One Branch Alone Cannot Bear Fruit

Facilitating the church’s regional ministries

The Association of the Churches of God is the regional ministry arm of the Church of God (Anderson, IN) in Oregon and Southwest Washington. We exist to facilitate the church’s regional ministries. We invite you to explore in these pages the ministries and churches of our area, as well as the resources we have available.

Church

Purpose of The Association:

  • To conduct business as the legally-incorporated body of the Association of the Churches of God in Oregon, Inc.
  • To provide assistance to Oregon and Southwest Washington congregations and be a channel through which local congregations shall be mobilized to fulfill our united vision and mission.

Vision of The Association is for every believer to fulfill the mandate of the Great Commission, the Great Commandments, and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Mission of The Association:

  • To create and maintain ministries that will strengthen, encourage, supplement, and promote local congregations of The Association.
  • To inspire commitment to the teachings, mission, and theological perspectives of the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana.
  • To provide support for the development of healthy Church of God congregations.

Our Beliefs:  http://www.jesusisthesubject.org/our-beliefs/

Our History:  http://www.jesusisthesubject.org/our-history/

March 17, 2020

Greetings Association Churches and Leaders,                                                

If you are like me, your inbox has been inundated with messages from companies explaining how they are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. This is part of the reason I have hesitated to send a message to you. However, at our District Council meeting last night I was asked to make a statement on behalf of our Association.

Often, we think that there are two ways to respond to a crisis of this proportion, fear or faith. I am suggesting a third way, the way of love. Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was,
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ ‘This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40).
You may be asking what does love have to do with it? I believe now is a great time for the church to follow the way and Jesus and respond to this crisis in a loving way toward each other and toward our community. What does this look like?

1. Remember that the Church is not a Sunday worship service. The Center for Disease Control has recommended that the public not gather in groups of 10 or more. This is part of a strategy called “social distancing” and is intended to slow the inevitable spread of the virus. This has a direct impact on our Sunday gatherings. I would recommend that for the next 3-6 week our churches suspend their worship gatherings and other group meeting of 10 or more (Our National office is suggesting we may need to plan for as many as 8 weeks.). This measure may seem extreme, but it is intended to protect those who are most at risk. I would suggest this is the loving thing to do. Many of our churches have already begun streaming their services online and finding other creative ways to stay connected. We do not cease to be the church because we aren’t gathering on Sunday. This is a fluid situation so ongoing communication and revised timelines and decisions are appropriate.

2. Find ways to care for those most vulnerable. The CDC has said those most at risk are: This by no means leaves the rest of us less vulnerable or incapable of spreading the virus. I would encourage our churches to find ways to connect with and help those in need. This may include regular wellness checks via phone call (Yes, you can still use your smart phone to make a call) or via social media. Offer to pick up food or other essentials so those most vulnerable don’t have to leave their homes, keeping in mind the importance of safety for yourself and the other person.

3. This is a great missional moment. Often in times of crisis what distinguished followers of Jesus from the rest of the world was their willingness to rush in when everyone was rushing out. Remember, God is always present and at work in our neighborhoods and our world. We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and move toward our neighbors as we feel led. This may mean checking on them, finding ways to help, listen for signs of fear and anxiety and be a support and encouragement. Check with your school district to see if there is a way your church can help with families effected by school closures by providing food. Listen for those affected by layoffs or other disruptions of work life and income and find ways to help. Be creative.

4. I would encourage continued financial support for the local church. During the next 3-6 weeks, it may be difficult for people to get out of the house, but our churches will still have expenses to cover. We need to be faithful in our giving! There are several ways we can continue to provide opportunity to give:

• Offering an online giving platform can help many, particularly if it has a “reoccurring giving” option. This allows them to set the amount and the frequency. They can give their tithes automatically every week, bi-weekly or monthly. Most of these options come with a small service fee per transaction, but that is a small price to pay.

• Offering a “mobile usher” service. Giving people the option to have their check picked up by an usher who comes to the house to receive their tithe. Or simply encourage them to mail it in.

Regardless of the way you communicate with your congregation during these times, don’t be afraid to remind them to be faithful in their giving. But please be sensitive to the economic challenges that may be brought on by work stoppages. Help them to remember and receive the blessing of faithfully giving!
This is an unprecedented moment around the world. It is not a time to let fear rule or use the argument of faith to ignore the recommendations by the CDC. It is a time to think of others and to love our neighborhood as ourselves. This is a time for churches to pray and discern together what the way of love would have us be and do. As always, I am praying for you and I am here to support and answer any questions you may have.
May the God of peace and love guard your heart in Christ Jesus.

Rev. Jerry Davisson | District Pastor
The Association of the Churches of God
in Oregon & SW Washington

https://orwacog.org/events/gravity-leadership-boot-camp-3/

 

To print copies of the poster: CHURCH OF GOD 2020 SUMMER CAMPS poster