Dear Church Family,
We have now been able to meet in person for the past 4 Sundays, and while it has been great to be able to worship with many of you during those services, there is no doubt that our gatherings are not the same as they used to be. I’m writing to encourage you, to share some news about how we meet and invite your help, and also to issue a challenge that I believe we can unite together to achieve.
Invitation to worship & help everyone worship
In order to continue to offer the opportunity for all people to meet together for worship, we are required to offer 3 different church services. One that is only for people who are fully up to date with vaccine requirements. One that anyone can attend. And an online service for those who live at a distance, and those who are not ready or able to join any in person gatherings.
I am so pleased that we are able to meet together after another long absence, but I struggle with what our services are like right now due to the division that is required, and if our Premier keeps his word, it seems that the intent is for this to continue for quite some time.
Our vision is to be One Church. To be meeting and worshipping with Melbourne Bangjoo Church, to have our Kid’s Church and Youth church program running together and have sermons in English and Korean, to have life and activity and fellowship together, to meet as one – in person and online via livestream around the Lord’s Table. To be encouraging one another, reaching out and growing as we were early last year.
For now, we continue to meet as we are able, and from this week we plan for that to include live worship and preaching rather than just watching the screen. This will mean an increased load on people, and it still means that we can’t all be in the same service. I welcome any suggestions as to how we can make it meaningful for everyone.
I would like to invite you to pray with us for the church and the mission that our Lord has given us to be a light in this community. Lockdown and the absence of meeting together has taken a huge toll on us in many ways.
How can you help?
I want to say thank you for those who have been so generous in their time and gifts to make church possible – through the worship and tech teams, those who continue to minister to Kids & Youth, Louie as he leads the Bible Study, and the small group who keep the lawns mown, and others who are active behind the scenes that help keep us together.
This has fallen to a very small group – and we need to help them before they burn out. If you can help in any of these areas, I would ask you to consider joining in. Please don’t wait for someone else to offer, it doesn’t work that way. Last week I asked for help facilitating the services, and no one put their hand up. I’m not being critical, that isn’t what I’m saying, but sometimes we think that someone else will do it.
In many ways – I’ve described this time as like planting a new church. We are starting all over again – and it is all hands-on deck. That gives us a wonderful opportunity – and it is great to pull together as a family to see God work in powerful ways. Please prayerfully consider contacting the following people to offer help as you feel you are able.
- Gary Garcia – garden, mowing and maintenance
- Cara Rumble – Welcoming, covid safe team, Kid’s Church
- Joe Kim & Emily Rumble – Youth
- Emily Rumble – Worship and tech team
- Leigh or Brad – if you want to help but are not sure where you can best contribute
Our Current financial situation
There is another challenge that we need to commit to prayer. God has sustained us wonderfully through the last 2 years, and enabled us to financially support families who have lost all income until they can find their feet. Not meeting together, and the loss of people along the way with an inability to add to our numbers has meant that our offering and finances are very low and the same is true for Melbourne Bangjoo Church.
I have some understanding of the faithfulness and the commitment of our church family when it comes to tithing and bringing an offering weekly. Over the years we haven’t lacked anything through God’s provision and the faithfulness of His people.
I plan to teach on this in the coming weeks as a part of our FAITHFUL SERVANT series, but for now, I just want to let you know of our situation and invite you to pray, and if you have never known how God blesses us as we give to his work take time to prayerfully read these passages, and consider how God is speaking to you and inviting you to act in faith.
- 2 Corinthians 9:6 – 11
- Acts 4:32 – 35
- Luke 6:38
- Malachi 3:6 – 12
Thank you for your love for God and commitment to His body, His bride the church. Despite the challenges and the frustration of not being able to see clearly the best way of meeting together – I am really excited about the journey we are on. I believe that we are living in days of great anticipation as we await our Lord’s Return. In His infinite wisdom he has put us in the place, in Melbourne, in the South-Eastern Suburbs at this point in history to be witnesses who faithfully testify to the truth of the Gospel – the love of God – and His invitation that all are invited to find salvation and belonging in His family.
I would welcome your prayers, and your thoughtful response – it’s a great way for me to know that you are a part of our family on mission together.
On behalf of the Pastors and Leaders of the Oakleigh Baptist Community