Heucks Retreat Newsletter 6/12/20

From Daniel’s Den…

Regathered Worship: Laying Down Self

This article is a post from David Manner, Associate Executive Director of Worship and Administration for the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. I hope that you will find these insights helpful as we consider guidelines and procedures for renewing corporate worship at Heucks Retreat Baptist Church.  -Daniel

Most churches are trying to figure out how to safely gather in person again after a couple of months of online services. Leaders and congregants are realizing how they gather, how many they gather with and what they offer as they gather won’t look the same as it did before. What they will also soon realize is that everyone will be asked to sacrifice something if this new normal is to succeed.

Terry York and David Bolin wrote, “We have forgotten that what worship costs is more important than how worship comforts us or how it serves our agendas. We should not lift up to God worship or any other offering that costs us nothing. If worship costs us nothing but is fashioned to comfort our needs and preferences, it may not be worship at all.”[1]

Worship that costs us something will require sacrifice or the willingness to surrender for the sake of something or someone else. Sacrifice is the act of giving up, offering up or letting go. A bunt in baseball is designated as a sacrifice for the purpose of advancing another runner. Executing this sacrifice is called laying down a bunt. What an interesting word picture for the church as it regathers in this season of uncertainty.

Laying down our selfishness and sacrificially offering our bodies as a spiritual act of worship may cost us wearing a mask during gathered worship even though we think it is unnecessary. Sacrificial worship means we are willing to do so because we love those with whom we worship more than we love our own convenience.

The cost of laying down our selfishness may also mean that because of our age or compromised health we will continue to watch the services from home so that the gathering guidelines for others won’t need to be quite as stringent. Sacrificial worship means we are willing to do so because we love those with whom we worship more than we love our own convenience. How we worship may have to change as our churches regather, but whom we worship never will.

When Jesus engaged the Samaritan woman at the well the conversation moved from the physical…thirst, to the spiritual…living water. She attempted to change the subject back to the physical of the where and how of worship, but Jesus turned the conversation again to her spiritual condition and the who of worship. “God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

This divine encounter with Jesus inspired her to sacrifice the self-serving agenda that originally brought her to that place. She left her water pot and went into the city and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things I have done” (v. 28-29). Gathering together again will also require the same of us. Mitch Albom wrote, “Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”[2]

 [1] Terry W. York and C. David Bolin, The Voice of Our Congregation: Seeking and Celebrating God’s Song for Us (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005), 112.

[2] Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven (New York: Hyperion, 2003).
Notes From Brett

Returning to Church

We recently announced our intention to return to church in the coming weeks and hope to have a specific date for you by the beginning of this coming week.  In the mean time, check out the proposed guidelines so that you know what we’re doing to make sure we have a safe and healthy return, and also what you can do.

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School is currently scheduled for July 20-24th.  We hope this allows your child to have a great time learning about the Lord in a safe, healthy environment.  If you can help or volunteer in any way, please contact Allison Wallace and she’ll give you all the information you’ll need.

Praise Team

Drew will be starting a praise team to help him lead worship.  These people will hold mics on stage and help lead us all in worship.  This won’t be taking the place of our choir when they can meet safely again, but will be in addition to them.  Current plan is to cycle between different people each week to give many the opportunity to lead.  If you’re interested in being part of this team, please contact Drew at 601-757-6008. 

Youth Summer Camp

Youth will be going to Summer Camp July 12-15th at Pine Lake Fellowship Camp in Merdian, MS.  This camp will be restricted to only those who go with us (no other churches are involved) with the intention to keep everyone safe.  We are also welcoming our rising 7th graders to join us.  If yours wants to sign up, please contact Brett to register.