From Pastor John's Desk - March 25, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters of West Highland,
This is certainly an unprecedented time of threat and anxiety, but also a time of opportunity and hope because of the Gospel. For the past two Sundays we have had record numbers of people joining the online broadcast. The many expressions of thanksgiving to us have been overwhelming. While worshipping “online” isn’t the same as being with everyone in our worship facilities, it has been a great experience for us all knowing that in some way we are staying connected with each other and worshipping together even though we can’t see each other. Last Sunday was particularly challenging for me as I preached to an empty auditorium!
As the first of other communiques that I will send to you in the coming days I want to thank you for your prayers for the church staff and our families. Please be assured that we are also continuing in prayer for all of you. To assist you in prayer I want to share the following items that all of us can be praying for:
- The online Sunday Broadcast. If we average three people watching online using the same device there were probably upwards of 1200 people taking part. We know of many dear friends from smaller rural churches that don’t have the capacity to do broadcasting that are plugging in to West Highland now on Sundays. Let’s pray that people will not have technical difficulties and miss out on the blessing. Pray also for those who have no opportunity to go online. We are recording the whole worship service now and can send out DVD’s of the service if requested.
- Pray for the speedy resupplying of needed medical gear and equipment for our hospitals, health centers and health care workers. There is a shortage of things like surgical masks in some places and this is putting great stress on health care professionals. Pray those on the front lines will be kept free of contracting COVID-19.
- The Elders and Ministry Team will be meeting this Saturday morning on a Zoom chat to pray together for one hour beginning at 8:00 a.m. There is a possibility we will be doing this every Saturday morning for the duration of this crisis. The church leaders are committed to persevering in prayer for the same things you are praying for.
- Pray for the Action Committee. They are meeting on Zoom every Tuesday and Friday evening for one hour. They are wrestling with how to implement government directives for our church like the essentials services directive given by our Premier. They are committed to assisting the church in insuring that we remain “relationally and virtually connected but physically separated” until this pandemic is over.
- Pray for the 3,281 people across Canada who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. There are people in every region, province and territory (except Nunavut) that have the virus. Pray also for their close associates and family members.
- Pray God will use this pandemic as a wakeup call to Canadians and that many will turn to the Lord.
- Beginning this Monday, March 30 we will launch “Daily Devotions with Pastor John.” This will be a 10 minute online devotion time using Facebook that will go from Monday to Friday. We are trying this as an experiment. The 10 minutes will be very simple with the reading of a Bible passage, with some comments, observations and insights to help us understand what the passage is saying to us, followed by a closing prayer. Hopefully this will provide an opportunity for us all to be in the Word and pray together.
- Finally, please see this email from Steve Jones, the President of our Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches. He is encouraging all of us to take part in a National Day of Prayer scheduled for this Sunday, March 29. This is a concert with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. The email provides some information. This is a great opportunity for Christians from coast to coast to coast to come before the Lord on behalf of Canada and the nations of the world.
May you all know God’s peace and power,
John Mahaffey, Lead Pastor