Each month as we come to the Lord’s Table we are reminded that our fellowship there extends much further than that table. As we move out from the Lord’s Table to every other table in life, you hear exhortation from Hebrews 10:24-25.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
But in the brave new world of social distancing how can we continue to live life, “not neglecting to meet together.” The word translated, “meet together” means to bring together at one place or time. Yet, the origins of this word emphasize the fact of gathering and the unity of gathering, not the location of the gathering. For this reason, the Westminster Confession and our ARP Directory for Public Worship view the “where” of worship as one of those circumstances that must be ordered in light of “Christian Prudence.”
“Certain matters or circumstances concerning worship have not been fixed by a definite rule in the Holy Scriptures, such as the order of worship which is to be followed, the appointed time or place for the gathering of God’s people … must be guided by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.” ARP Directory of Public Worship, II.3
Why is the important? Because we take seriously the importance of corporate worship in the life of the Church. But at the same time, our elders, in exercising their care and oversight for the congregation, must weigh carefully how to balance the demands of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Commandments.
We believe that faithfulness to these commands demands that we continue our Lord’s Day gatherings via only live streaming at least through the month of April. All other gatherings for prayer or Bible study will take place through video or audio conference. Our Session will meet the first week of May to reassess our plans going forward.
We will gather each Lord’s Day at 10:30 am via Facebook Live. This stream will be simulcast both to our River City ARP Facebook page as well as to the Pottsville ARP Facebook page (Lord willing). If there are technical issues, the video will be posted on YouTube for later viewing.
The service will be simple. We will have a call to worship and response, I will lead us through our confession of sin, assurance of pardon, and confession of faith. Then we will share a time of teaching. Our service will conclude with a pastoral prayer, the Lord’s Prayer and then the Benediction.
I will email a full order of service each week which includes the lyrics to some of the songs included on the YouTube playlist. You may listen to these or sing them together in your home gathering. We will not sing them together via the live stream.
Of course, some elements of gathering are hard to reproduce as we practice social distancing: fellowship, service, and giving.
Experience fellowship through the means of virtual communication. Take time to revive the old custom of writing letters and cards to one another. And, of course, use all the modern means God has given us.
Serve one another. Find out what others need. You may be surprised by the needs of others. Need for conversation, need for encouragement and of course practical needs.
- Mail your tithes and offerings to: River City ARP Church c/o Matt Wylie, PO Box 156, Pottsville, AR 72858 or
- Set up “Bill Pay” from your online banking to send a check to the address above.
One of the remarkable things about the church is that it is a community that creates culture, it is not a community created by culture. It thrives and flourishes in every place, in every people and in every language. It transcends its circumstances and creates community and culture no matter what soil it is planted in. God has placed us here as the church in a very unique time in our history. Graciously He has also given us remarkable means to express our community as the Church in a way that enables us to meet together even when we are not together.
This pandemic will end. When it does, some things will go back to the way they were before, but in God’s providence, there will be many things we learn from this trial about living life together and about engaging our world with the gospel that will change us as the Church. Now is not the time for fear, but a time for worship. I look forward to seeing you here, online, this Lord’s Day at 10:30.