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March 29th, 2020 Update

Hi Church! In that it's Sunday, I am going to take a "sabbath" from the normal sharing format and go a little random on us... NICKELS, NOSES, AND MORE The easiest thing to measure in the life of a local church is nickels and noses.  But far more important that those statistics are these: percentage of people displaying the fruit of the Spirit as they grow in Jesus, percentage using their gifts to serve in the community, percentage giving generously, percentage engaging regularly in spiritual conversations and sharing their grace story, the number of leaders being developed, the number of people discipling others intentionally to the end that they disciple others too etc. But those "numbers" aren't as easy to gather without extensive conversation and surveying...so in these changing times here are the "nickels and noses". We are calculating those who join us for weekly worship using the following formula:  people leading on site + (# of live views x 2.75) + (# of post live views during that one week only x 1) = Weekly worship.  Since we began live streaming on May 15, here are the "noses": March 15: 132 people on site + (37 live views x 2.75) + (0, because we did not leave the gathering up) = 234 March 22: 9 people on site + (117 live views x 2.75) + (263 post gathering views x 1) = 594 March 29: 11 people on site + (110 live views x 2.75) + (120 post gathering views so far x 1)= 433 so far Why 2.75 people per live view?  Well, most that we have talked to suggest to calculate 2.5 to 3 people per view.  We know we have many watching alone and we know we have as many as 8 watching together...and we know kids and perhaps adults too may only be sort of watching! :)  But we are thankful for the opportunity to connect this way and like most churches who are doing so, we are calculating our participation to be considerably more than our on site attendance (normally 270-300 these days) would be. As for the "nickels", our Assistant Treasurer will complete the March reports some time next week.  I am pretty sure our March general fund giving exceeded our general fund spending! And I am pretty sure all other giving is way down.  April will begin our real challenge.  We can cut our budget by 25% to 30% by freezing spending and still be able to pay our staff and pay the utility bills. We have no idea what giving will be (though the experts are predicting 60% to 70% of the norm).  We will see...we will keep you posted...we will look to be creative and good stewards, and the Lord will provide. What we are learning as we go with regard to live-streaming: 1. The Holy Spirit is not limited by venue in doing His work! 2. It takes a lot of effort to offer our best and we probably still need to invest in some equipment. 3. A story time or children's sermon/object lesson is something we need to continue to do. 4. We've got to talk the pastor into understanding the preaching motto- "less is more." :) 5. Even non-techy people are catching on a little in terms of watching and giving! Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and the message is geared to that.  Our Good Friday gathering will be live-streamed as well and our first opportunity to take communion together since all this began.  We are still wrestling if it would be possible to do a drive in gathering for Easter that is live-streamed as well. Interested in your feedback as to whether you would drive-in or join us from home. :) PRAYER We are getting our first reports of people who attend our body possibly having the virus.  If it is true that 40% to 60% of us will have contracted this virus in the next year or so, after a while these reports won't stand out quite as much.  But at this point each report weighs especially heavy.  At this point I don't want to share names (though some have given permission) until we know more and we discern the wisdom or lack thereof in doing so broadly. But let's be in prayer, expressing faith, not fear or foolishness...praying boldly and trusting fully.  Pray also for medical workers (which includes a number of people connected to our extended body).  Marlene and I are friends with a family in which the husband is a surgeon in a rather hard hit area of the U.S and has been told that the mortality rate there for medical workers who contract the virus is way higher than the norm.  In an email they said they are stressed, afraid, thankful, and trusting, all at the same time!  Perhaps that is many of us, but shifting the energy of worry to the energy of prayer as our first response is a very good thing! COUNTDOWN TO EASTER (Abbreviated and Adapted from our 2020 Lenten Devotional Book- "The Unvarnished Jesus") Biblical Stations of the Cross #2: Jesus is Betrayed and Arrested (Mark 14:43-46) When Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, it seems he really was wanting Jesus to stand up and fight and be the Rome-conquering Messiah so many wanted. Judas wanted to provoke Jesus into a violent revolution. He still wanted to be in the inner circle of disciples following a power driven Messiah.  In kissing Jesus, he was acting like he was still a disciple, because he still wanted to be a disciple, but on his terms.  He didn't want to betray Jesus; he wanted to control Jesus.  When we try to put Jesus in a box or force him to fit our agenda, we too betray him with a kiss.  May it never be so! IN CLOSING Youth, don't forget you meet tonight at 5:30 via Zoom.  Rest of the body, look for someone you can encourage this eveningspiritually or emotionally or relationally or all three.  And oh, the best idea I heard this week---dunk tanks make an excellent means of baptism, social distancing style, especially if the pastor has a good arm.  I seriously like this idea!!!! :) In Christ, Pastor Tim

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Cornerstone Alliance is a part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance network of churches. More information on the Alliance can be found at cmalliance.org

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2010 Marion Marysville Road

Marion, OH 43302

740-387-3565

 

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