We have all had a little more time now to adjust to this new normal. We are settling into routines or attempting to establish some routines. And it is important we make our faith life part of those routines. So I wanted to keep you updated on all things Good Shepherd through this difficult time and how you can continue to participate in our ministry together while practicing social distancing. There are multiple opportunities to be involved!
Unfortunately, the Facebook feed began to cut out after the sermon. Our church was not alone. I know of other churches whose feed began to drop around the same time. It seems as if the church broke the internet. Facebook was not prepared for the number of churches that would be steaming and the number of people who would be watching. We hope that Facebook will be better prepared this Sunday.
The YouTube feed seemed to work more consistently. We will again stream on both platforms Sunday’s service on both platforms at 10am. But if YouTube begins to cut out, then switch over to Facebook and vice versa.
To access both platforms for the Sunday morning worship, visit gs4nj.org/live-streaming. The feed will go live at 9:45am with the service starting at 10am. But don’t just watch. Join in by commenting. Start a watch party. Give us a “Like.” The more interaction we get, the more visibility we will get.
Women’s Bible Study
Women’s Bible Study was hosted online last Monday night at 7pm. The topic is on Great Women in the Bible. All ladies are welcome to join every Monday. We are using Zoom for this study. We will have the link available before next Monday on our Coronavirus Resource Page.
Men’s Bible Study
Men’s Bible Study will also be hosted on Zoom Video Conferencing on Saturday Morning at 9am. All men are welcome to join.
To access this gathering, visit https://zoom.us/j/712998486. You will need to download the Zoom app for your computer or smartphone. If you don’t have access to a computer or smartphone, you can dial in. But keep in mind that you will not have access to the video if you dial in. The number is (929) 205-6099. You will need to enter the Meeting ID: 712 998 486.
The men also have a text messaging group. If you would like to be added to the group, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Generosity and Giving
It is more important than ever in times like this to continue to practice generosity. The needs are immense. You can give online through our website at gs4nj.org/give. We continue also to check mail at the church office, so you can also mail your offering to 3139 County Rd 516, Old Bridge, NJ 08857.
If you have a need, please do not hesitate to reach out. We continue to regularly check voicemail and email. Our Brother’s Keeper Fund is established to help fellow members when financial needs arise. The distribution of these funds are kept confidential.
Wednesday Prayer at 7pm
We continue to host Wednesday prayer at 7pm via zoom. The login info can be found on the Coronavirus Resource Page. The calls last about 45 minutes. We use the time for conversation, sharing, encouraging and praying. Some people share. Some people just listen. It is an opportunity for us to check in and care for one another. We hope you can join us.
I shared during our online worship experience on Sunday that I have received a Call to become the Senior Pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Hurst, Texas. I wanted to send this email out today for the sake of those who were not able to participate in Sunday’s service and also to clarify a few things in regards to this news. Furthermore, since I made that announcement, I have received another Call to become the Senior Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Springfield, Virginia.
What does this all mean? What it means is that I have three Calls at this time. I have the two Calls to Virginia and Texas. I also have your Call to Good Shepherd. My family and I now enter into a time of discernment to consider if God might be leading us to one of these two other ministries or if God would have us continue our work in New Jersey among you.
One of the questions that was asked me was, “why now?” It certainly is not great timing considering all that we are going through right now with the Coronavirus crisis. As a pastor receiving these Calls, I don’t have much control over the timing. These other congregations chose to extend the Calls when they did. The protocol for pastors is to announce these Calls when they are received. In the age of internet and social media, this is not something that can be hidden for long. I would rather this news come from me than for you to find out through the grapevine.
You also need to know that this is not something I was seeking out. I am content and find joy in our ministry in Old Bridge. Both congregations approached me as part of their Call process. I did not ask to be considered, rather they asked me if I would consider. We have many good reasons to remain here.
These are unprecedented times. None of us have gone through anything like what we are going through now. It is hard to consider a Call at this time. The typical timeframe for considering a Call is typically 2-4 weeks. But with what is happening, I do not anticipate making a decision in that timeframe. It would be hard, if not impossible, to make a decision before we might return to some sense of normalcy.
I understand the uneasiness this creates in the middle of all the uncertainty we are already dealing with. It is an emotional time in so many ways. It is emotional for you, my family, and these other congregations. I do appreciate hearing from you during this time. If you have questions, please address them to me. I am available by email, call, or text. I also covet your prayers.