Watch Last Week   Give Now

Update from Eddie 3/19

Sunday’s Online Gatherings and New Teaching Series
Our lives have changed dramatically in recent days. In football, a quarterback calls an audible at the line of scrimmage when he reads the defense and realizes a more effective play is needed. I’m doing something similar with our Sunday teaching in the weeks ahead. The opening week of Let It Go was just right for last Sunday, but we’ll save the remaining teachings of that series for later and launch a new series this Sunday called OMG – Reclaiming the Name Above All Names.

We’ve all heard the initials OMG used flippantly, but I want us to reclaim those letters and the phrase they represent over the coming weeks. More than anything, we need to know this God we worship and serve, because knowing him more will help us trust him more. A group of my pastor friends from across the country have decided to teach this series together over the coming weeks. My prayer is that these teachings will inspire us to worship and trust God more than ever, even in the uncertainty of current events.

Wondering how we can move forward from all that’s happening? Join us Sunday at TryChurchOnline.com (8:45, 10:10, 11:30am) as we worship and reintroduce our Waymaker God. Please invite others to join us online. There is greater receptivity among normally unchurched people right now. Point them toward our Great God by inviting them to our online worship gatherings.

Construction Pause
As many likely expect, we are going to pause on our construction project starting in 2-3 weeks (after the roof that is about to be installed on our new worship space is complete). This step just makes sense. Since the length of time we’ll be unable to gather is not yet known (and since economic uncertainty is high), our elders believe it is wise to pause after the important step of roofing the new worship room. We are still Fearless, but we don’t want to be Clueless! We’ll resume construction as soon as we can.

The very best thing you can do to help is to either 1) join those who give electronically (here’s the link to sign-up) or 2) mail your gift by check on the same schedule you would normally give in person. Some of you are already doing this. Again, thank you, so much. Email BrendaL@wschurch.org if you have a question about e-giving.

When we speak of West Side’s financial needs, we are not failing to realize that many individuals are already being impacted financially by what is taking place in our economy. Incomes are being reduced, while investments are shrinking. We are hopeful and prayerful that the next few weeks will hold relief and recovery, but we know this is a tough season for many. So, we encourage you to not only sustain West Side faithfully and fearlessly during this time, but to do all you can to help sustain others. Many can do both of those things – and both are very important.

Celebrate
It’s important that we not obsess over markets and tightening personal finances. It’s also important to intentionally focus on things that remind us that our lives have meaning and our ongoing ministry is more important than ever.

  1. I have loved hearing about kids and students and adults meeting in groups virtually in recent days (our elder team met last night for an hour via Zoom, a virtual meeting tool).
  2. I loved seeing how quickly and strongly Westsiders responded to the call to feed under-resourced kids and families while kids are away from school (where many receive meals).
  3. I loved seeing more than 6600 devices join us for online worship last Sunday.

Check on people… keep your sense of humor… limit the time you watch/read the news… remember that bad times have come and gone before… prioritize your spiritual and emotional health… pray for those infected by the virus… pray that “the curve” we’ve all heard referenced in the news will, indeed, be bent by our precautionary steps.

Tuesday and Thursday Live Devotion at 9:30am
Join us on Facebook Live next Tuesday for our first live social media devotion. I want to pour extra encouragement and perspective into you from God’s word during this time.

Carefully read all emails and posts from West Side during this season. Email us at care@wschurch.org if you need something, including prayer.

Much love,

Eddie Lowen
West Side’s lead guy


Important info from Eddie to Westsiders

A message from Eddie Lowen, sent Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Friend, I pray you are well. I want to make sure we remain connected as much as possible during this unique and stressful season. Please, read on…

RECORD SUNDAY WORSHIP ATTENDANCE?
Last Sunday we could not gather in-person, yet more than 6600 devices connected with us through TryChurchOnline.com. For a non-holiday Sunday, that’s a record number of worshippers for us. The huge participation level was a result of Westsiders sharing our social media posts and inviting online guests via message, text and email. What a great response to an unfortunate limitation – let’s do the same every week that we can’t meet in-person!

For obvious reasons, we will worship together online-only until further notice. We will broadcast on TryChurchOnline.com during three of our familiar worship times: 8:45, 10:10 and 11:30am each Sunday. Is this the way we prefer it? No. But we trust God to use these circumstances as we pray and remain faithful.

CHURCH CAMPUS & BUILDING CLOSED
It’s a bit strange to type these words, but until further notice, the church campus and office is closed and all on-campus ministry meetings and events are cancelled. While there will be staff in the building much of the day and night, the doors will normally be locked.

MINISTRY CONTINUES, SO DETERMINE YOUR GENEROSIITY WILL TOO
If anything, the level of activity among our staff has picked up this week. Many innovations and adjustments are underway. I’m proud of our team. Look for email communication from staff leaders of ministries to which you are connected.

E-GIVING IS CRUCIAL
If you are already signed-up for E-GIVING, thank you for leading the way and for remaining faithful while we cannot meet on-campus.

However, if you normally contribute by check or cash while on-campus, it’s crucial that you now switch to e-giving. If you discontinue e-giving once the virus concerns pass, that’s fine. But for now, e-giving is essential to ensure West Side remains strong. Thank you!

USE THIS LINK for a secure page where you can opt for either 1) a scheduled withdrawal from your bank account, or 2) set up text-to-give (which allows you to fund your gift with either a bank account or credit card).

If you aren’t comfortable using these methods, mail your check (no cash) to WSCC, 2850 Cider Mill Lane, Springfield IL 62702.

TUESDAY & THURSDAY ONLINE DEVOTIONS @ 9:30am
During the time we can’t meet together, I want to meet with you twice a week for a 15-minute devotion – online. The current plan is to use the Facebook Live feature on West Side’s Facebook page/account. Meet me there at 9:30am starting next Tuesday, March 24. If we determine that we can add Instagram and use both formats, we’ll let you know. Look for social media posts to remind you of this opportunity.

RESOURCES
If you need some type of prayer or care from our team during this season, reach us through this email address: care@wschurch.org.

If you want to use your increased time at home to grow spiritually, check out RIGHT NOW MEDIA or West Side’s LET IT GO resource page. Watch our Facebook page for additional spiritual growth tools. Our small groups are not meeting in person at this time, so if you’d like help meeting virtually with your group, contact MichaelS@wschurch.org.

Some folks are already being impacted financially by the disruption of so many parts of our economy. So let’s be on the lookout for folks to help – and let’s pray God will bless everyone with what they need. And, of course, let’s pray for anyone who has contracted coronavirus – and for everyone involved in caring for these folks.

See you soon (I hope and pray),

Eddie Lowen
Lead guy


Important: ONLINE WORSHIP ONLY this Sunday at West Side

A Message from Eddie Lowen, sent Thursday, March 12, 2020

Hello, friend. This message is from Eddie, lead guy at West Side. This Sunday, March 15, we will worship together ONLINE ONLY during three of our normal service times: 8:45, 10:10 and 11:30am.

Obviously, we are taking this step due to heightened concerns about the spread of coronavirus. Also, we desire to cooperate as much as possible with the guidance being given by local officials, who are working hard to guard the health of our community. While the orders and guidance we’ve received reflect an abundance of caution, we agree: it is wise to accept some limitations and inconveniences in the hope of stopping a virus that is dangerous for some.

Although there is much we don’t know, let me attempt to answer some questions below…

IS IT POSSIBLE WE WILL WORSHIP ONLINE-ONLY BEYOND THIS SUNDAY?
Yes, but we will make that decision week-by-week. Although some public health officials are citing a 30-day period during which large gatherings should not occur, there will likely be clarifications and adjustments to the guidance being given. Stay tuned.

ARE SMALLER WEST SIDE EVENTS ALSO CANCELLED?
All on-campus events for this Sunday are cancelled, but early next week, we will make decisions about smaller events and gatherings. Watch our social media accounts and check your email often for communication from West Side over the coming weeks.

SHOULDN’T WE TRUST GOD AND MEET TO WORSHIP ANYWAY?
While some are expressing this view, we believe decisions about our worship gatherings (during a public health crisis) are a test of our discernment, not our faith. Because thousands of people trust our guidance and gather with us each Sunday, the impact of our decisions is multiplied. Don’t misunderstand: we are not sending a frantic message intended to frighten you; rather, we are attempting to be responsible members of the Springfield community.

WITH OUR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT, COULD THIS CREATE FINANCIAL CONCERNS AT WEST SIDE?
If you and I do not utilize online giving tools and the postal service to give faithfully, of course, it could. But I have a lot of confidence that Westsiders are generous, not because we happen to be on-campus, but because we are on-mission. If you don’t currently give electronically on a schedule, can I urge you to begin now? Here’s a safe LINK by which you can do so.

SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT THIS VIRUS AND ITS CONSEQUENCES?
You should be wise. You should practice discretion. You should be patient. You should avoid amplifying politically skewed information and accusations. But… you should also be hopeful – and you should absolutely refuse to panic, even if you contract this virus. In all things, trust God.

AREN’T WE STARTING A NEW TEACHING SERIES?
Yes, and one reason you should join us online Sunday (and invite as many folks as you can) is that God was far ahead of us as we planned: our new series is called LET IT GO. Want to guess Sunday’s teaching theme? ANXIETY. If you have friends who need encouragement about resisting worry during this crisis – or if you have neighbors and friends who can’t make it to their churches in-person, welcome them to join us online. Again, it’s TryChurchOnline.com.

Friend, I wish we were meeting in-person Sunday, but I’m not discouraged. You shouldn’t be, either. I am confident God is at work right now – drawing people to himself. The power of his Word and his Spirit will be evident as we “meet” this Sunday. Our church may not meet in-person this Sunday – but THE Church is alive and well.

My best advice to you (for however long this concern drags on) is found in Philippians 4:6. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Start your praying with thanksgiving. Pray for those infected. Pray for those gripped with fear. Pray for the families of those who have lost someone to the virus, not just here, but overseas, and even in countries that view us as enemies. Pray for those stranded while traveling abroad. Pray for the citizens of countries that lack medical resources and leaders who care about their well-being. Pray for our leaders (national, state and local).

See you online this Sunday. I am genuinely, incurably excited about this Sunday’s worship at West Side and the hope we will share!

Eddie


calm, precautions and coronavirus

A Message from Eddie Lowen, sent Wendesday, March 11, 2020

As this message is being sent, there is not yet a confirmed case of coronavirus in Sangamon County. However, if and when there is, we’ll all rethink how we move about town. So I want to offer some information and perspective that I hope is valuable to you.

  1. Our facilities team has enhanced how we clean and disinfect surfaces. For the foreseeable future, our team will clean more often and employ the strongest disinfectants we can safely use on door handles, railings, countertops, etc. Also, our KIDS MINISTRY team has enhanced how we clean surfaces, toys and hands during and between our kids gatherings. Of course, you are wise to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer before/after you touch common surfaces.
     
  2. Although churches are known for handshakes and hugs, let’s agree to offer a “thumbs up,” a “fist bump” or just a warm “hello” to one another for a while. If you’re a Star Trek fan, Mr. Spock would say this adjustment is only logical while viruses are a concern.

     
  3. Your personal level of caution should match your personal health. Most of us have minimal reason to avoid public spaces (at this point). Public health officials are currently indicating that our likelihood of being infected remains “low.” But if contracting a virus would be more dangerous for you than for the average person, please make wise adjustments. The more vulnerable you are to health complications, the more cautious you should be.
     
  4. If you have cold or flu symptoms, recover at home. We always prefer to have you with us in-person, but if you become symptomatic, be kind to yourself and considerate of others by avoiding all public spaces. You can always worship with us at TryChurchOnline.com. When in a public space, please be courteous by trapping coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or hand. Now is not the time to prove you’re a trooper, if it means possibly infecting others.
    On the other hand, please don’t give the evil-eye to (or attempt to shame) those who may simply be suffering from allergies. If you can’t resist the urge to make a citizen’s arrest on behalf of the germ police, you may need to stay home, also. If Mother Teresa could have compassion on lepers in India, can’t we be gracious with people who sneeze or sniffle?
     
  5. Resist both indifference and panic. No one knows how great the spread of the coronavirus will be, but it’s almost certain to be less catastrophic than some suggest – and more serious than others predict. Whatever the case, stay informed, and be discerning about the source of the information you consume. If you’re a worrier, remember that God’s promises apply to every kind of challenge we face, individually or collectively. Jesus said, “Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The current virus-scare will not be the end of the world – but even if it were, Jesus remains on duty.
     

For public health info, follow THIS LINK to the Centers for Disease Control (the oft-mentioned CDC) online page about coronavirus prevention.

NOW BACK TO THE MAIN THING…

Wasn’t At the Movies great?! Your response to it certainly was. If you joined us for the first time or attended more often during ATM, here’s a reminder: God’s word is living and active with or without being illustrated by a movie clip.

Some of us have grooved a new and better worship habit recently. If you are one of those folks, well done! Consider carefully whether or not your previous pattern of church attendance served you well. If not, leave those days behind. Come back to the table every week, humble and hungry. Be engaged and transformed by God’s word.

See you Sunday for the start of Let It Go,

Eddie Lowen
Lead guy

Stay connected to our website and social media for additional communication


Prev
Next
SHARE THIS PAGE: