March 31, 2020
In accordance with national recommendations, in-person gatherings have been temporarily suspended through the end of April, at which time we will continue to monitor and respond to the situation and guidance of our authorities.
This means that our normal communion meetings, April 5th and Good Friday, April 10th, will be done online. We are planning to do communion when we gather virtually during these times. We are planning to distribute communion elements (enough for both these dates) by April 4th to every member of our church. Please use the following form to let us know if you will need communion elements delivered, or you can help with this effort:
Here are the links you’ll need to stay connected to church while we can’t physically meet together:
March 24, 2020
In accord with state and local officials’ recommendations, in-person gatherings have been temporarily suspended through the end of March, at which time we will continue to monitor and respond to the situation and guidance of our authorities.
March 14, 2020
Dear Zoe Church family,
As our church’s leadership has continued to monitor the situation regarding COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel our in-person Sunday gatherings for the next two Sundays (March 15 and 22). Instead, we will live-stream the worship service at 1:30pm. We want to be clear that we are doing this not out of personal fear but out of concern for the people in our church and our community. Because of the unsure nature of the situation and its severity we want to exercise a measure of caution for the good of those around us.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
As you may know, Texas Governor Abbott declared a “state of disaster” and President Trump declared a “national emergency” over the current coronavirus crisis. The city of Allen has temporarily closed schools and other facilities. There is a lot of information floating around about how serious or not serious the situation is—the truth is nobody knows exactly but we’ll see better in the next few days/weeks. While the government hasn’t forced us to stop gathering, it is urging us towards taking very serious precautionary measures. So we’ve taken that into account.
We do believe that God has given pastors the responsibility to shepherd the church (1 Pet 5:2). But as we said in our last update we believe part of that is urging you toward faith and not fear and selflessness instead of selfishness. We’ve decided to cancel services for at least the next two weeks because we want to be selflessly concerned for those in our church and in our community who are considered “high risk”—we view it as an act of love to consider these people more important than ourselves (Phil 2:3).Until we learn more we don’t want to unknowingly be spreading the virus among people who are particularly susceptible to a more serious infection. As local and national measures have ramped up we want to acknowledge the possibility that this pandemic could end up very bad for some people around us. We want to make sure we’re doing what we can to look to their well-being.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
At Zoe we believe that the regular Sunday gathering isn’t optional (Heb 10:24-25). The early church met under threat of persecution and even death and they did it because they believed that worship, fellowship, and the teaching of God’s Word were worth the risk. It’s with heavy hearts that we would cancel any service so we’re not going to cancel our services entirely. We’re thankful that we live in age where technology will allow us to gather us together if not physically, at least personally. Our plan is to livestream church services and we hope that you will all tune in at 1:30pm. Right now we’re working hard to figure out the best way to do it. As soon as we do, we’ll send you details and instructions.
Our plan for now is to only do this for two Sundays (as that’s how long the city of Allen and Allen ISD have put everything on hold for now) but we will reevaluate as the situation progresses. So at least until March 22 all Zoe gatherings will be on pause. We hope to be back together as soon as we can. Until then we’ll seek alternative ways to be faithful in these weeks of uncertainty.
THREE (MORE) ENCOURAGEMENTS
Don’t let social distancing lead to the breakdown of fellowship. We might not be meeting in the same rooms but we’re all in the same boat. This is a time for us to pray for one another and care for one another. We truly believe God can use this time apart to actually bring us closer together as a church family.
Don’t let fear take control of you. The news cycle is nonstop and social media is overwhelming. By all means stay informed, but don’t force-feed your fear. God is in control and in times like these his presence is often more tangible—we need to seek him. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
Don’t let pride take control of you. Don’t be dismissive of others and their confidence or their fears. Instead, the Bible calls us to patience and compassion with one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 says, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” We have an opportunity to build each other up, to encourage one another, and to point those around us to the hope of Christ and the gospel. Let’s not squander this opportunity.
- Look out for our livestream link that we’ll be sending out for you to join our service, as well as posting on our website.
- Stay (metaphorically) in touch with the people of our church via phone calls and smaller groups as you feel comfortable.
- Be in prayer for the world, the nation, our community, and our church.
- If you have any needs during this time, don’t hesitate to reach out to the church. We want to help if we can!
- If you are reading this outside of our email newsletter, please sign up at https://zoedallas.org/connect to receive the latest updates.
Grace and Peace,
The Elders of Zoe Community Church
March 12, 2020
Dear Zoe Church family,
As elders, we wanted to provide an update and some encouragement to our church family in the midst of the many disruptions to life that we are seeing in our lives and communities. Part of our responsibility of shepherding is to care for the flock of God, especially in times of uncertainty or fear.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
For clarity, we have altered this section as our actions have changed in the March 14 update.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Church gatherings have been suspended through March 22, but the following recommendations are still in place:
- Stay home if you are sick or develop symptoms of illness while at church (fever, body ache, sore throat, etc.).
- If you’ve traveled to a country listed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Risk Assessment (China, Iran, Most of Europe, South Korea), wait for 14 days before rejoining church gatherings.
- Wash and sanitize your hands frequently, and attempt to greet and welcome one another with words rather than handshakes or hugs.
- Some individuals may be at higher risk of serious illness or have special circumstances. We suggest familiarizing yourself with the information on the CDC website for how those situations can be handled.
TWO ENCOURAGEMENTS FOR OUR CHURCH
It’s important during this time to keep the main things central. As a church we’re called to love one another. One of the ways we can love one another is to not unknowingly spread COVID-19 or other diseases within our church. So if you’re sick we encourage you to stay home. At the same time we need to examine our heart motives when it comes to others. If someone gets sick this isn’t an opportunity for us to shun them but to seek possible ways to care for them. Overall this is an opportunity for us to show the world the love of Christ by pursuing selflessness over self-centeredness.
LIVE BY FAITH, NOT FEAR
Remember that our faith is in God and his sovereignty. It’s good to prepare and take precautions, but ultimately our trust needs to be in God. He’s in control of the circumstances of our lives. As your pastors, we care about your health. But more than that we care about your souls. As Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” We know that a lot of people are scared right now but if there are any people in the world who are prepared for fearful times it’s Christians. Our future is secure and our hope can’t be taken away.
Please join us in praying for God to be glorified in our church in how we respond to every situation. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact the church staff by email or phone.