Dear Horizon Family,
In this challenging time facing the nations let us all remember Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth and hope and trust in Him in this time is crucial.
What we are facing is unprecedented in our world, covid-19 and particularly the fear of it is changing the world we know. As Bill Johnson aptly puts it, we are fighting “95% fear and 5% coronavirus”. However, despite the chaos and disruption, we are confident in God’s protection and utter victory in and through this season. We know all things will work out for the good and that while there are things being violently shaken, we are firmly set in a Kingdom that is absolutely unshakable.
As to be expected there are challenges facing the church nationwide and beyond, for example, the government announcement limiting gatherings to 100 people. We have seen the numbers on these gathering rapidly decrease overseas and are mindful that it may also continue to do so here. As trustees, elders and leaders we’ve stayed in close contact and seeking God for wisdom. Last night we met to plan how we move forward and as many others are doing, we’re choosing to see the opportunities within these challenges.
As a team we were absolutely unanimous in feeling that we, as a church, need to:
- Honour and follow the guidelines of our Government and National Health Department.
- The health and wellbeing of the precious members of our Horizon family is our highest priority.
- Staying connected with our Horizon family is important.
With those things in mind we have decided to change the way we do church. For a season are moving from meeting in our building on Sunday to meeting in smaller groups to watch the message being live-streamed from our building! So, one of our key strategies is launching small groups across the city. Our current Lifegroups are not enough to fit everyone in. These gatherings will be meeting in homes on Sunday (and more often if needed) at the normal church starting time at 10 am. They will then tune into the live stream. This Sunday the live stream will be at 11 am. These groups will be a great way to still enjoy fellowship, stay in touch and be cared for. We know this will only serve to strengthen our family bonds through this crisis. As the new way we are doing church for a season is unfolding, we will constantly update you should times change.
As you can understand, we need a lot more small groups. If you wish to be considered as a small group host please contact the office via email – firstname.lastname@example.org and supply the following details:
- Phone number
- A number of people you feel comfortable with and can host safely in your lounge (remember we want to honour the National Health Department’s guidelines. No hugging, handshakes or hongis. We also want to honour social distance requirements so we don’t want lounges packed out. We want all our members feeling safe with what we do over this time).
Again, we ask for much grace as we unroll this new wineskin. It will take a little time to connect people with homes. If you have an existing network/circle of friends in the church we would love it if you could transition it into a Sunday small group. Please get in touch with the office and let us know. We just ask you to appoint a co-ordinator so we can communicate with someone from the group.
Please remember the health and safety of our members is our highest priority. If you or your family are unwell, and especially if you are displaying coronavirus symptoms, please do not attend any gatherings or any of our small groups. I will speak more into this in my message on Sunday.
Initially, the live stream will be from our Horizon Church Facebook page. We understand that not everyone is on social media so below are links to connect to the live stream and the ways that we have up and running now for you to connect.
Here are the ways to stay connected:
- https://www.facebook.com/horizonchurch – This is the Horizon church Facebook page where you’ll find the live stream at 11 every Sunday. It is a public page so you don’t have to be a registered Facebook member to access it. Clicking on the link will give you access.
- https://www.facebook.com/groups/horizonchat – This a private Facebook page for our Horizon family. We want to use this for announcements that are just for our Horizon family and provide a forum that we can stay connected, share testimonies, be vulnerable and ask for prayer. You will need to sign up to Facebook for this forum and we will be screening those who join. We will ask two simple questions and you’re in.
- https://horizon.org.nz/connect – This is the connect page on our fantastic new website. We understand that not everyone is on social media so we will continue to communicate via email. If you know of anyone in our family not signed up please direct them to this sign up page.
- Prayer meeting – we will be running a prayer meeting at the building. The frequency and timing is yet to be decided.
Currently, about a third of our church income comes through our Sunday offering. We would love to keep all our staff employed and have a building at the end of this season. So, we are asking all our members to stay faithful in their giving and switch over to doing this electronically or digitally. You can find all the details to this on our website https://horizon.org.nz/giving. Setting up automatic payments will be hugely helpful in seeing what our new budget looks like.
We are going where we have never been before and the care of our members at this time is something we want to prioritise. We appreciate your patience as we develop new structures and methods of optimising our technology and maximising the channels we have available to us. Social media is one of those channels that is readily available for us to stay connected and make sure that everyone is feeling loved whilst honouring the restrictions that are in place and keep everyone safe.
There have been some events and activities that we have had to cancelled or delayed until further notice:
- The Kids Day that was going to take place this Saturday
- Men’s breakfast
- Mum’s group
We will make an announcement soon about the upcoming Ladies High Tea. We are encouraging all our Ministry Team Leaders to still keep in touch and to meet with their teams over this time. We understand that for many of our people, this has been their prime connection point and we don’t want to lose this
It is really important to understand we are not cancelling church! We are just doing church differently for a season. One of my favourite sayings is, “We don’t go to church on Sunday, we are the church on Sunday.” We will still be the church on Sunday but in a different way.
This is our time to shine, be the light of the world and salt of the earth, and model to others our unshakable reality. It truly is a storm that we have authority over and can have deep rest and peace in.
Let’s lean into this truth!
Talk with you all on Sunday!
Much love and grace to you all
Tim & Xenia