영국 이웅/Elena Lee 선교사 (10/15/2020 )
New City Church Ministry Report—
Oct 2020 Like all our brothers and sisters in Christ during this challenging year, by God’s grace, our church has continued to operate through many different means.
Zoom has been a platform that has enabled us to continue fellowship as close to normal as possible.
Whereas the preached word was never at risk of being affected, singing, fellowship after service, and ministering to the children of our congregation has been the most challenging aspects of our life of worship.
We’ve had to rely heavily on YouTube videos to be led in singing on Sunday services. Stating our faith together and corporate confessions of sin could not be said in unison as before, due to the lag that was present with differing internet speeds of individuals. Some individuals found zoom difficult but, although it meant a limited experience of church service, by God’s mercy those individuals had the option to phone into zoom without video capabilities.
It wasn’t all lament and discouragement because out of the discomfort there were blessings too. The fact that everything was online also meant that guest preachers were more readily available. New City Church were gifted with the servant heartedness of local fellow Serge missionaries and an overseas pastor from MNA, who preached regularly for us during the lockdown.
During the months of lockdown, we, as a church, have grown closer to one another in ways we did not expect.
With the fact that everyone was either working from home or being furloughed from work, individuals have made the effort to call each other, not after making appointments like pre-covid, but out of the blue, for no other reason other than to catch up and give each other company, especially those among our congregation who live alone. Whereas work responsibilities and the busy life of London restricted fellowship on weekdays, the pandemic lockdown freed us all to fellowship either on zoom or by phone.
I remember being part of organised game days (via zoom) where former members of our church across the world joined in with current members of our church. With no way to fellowship as normal after church services, we introduced testimony times where members would share how they came to faith. These were intimate, unity building seasons that was possible, dare I say only because of the pandemic.
It would have been rare to see people sharing their stories so openly in normal settings, but somehow the zoom setting created a comfortable space for people to be less selfaware, less self-conscious, which allowed confident discussions.
We also introduced Q&A times after the service which opened up space for worshippers to ask questions about the sermon. The questions that people ask reveal much about the person, and the response of those that participate also reveal much about themselves. These Q&A times opened up space for people to reveal and share vulnerabilities about their faith, which added to the growing unity and intimacy during the pandemic.
It’s been over 7 months now that we’ve not seen some people face to face. Over the last couple of weeks, the UK has been going through many changes with a second wave anticipated. In between, however, there have been opportunities to safely meet and enjoy each other’s company.
Our church has been physically gathering for Sunday worship for two months now (picture on right is of our first post-lockdown worship service) and thankfully, the government guidelines mean that places of worship will not be forced to close their doors, even if the second wave manifests. It leaves church leaders to decide what is best for the physical, emotional, spiritual health of their sheep.
God has been faithful in sustaining our church and continuing to lead visitors to participate in our zoom worship and we’ve recently had a person walk into our Sunday service upon finding us through our website.
Which leads me to ask for your prayers. Although sustaining church during these unprecedented times are challenging, with the gifts we have, evangelism has been near impossible. Our church’s presence in the online world is still quite weak and there’s much to work on.
Please would you pray for our evangelism and the development of our online presence in the months to come.
Oong and Elena Lee