Message from our General Superintendent Doug Clay.   As many states begin loosening restrictions on church services and gatherings, this could be a time of confusion just as much as celebration. As ministers and representatives of Christ, we should be known for a Christ-honoring posture through trying times. I’ve seen that response throughout this Fellowship during this time, and that’s something for which I’m incredibly grateful.   I have some personal thoughts on what a Christ-honoring perspective may look like in this transitional phase of the pandemic where churches are deemed essential, but large gatherings are still discouraged in most areas.  

1. A Perspective of Gratitude. Government leaders from both sides of the aisle have made determinations that churches are essential. Let’s be grateful for this recognition. It’s undeniable that churches make an outsized contribution to the good of the communities we serve. Still, deeming churches as essential in this politically-charged season is not an easy decision. In the context of government, Paul reminds us in Romans 13:7, “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Let’s show appropriate respect and honor to those who have made these determinations-even if you disagree with their politics.  

2. A Perspective of Wisdom. Please closely follow and adhere to federal and state guidelines when providing worship services in person. When leaders are basing decisions on public safety, we should take those recommendations seriously. How those decisions play out in our church communities will take wisdom. That kind of wisdom is described for us in James 3:17, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  

3. A Perspective of Humility. The combination of a 24-hour news cycle and social media banter can create a host of armchair quarterbacks. Let’s demonstrate humility instead of arrogance and further model Christ through the decisions we make. Don’t do anything that would draw unnecessary attention to you or the church that would jeopardize our essential status. We’re reminded in Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”  

4. A Perspective of Dependence on the Spirit. Continue to allow the Holy Spirit to help you exercise innovation and creativity. The same Spirit that hovered over “the waters” at the onset of Creation, is the same Spirit that is hovering over you now; He can provide you with creative solutions to reach your community for Christ. As Jesus promised to His disciples, the Holy Spirit is able to guide us and instruct us in the face of any challenge. John 14:26, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” I am grateful for the leadership that you are providing to the district and network that God has called you to serve. The executive leadership team carries you in our hearts and prayers. We are getting through this.   Doug Clay General Superintendent