reassuring to know that as we execute this plan, that we are able to meet the goals that God has laid out for our church! Yes, it’s uncomfortable and not what we are used to, and for some, not what we wanted. However, we believe that as we enter this time of change and uncertainty that we will be rewarded for our obedience and willingness to do things the way the Lord is leading us. We hope to see this through increased engagement with the Word through the study provided alongside the sermon, the deeper fellowship and relational bonding that are possible through small groups, the heartfelt sharing and prayer that is possible, again, through a smaller group, and the discipleship that will begin to grow and happen. We also can ALL chip in and serve the church, rather than a few select individuals. It’s our prayer also that our house churches will begin to evangelize and invite people into their homes to hear the Gospel and learn about Jesus in a small group.
God bless you all,
Pastor Phil Houston