Adam Hamilton

Pastor Adam's Enote

Making It Through Uncertain Times

Posted Mar 20, 2020

Share This

Dear Resurrection Family,

This has been a week unlike any of us have ever experienced. I know many of you are worried about loved ones, are trying to navigate working from home with children out of school, or are anxious about finances and the future. Our world has been turned upside down.

When it all begins to overwhelm you, can I offer a suggestion? Pause, take a breath (literally, take a deep breath) and pray this simple prayer: “Thank you, God. I know that you are here, that you love me and that you will not let me go.”

We’re going to make it through these uncertain times. I have an old suitcase in my home office that belonged to my grandfather. It’s filled with the front pages of the Kansas City Times and Kansas City Star from the 1930’s and 1940’s – I’ll show it to you in my sermon this weekend.

My grandpa saved these newspapers as a reminder of the remarkable things he and his generation, the Greatest Generation, lived through. We are not facing the Great Depression and years of unemployment. Most experts predict the economy will roar back in the fourth quarter. We’re not taking up arms to fight tyranny overseas – we're fighting a virus by staying home to help protect our older and more vulnerable populations. The conditions under which we’re fighting this virus are very different from of the 1918-1919 "Spanish" Flu to which it is being compared.

We’ll make it through this together, helping one another, supporting one another, each doing our parts. I’ll share stories of what that looks like in my sermon this weekend – I’ve already heard some beautiful examples of this! We’ll make it through this with courage and hope as we trust in the One who said, “Don’t be afraid, I am with you.” Adversity and challenges bring us together; they bring out the best in us and lead us to a deeper trust in God, and for that I’m grateful.

It will be hard, particularly for many small businesses and people who work for businesses that will be closed for a time. It is frightening, particularly for those working on the front lines in the medical fields as caregivers and for those upon whom others depend on for services. We’re all going to have to help each other, but we will make it through this time.

I want to encourage you to be in worship this weekend, but to do that, once again, online. We will not hold in-person live worship for the congregation until it is deemed safe to do so. Last weekend’s service was beautiful. The music was led by the worship leaders from all of our campuses and included modern and traditional music. It was deeply meaningful last week, and it will be again this week. It was awesome to have our entire congregation sharing together in worship led by people from all of our campuses.

Some have expressed concerns about having all of our campus pastors and worship leaders together. What if any became ill and then our entire team of worship leaders became ill? This is a valid concern. We are taking the same important precautions we want everyone to take, which is to spread our worship team out and being sure – even during set-up and rehearsal – that they are maintaining a safe distance from one another. Of course, if anyone on our team has any symptoms, we’re requiring them to stay home. Additionally, we have a broader staff of worship leaders and pastors at all of our campuses than can lead at any service, so we’ll also have opportunity for rotation as needed. Even in our planning and leading of worship online, we are taking the precautions I encourage us all to take as we all work together to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

I came down with a head cold this week and though I’m 95% recovered, I will not be coming in to preach. Instead, while the rest of the service will come to you from the Leawood sanctuary, I’ll be preaching the sermon from my kitchen table. LaVon will be running the cameras (with guidance from Sandy Thailing, a member of our video team).

This seemed an appropriate place to preach from as we continue our series on Breaking Bread with Jesus, particularly as we focus on the story of Mary and Martha inviting Jesus to their home for supper. This story seems amazingly appropriate for this weekend. Mary and Martha invited Jesus to supper. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet calmly listening to the Master, while Martha anxiously worked away in the kitchen, becoming more and more frustrated with her sister. By the time we’re finished with the sermon we’ll have learned important lessons from both Mary and Martha – as well as from Kevin Timmons of Nick and Jake’s restaurant, from a waitress at Denny’s, and from a few others as we hear what God would say to us through this meal Jesus ate at the home of these two sisters. Don’t miss this.

Last weekend, our first weekend ever to only be online, we had over 25,600 people join us for worship. That’s double the number of people who usually worship with us on an average weekend, and almost the number we usually have on Easter. Many were people whose churches were closed and do not offer online worship. Many others were people who felt for the first time, perhaps in a long time, that they needed to be in church. And we had a great turnout from Resurrection members and visitors.

You likely have friends who are anxious for whom our services would be a source of comfort and strength. Why not invite your circle friend to join you this weekend online?

Stay Connected

One of the critical needs we have as human beings is for community. Church is one of the most important communities we have after our nuclear family.

So how do we stay connected when we are maintaining “social distancing”? We have to be really intentional about connecting. Please be aware of your friends, neighbors, family members or those you normally sit by in church, and be intentional about reaching out to them. Send an email, text them, or pick up the phone and make a call!

Here are a few ways you can continue to stay connected with the church:

  • If you need to talk to a pastor, call the church.
    • Leawood: (913) 897-0120
    • West: (913) 538-7800
    • Downtown: (816) 979-1330
    • Blue Springs: (816) 389-8900
    • Overland Park: (913) 642-4400
  • Follow Resurrection on social media. (Leawood links are at the bottom of this enote. Campuses, please check your campus pastor’s enote.)
  • I’ll be sharing a live evening devotion, a vespers, on Tuesday nights at 8 pm on my Facebook page. You can see my first vespers by clicking here.
  • For regional campuses, your campus pastor will be live to share with you each Thursday on your campus's Facebook page.

Care for your neighbors

Although we have had to postpone some projects and events that involve large groups, we are continuing to find ways to serve those in need in our community.

We have set up a “Missions” fund online where you can contribute to helping meet community needs. The church will use the donations to provide a variety of resources in real time where most needed. For example, funds could help us provide:

  • Additional food to pantries and partners (including our own Resurrection Overland Park food pantry) at a time when food insecurity is increasing
  • Extra supports to our partner schools and other area school districts who are grappling to support vulnerable students and their families while school buildings are closed
  • Immediate financial assistance to community organizations on the frontlines of serving those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis
  • Resources to meet the needs of individuals and families who are being impacted by isolation and job loss or interruption.

I am so proud of the way our congregation continues to step up embody Christ’s love throughout our community. Here are just a few of the ways you have served this week:

  • Hundreds have gone to our website (cor.org/localimpact) where we are listing opportunities to serve, including many you can do with your family at home.
  • We’ve had overwhelming response to a request from our Silver Link ministry to write encouraging notes to our senior members.
  • The Food Pantry at Resurrection Overland Park initiated a “drive-up” pantry distribution to safely continue to distribute food to our neighbors.
  • This morning we had a “Drive-Up Food and Supply Drive” for the homeless. You filled a truck with food and sanitation items for Kansas Citians served by Hope Faith Homeless Assistance Campus.
  • We continued to deliver food bags to students in our partner schools, working with the schools to provide a safe way to drop off bags and allow families to pick up. We’ll work in small groups (fewer than 10 people) to fill food bags for delivery next week.

You can learn about opportunities to serve on our website: cor.org/serve.

Ministry Updates

At Resurrection, our lead team is meeting by video chat each morning as we evaluate and make plans to continue ministry in this ever-changing environment. We are working to keep the health and safety of our congregation, staff and community as a priority. As decisions are made, we are updating a document at cor.org/coronavirus. There is also a link at the bottom where you can submit a question. Here’s a quick summary of some of the actions we have taken to date:

  • To protect families in our congregation and community, the Easter Egg Hunts at each of the five Resurrection locations have been cancelled. We are exploring alternative ways to have a safe family celebration.
  • We are developing ways to offer some special online community experiences during Holy Week at each of our campuses, but we have decided to cancel the community dinners and communion on Maundy Thursday.
  • Our congregational care pastors are continuing to provide care and support to those in hospitals and care homes through calls and notes, since the facilities have restricted visitors.
  • At this time, we are unable to conduct funerals or weddings with more than 10 people in attendance, but we are working to provide other options for these life events.
  • Beginning next week, all of our small groups and support are going to meet virtually. If you are a small group leader, the church will provide software to help you to do this. Contact Melanie.Hill@cor.org. Support group leaders should contact Tom.Langhofer@cor.org.
  • Our Wednesday night study of The Walk will be live streamed, just like worship. I encourage participants across all campuses to join us online.
  • Rezlife youth groups will not meet in person on Wednesday night, but they will be sharing a worship devotional video on their YouTube page this Sunday.
  • KiDSCOR will share a lesson and a prayer on YouTube and their social media sites on Sunday morning, including on Facebook Live at 10:30 am. They are working on other ways to connect with kids during the week.

Try this when washing your hands:

With all the emphasis on hand washing, some of you shared with me that in the 20 seconds it takes to wash your hands well you can say the Lord’s Prayer. You were right and I began doing that this week. Then I began to branch out and simply pray, using the form of prayer I taught you in The Walk – five elements for each of the five fingers on your hand: praise, thanksgiving, confession, requests and yielding your life to God. Try a different one each time you wash your hands.

And, as you hopefully have a little extra time on your hands, don’t forget we’re reading the Gospel of Luke together through Lent. As a congregation, we’re on Luke chapter 9 today – if you haven’t started, you’ve got plenty of time to catch up. Let’s read Luke together as a congregation!

A word about your giving

Your financial support makes possible the ministry of our church in Kansas City and beyond, and while that ministry is shifting to using technology during this pandemic, the ministry still continues.

Our pastors are calling and using tools like Facetime to connect with people we are not allowed to visit in the hospitals. This week we’ll be mobilizing for a church-wide calling campaign to check on all of our members by phone. Our children and youth ministry staff are using technology to stay connected with your kids and students, as are all of our other ministries. And we’re engaging in giving support to people who have lost jobs or who may otherwise struggle during this time.

Without passing the offering plate each weekend, we anticipate a reduction in giving and we know some who have been laid off have already had to reduce their pledges until they are re-employed.

For those who are fortunate to continue to have a steady income during this time, we need your help. We’re looking at everything we can do on our end to reduce expenses through the next couple of months, but know how grateful we are to all of you who are regular givers and who either give electronically, using your phone, or by mail. If you would like to sign up for online giving click here. If you are mailing your offerings you can send them to:

Church of the Resurrection
Attn: Finance
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224

Again, thank you for your faithfulness!

See you in worship (online!) this weekend!

Adam

Adam Hamilton

Adam Hamilton

Reverend Adam Hamilton is the senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection and the author of 22 books. He has been married to LaVon since 1982, and she has been a critical partner in every dimension of Adam’s work. They have two daughters and one granddaughter.

Adam's writings are known for helping readers make sense of challenging theological questions, exploring the significance of the biblical stories, and equipping Christian leaders to be more effective in their work. He earned his MDiv from Perkins School of Theology and graduated with honors from Oral Roberts University with a degree in Pastoral Ministry.

corgps-circledgps-plaingps