WC | Our Plans Moving Forward: COVID-19 Updates

A Message from Pastor Scott

Dear West County 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 tempted to be anxious and worry. Uncertainty and lack of control can shake our faith. 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 according to 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 spite of them. Crisis catalyzes the Church. Finding our footing in the gospel, 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 visitors tuned into the live-stream service. In addition, in less than 24 hours, our church began eagerly responding to needs within our community through the food drive.

That is why, 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. Until further notice, building access is restricted. Should you need to get in the building for any reason, please contact Emilie Nevins-Carter.
  • 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. 

Equipping

We are working hard to develop digital content to resource and disciple you, your family, and your children. 

Adults
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. These are the following ways we want to provide intentional care and connection in this season: 

Church Care & Connection
As you process all of this information, we are here to field questions or just listen to your concerns. We understand that significant disruption is happening within our church family. Staff and elder contact information can be found by visiting our website. We would love to connect with you in the coming days and weeks. 

  • Staff, elders, and deacons will begin to regularly reach out to our members and regular attenders via phone calls/texts/emails just to touch base and maintain connection.
  • As this situation continues, if you have specific, immediate needs please contact Jon Hessel. He will ensure that a staff/elder/deacon connects with you, and we will do our best to offer support and prayer.

Community Care & Connection

  • We have begun collecting food for local school children impacted by school cancellations, as well as our Los Vecinos families. We also hope to continue providing food for the families currently served by Together4Kids. That being said, there is a significant, ongoing need for non-perishable items. We have bins outside the church; please drop off items anytime and we will ensure they get to those in need.
  • Over the coming weeks, we will be making contact with community leaders to identify additional needs held by our neighbors. As we are able, we will communicate those needs to our church family. If you are aware of needs within the community, or know of specific ways you could serve during this time, please contact Emilie Nevins-Carter

Giving

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.”

Praying His love will comfort us,
Pastor Scott