The New Normal (2020)

(2020) In the span of just weeks, it seems our whole world has changed.

Back in March when the stay-at-home order was looming, I (and many, many others) went to the DMV to renew my driver’s license before the offices closed indefinitely. As I drove into the parking lot, I witnessed something I had never seen before: a long line of people, standing six feet apart, snaking its way outside for hundreds of yards, as just a few people at a time were allowed indoors to conduct their business. I was amused and amazed, and even took a picture on my phone to show my family. Who had ever seen such a thing? What was novel in mid-March has now become our reality. An entire vocabulary has arisen for this new time: coronavirus, social distancing, COVID-19, and more. Who knew our reality could shift in such a short time?

The way SOTV functions has changed too. Staff have worked from home since mid-March, and the building is closed except for the Food Shelf and limited worship support. Worship is online, and we share community through Facebook Live events, Zoom, YouTube, and even the old-fashioned telephone. But, I am reminded of the promise of Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

As people of faith, we keep our eyes open to God’s work in the world, watching for the Holy Spirit to show up. And as we watch and wait, here is what I have noticed: God is doing new things with the Church. We are being stretched and challenged, blessed and sent into a hurting world that needs the love of Christ more than ever.

As we move our ministry into the virtual world, thousands of folks are showing up. Many are SOTV “regulars” but some are brand new to faith, wondering how God might speak a word of hope into their lives. Our Easter worship reached thousands of people tuning in to celebrate the joy of Christ’s resurrection. Each weekday, several hundred people tune in for a Coffee Break with a Pastor to experience Christian community, perhaps for the first time. And people from around the nation have joined us for online Bible study on Facebook Live. And you’ll see many examples of people living out their faith as you read the rest of this newsletter and our weekly emails (sign-up for weekly emails at

This month, on May 31, we will celebrate Pentecost, which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit following the ascension of Christ. In these days of COVID-19, I believe that we are experiencing another Pentecost moment. Just as the Holy Spirit unleashed those first disciples into the streets to proclaim the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ, you and I are called out into the world to share the good news in ways that are unprecedented. We are sent by the Spirit to share the gospel in word and deed. Thank you for all you are doing in response to the Spirit’s call. Thank you for being the Church.

Read the May newsletter.