HR | Our Plans Moving Forward: COVID-19 Updates
Dear Hanley Road Faith Family,
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced strong recommendations to fight the spread of the virus. In compliance, local officials have added significant restrictions and recommendations. We thank God for federal, state, and local officials who are working to protect people. Believing that these authorities are God’s servants, sent for our good, The Journey is putting Romans 13:1-2 into practice by honoring these recommendations and restrictions by making changes to our church life.
Because this is an unprecedented and uncharted reality for all of us, we can be prone towards worry and anxiety. Yet, instead of leaning into what we do not know, we lean into what we do know. We confidently remember that situations such as this are not new to our God. Though suffering, Job declared what he knew about God when he said, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Similarly, we place our faith and hope in the One who works all things with his purposes for the good of those who love him. Our God is still God. Our God is still sovereignly in control. Our God is at work.
Likewise, situations like this are not new for the Church. Throughout history, the Church of Jesus did not merely survive plagues and pandemics, it thrived in them. Finding our footing in the gospel, we believe that crisis catalyzes the Church. God steels our faith in his goodness and sends us out for his glory. COVID-19 has already opened opportunities for us to proclaim the gospel. This past weekend, many non-believers tuned into the live-stream Sunday service. In addition, COVID-19 has paved the way for us to care for the most vulnerable in our neighborhoods. To this end, during the week of March 23-27, we will be partnering with Pershing Elementary School to distribute to-go meals to families and children who would normally receive breakfast and lunch from the school. You can sign up to serve here.
As The Journey, we will still enjoy God’s grace, embody His love, and engage our culture with His truth, albeit in different and new ways for us, as we seek to engage well in mission and multiplication. The decisions below were not made lightly, but prayerfully and with much deliberation. We are preparing to implement the following changes through May 10, but remain open-handed to this reality based on ongoing recommendations or changes from the CDC and local officials.
Sunday Online Gatherings
- We are moving our Sunday gatherings online to a single, virtual worship service at 10 a.m.
- We will be live streaming the service on our YouTube channel.
Events & Groups
- We will cancel all events and physical group gatherings that we had intended to host through May 10.
- We are currently working on a plan to transition group gatherings to a digital experience through a centralized platform on thejourney.org where you will be able to connect, learn, and care for one another in an online community. Our desire is to provide follow up and further detail to this plan and process over the next week so that we can keep you connected to one another as quickly as possible.
We are working hard to develop digital content to resource and disciple you, your family, and your children.
Our lead pastors and worship leaders are developing midweek content to provide regular opportunities for your spiritual growth and engagement each week.
Journey Kids/ Students
Our Journey Kids and Students leaders have been working tirelessly to consider how to best support you and your children. These are the areas of ministry focus that they are considering:
- Sunday Morning: Creating a Journey Kid’s component for our families on Sunday morning.
- Resourcing Parents: Tools for navigating this crisis and how to lead children
- Creating Community: Leveraging technology for connection (Facebook groups, Facebook Live, Hangouts, etc.)
- Volunteer Encouragement and Support: Providing connection/care and eventually focus on training during this season
We will communicate specifics to you about this in the upcoming days so be on the lookout on our social media platforms. In the meantime, we invite you to explore RightNow Media – a resource we have used for children’s ministry and adult Bible studies and classes at several of our Journey churches. If you do not have an account for RightNow Media, you can sign up for a free account here.
Care & Connection
During this time, we recognize there is a great need and opportunity for care.
- You should have already received an email from elder Rich Pierce, our Hanley Road deacons, and myself, informing you of the availability of physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual care that is available to you. Should you have a need arise, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Hanley Road deacons at CareHR@thejourney.org.
In the midst of this season, our desire is to act in hope and faith-filled wisdom. Here is what we want you to know:
- We need your prayers in this financially uncertain time.
- We are spending wisely in four essential areas: staffing, utilities, missions, and benevolence.
- Benevolence needs will likely increase exponentially so we are reallocating resources to meet them. It is our commitment to meet as many of these needs as possible.
- We need your continued partnership through giving. Please continue to give regularly and consider scheduling a recurring gift.
- You can give through our website, on our app, text to give (by texting JOURNEYSTL to 77977), or by mailing your gift to The Journey at 4900 Reber Place St. Louis, MO 63139.
In this season, we urge you to pray. Pray believing in who God is. Pray with Scripture as your guide. Pray for God to give wisdom to global, federal, state, and local authorities. Pray for the health and endurance of medical professionals. Pray for those in our neighborhoods who are at risk because of their health or socio-economic status. Pray that the Lord’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
In all of this, our hope is secure on the sure foundation of Jesus. Sickness will never defeat our Savior and his saints. COVID-19 cannot conquer Christ and his Church. We stand confident in the gospel that reminds us “that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”