Ministry at High Pointe During Times of Uncertainty

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…”
(Ephesians 4:11-13, ESV)


Ministry is hard. It’s hard under normal circumstances. But over the last year and a half, ministry has been especially challenging. When the spread of the coronavirus forced a shutdown of public gatherings, we responded in the wisest and safest way possible. When churches began meeting again, we waited an extra two weeks to see what the effects would be. By God’s grace, we have now been meeting for over a year without incident. Each week more and more of our members come back. Then, a new variant of the Coronavirus (variant delta) caused a surge in cases. As we once again enter Stage 5 safety protocols for the city of Austin, many are discouraged.

Throughout this pandemic, we have been reacting to the latest data, news, and government protocols. Much of life since 2019 has been reactionary. At some point, we may have to come to terms with the fact that this virus will not be over in a few weeks or months but will, instead, be with us for years to come. It may even become a normal part of our lives, much like the flu season. The question facing many of us is, “Will we try and sit this virus out, hoping it will eventually go away?” Or, “Will we need to learn how to go on with life calculating risks and following wise protocols to mitigate the continuing spread of the virus?”

Each individual must come to terms with what will be the best course of action for themselves and their family. Still, what does it mean for us as a church? Regardless of our circumstances, our mission does not change. Throughout its history, the church has faced many challenges, obstacles, and threats, including epidemics. Even in those times, the church pressed on fulfilling its mission. In his book The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark argues that during seasons of epidemics, the church grew dramatically because of its commitment to its care for one another. Jesus promised that the gates of death/hades would not prevail against the church. That was true when Jesus said it. It was true when the church faced wars and pandemics. It is true today as we face a global pandemic. Our mission continues, so we will press on.

To be sure, pressing on does not mean throwing caution to the wind. The coronavirus is serious. The latest variant (delta) is more contagious and aggressive than previous variants. We encourage you to become informed about the virus and the new variants. We encourage you to speak with your medical care providers about the safety, effectiveness, and ethics of the vaccines. We encourage you to follow the guidelines offered by the CDC. Each one of us must take responsibility for ourselves and our family to make wise decisions about how much risk we are prepared to take and how to mitigate further spread of the virus. We must face such times with wisdom. But we will not face such times in fear because our God is sovereign, and he is guiding all things toward his appointed ends. So, let us press on together in faith.

Sunday Gatherings
One of the things we’ve learned over this last year and a half is that we were not meant to be alone. We weren’t meant to live in isolation. Gathering together as a church is not only vital for our spiritual life; it is vital for our mental health. We need each other. We need to encourage one another and bear one another’s burdens.

We will continue to gather each Sunday at 9:00 am for Life Classes (see the schedule online here) and at 10:00 am to worship the Lord our God and to build one another up. We will also continue to gather on the Second and Fourth Sundays at 5:00 pm for our family prayer time. Though we will not mandate the wearing of masks or reinstate social distancing at this time, we encourage you to take whatever precautions will make you and your family feel safe. We understand and affirm the decision of those who prefer to avoid gatherings for their own safety or the safety of vulnerable family members during this current surge of cases. We only ask that if you choose to avoid public gatherings for a period of time, you help us know how to care for you during this season. We want to make sure you don’t feel isolated.

Life Groups
Many Life Groups are already meeting. Others will resume meeting this fall. We encourage LG leaders to discuss meeting with your group so you may decide together what that will look like.
High Pointe Institute | August 25

High Pointe Institute will begin on Wednesday, August 25. The High Pointe Institute (HPI) is a one-year training program meant to offer a pathway for growing disciples to be equipped for ministry both in the church and the world. You may find more information and registration here. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide childcare for Wednesday nights at this point. More on that below.

Women’s Ministry
Women’s Bible Studies will begin – one on Wednesday mornings (September 15 - November 10) and one on Wednesday evenings (September 1 - December 1). Also, T2Gs (Titus 2 Groups) will resume in September. For more information on these groups, click here.
Student Ministry

Our Wednesday student ministry gatherings for 6th – 12th graders will resume on August 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This meeting is open to all. It’s a great opportunity to fellowship and hear more from God’s Word. The students will resume their study of John’s gospel.

Child-care: Our Biggest Need
Presently, one of the biggest challenges we are facing is the need for volunteers for childcare. As you can imagine, many of the volunteers previously serving in the nursery were older members who are vulnerable to the virus. Additionally, some of our workers were younger parents who are not prepared to return to the nursery. As a result, we find ourselves lacking childcare workers.

Presently, we are only offering the nursery for our Sunday morning gathering. The nursery is available for children ages 8 months through 5 year olds not yet in Kindergarten. As we receive more volunteer help, we will be able to open the baby room. We will also be able to begin offering some nursery care on Sunday evenings. So, if you’ve been a member of High Pointe for at least six months and are willing to go through our screening protocols, we need your help.

Our primary concern as elders is how to care for you during this new normal. Lots of things have changed over this last year and a half. What has not changed? Our mission and our need to care for one another. So, we invite you to press on with us as we seek to be the church God is forming us to be for one another and our city.

Love,
Pastor Juan

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