November 2020 Elder’s Report: Desmond Van Houten

This year has been an interesting time within our society. Tensions have risen among people because of 

differing opinions regarding the impact of the global pandemic, the US election, with a near equal split 

between the parties, along with other things. These differences are heightened because we live in an age where 

anyone and everyone can be a “reporter” with the advancements that have been made in cell phone technology 

and the openness of people to share ideas over social media that may have been more difficult to share directly 

with someone. During this time, it is important that we as Christians stand apart from this world and demonstrate unconditional love in spite of our different opinions. 

As the Elders have been meeting throughout this pandemic, a lot of energy has been put into prayer and discussion about how to effectively lead ministry while balancing the greater good of our church family. Candidly, here are a few of the questions that we continue to wrestle with: 

How do we open up the church and ministries safely? 

If we open, will volunteers feel obligated to serve even if they don’t feel safe? 

Will the congregation feel obligated to attend church even if they may not feel it is safe? 

Will the people who don’t attend be judged for having a different viewpoint than those who are attending? 

Will those who aren’t attending judge those who do attend? 

Satan would love nothing more than to use this opportunity to fracture our congregation by driving a divide over differences of 

opinions. Paul lays out an example of a Christian life in Romans 12: 

9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Show family affection to one another with 

brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. 

12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue 

hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with 

those who weep. 16 Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not 

be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 

18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. 19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room 

For His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord. 20 But if your enemy is hungry 

feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. 

21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good. 

Here are some practical applications for us to fulfill the expectations God has of Christians: 

Love one another unconditionally – Our church has been doing great at serving the needs for those within our congregation. We should continue to look for needs that we can fulfill and volunteer to step in to help, even if it is just for a season. We expect that it will be some time before the majority of the people are venturing back out to have church in person. 

Therefore, there may be needs to serve in an area of the service that someone else may have filled in the past. If you feel comfortable attending church in person, reach out to ask an Elder or the Pastor to find out where you may be able to step in and fulfill a need. 

Be persistent in prayer – Pray continuously. Pray for leaders to have Godly wisdom and to lead according to God’s will. Pray for the afflictions that are a part of this world due to sin. Pray that God would heal our land and remove this virus from existence. Pray to give thanks for all that God has given us, even during unsettling times. 

Be humble and grounded in our wisdom – Do not judge others according to your wisdom but allow God to judge others 

according to His. Do your part to live at peace with one another and not to spread anger and tension. If you feel safe in 

attending church in person, do not look down or judge those who do not attend in person. Likewise, if you feel it is best to 

stay at home, do not judge those who are attending Church in person. You can insert most any of the controversial topics into that pair of sentences. We should feel respected to have our opinions, but we should also respect that others may have a different opinion. We do no know the circumstances that may be leading to other people’s viewpoints. Love and respect for others, and their opinions, will allow us to live peaceably. 

Let us live apart from this world so that others will know we are Christians by our love. 

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