No Services or Activities
Sunday, March 15, 2020

To the Body of The Hills Church:

Our Decision to Not Gather Together
For the physical and spiritual health of both the body of The Hills Church and all those who are our neighbors, the Pastoral Team has decided to cancel all activities and services beginning Sunday, March 15 until further notice in response to the community effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Our Motivation to Glorify God through our Corporate Witness as Neighbors
This decision was not taken lightly as we understand that essential to the spiritual health of our congregation and fulfilling the call to display the glory of God corporately is our regular assembling together as a body. However, we realize that we must also fulfill the call to love our neighbors (Matt 22:39), honor our governmental authorities (Matt 22:21; Rom 13:7), and steward the health and physical well-being of all who are made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). We pray that both our body and all who are our neighbors will see in this decision both our deep desire to carry out the greatest commandment to love God  with all that we are (Matt 22:37-38) as well as to love our neighbor as ourself (Matt 22:39).

The Freeing of Our Conscience that We might not be Unduly Burdened
We realize that for some not assembling together on Sunday as is our normal habit and practice will feel like a violation of conscience and disobedience of Christ. Indeed, we affirm that it is both normative and necessary for the body of Christ to gather together so that God will be glorified corporately and so that we might grow in Christ both individually and together. However, in this exceptional situation we believe the gospel is best displayed by honoring our call as part of the gospel to love our neighbors as ourselves, both those who are of the household of faith as well as those who are not part of the body of Christ. Thus, we want to encourage all within our body that their conscience should not be burdened as if this were a lack of commitment to Christ or a forsaking of the call to assemble together for the warning in Hebrews is that it was a “habit” of some not to assemble together (Heb 10:25). Our temporary suspension of meeting together as a body does not represent our habit or normal practice. Rather, it displays our unity to glorify God by loving others as ourselves.

Our Call to Worship so that God would be Glorified Corporately
And in that regards we as a pastoral team want to encourage our body to not forsake the worship of God this Sunday morning. While we may not be able to gather together this Sunday, we are able to show our corporate commitment to worship God each Sunday by participating in family worship in our homes. Thus, we call our members to participate in worship and prayer in their own homes this Sunday morning. In God’s common grace to us, He has provided for us to be able to listen to Christian sermons and worship music through television, radio, and the Internet. We not only encourage our body to partake of this common grace, but call on our body to pray for the body of Christ, our neighbors, our communities, our nation, and our world particularly for their spiritual salvation and their physical health and safety related to COVID-19 as part of honoring our President’s call to a National Day of Prayer on Sunday, March 15. Additionally, as we have been studying and considering the book of Malachi together as a body, we would encourage the body of The Hills Church to read the entire book of Malachi. It would be appropriate to read Malachi out loud and be reminded again that our God is the God of steadfast love (Mal 1:2) and does not change (Mal 3:6).

In the Sundays to come, the Pastoral Team plans to livestream a worship service each Sunday morning via Facebook Live on our Facebook page. If you are unable to have your family worship time at the same time we livestream on Sunday, we would point you to sermons that are posted on The Hills Church website (http://www.thehillssa.org/sermons.htm). And for those who have children, Lifeway Kids has provided a free downloadable resources to help in family worship (http://www.bpnews.net/54463/lifeway-offers-free-athome-supplement-for-churches-impacted-by-covid19).

In Christ and For the Glory of God,

The Pastoral Team of The Hills Church