2 Things: Journaling & Local Small Churches

I have a love/hate relationship with journaling. For a few decades now, I have carried a journal around with me. I get a little picky about the journals I use. I always use them for various notes throughout my day, sermon notes, lists, doodles, etc., and hopefully for drawings during conversations (it is almost always a good conversation when a drawing is involved). Sometimes, hopefully more times than not, I journal in them about what happens during my days and my thoughts about various things. Then I go for a period without journaling about my days. Eventually, I’ll start up again because I really prefer it when I am journaling.

The reason I bring this up right now is that I was thinking about how this is a good time to be journaling. The things that are going on right now are events that we should think through and consider. I believe journaling helps us do. There is just something about writing on paper that I believe helps in truly considering our days. At least, it helps me to sort through what I am thinking and feeling during tough days, and these are tough days. I also believe this is a good time to journal because these are unique days. This time will be something we will want to look back on, our kids, and grandkids will want to see what we were doing and what we were thinking. So I encourage us all to journal, at least a little bit. If not for us, for our grandkids. Pam has the equivalent of a bullet journal from her circuit riding, Methodist minister of a great-grandfather. It is pretty cool to read what he did each day.

Over the past few days, I have read and heard several people making wonderful statements about supporting local businesses during this crisis. This is a great idea. I love local businesses. They have a local flavor. I am really thankful for chains when I am on the road and don’t have time to discover a local place, but when I am in a place with a friend who knows the area or have time to explore I would much rather eat at a local restaurant. Some place that “tastes” like that locale. Someplace that I can’t get in any other town. The same is true with other local businesses. They have the flavor of their town.

If it is an option, and for many it won’t be, we should consider buying take out meals from local restaurants and gift certificates from local businesses to help them make it through this rough period.

I believe this is also true of small churches. They have the flavor of their community. There are some wonderful HUGE web-based churches that produce some first-class, professional, smooth videos and teachings that can be consumed on the internet. I’m thankful for them in the same way that I am thankful for Lowes or Menards. Lowes is where I went when I needed boxes in Prattville, Alabama to help my mother move. That’s because I didn’t know what the local equivalent of Franks Hardware was in Prattville. Lowes “tastes” like nowhere. Franks “tastes” like Point.

Those monster national web-based churches don’t “taste” like Point and they probably don’t “taste” like your home either. They are the equivalent of going to a Sandals resort. To paraphrase Douglas Adams writing in the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” they are almost, but not quite, completely unlike your hometown. Those churches probably don’t want to taste like your home because they are trying to reach people all over the US and world. Like Target they are a homogenous. They look and feel a little bit like everywhere, but not really like anywhere. Your local church is trying to reach people in your hometown so it feels like your hometown. Your small local church is different and this crisis is going to be very difficult for many of them. I would encourage you to support your small local church.

The megabox stores are going to survive this crisis, while our local businesses are going to seriously struggle. I fear the same is true for small local churches.

“Threads” this post isn’t meant to worry you about Tapestry. We aren’t going anywhere. Since we don’t have our own building our expenses actually went down because we aren’t paying rent for however long this thing goes on. Yeah for being a nomadic church!

Latest Tapestry-COVID-19 Update

Here’s the letter that I just published on the church website:

Tapestry & COVID-19 – Update 3/18/2020

You may have heard the old joke about how to make God laugh. You tell Him your plans. I don’t think God is actually laughing about any of this, the God of scripture cries over the pain of His people, but the last few days have been a reminder of how quickly plans can change.

First, the Leadership Team has been working out how Tapestry will gather to worship over the next few weeks. The CDC’s guidelines for gatherings keep changing. It has gone from less than 50 people, when we made out least plans, to less than 10. Therefore, as a church, we will no longer work toward meeting in smaller groups in houses and instead do video gatherings, similar to this past week’s, for at least the next three weeks. These video gatherings will be done via Facebook Live (which you can access without having a Facebook account) and Youtube. We hope and pray that by Resurrection Sunday (Easter) there will be some way for us to have some type of in-person meeting. We will broach that subject in the next few weeks. Thee will continue to be lots of changes. We will respond to those changes together.

On these videos, we will once again try to involve as many people as possible in each week’s video. We are going to focus on a theme that came out of last week’s video – Ebenezer. “Thus far has God helped us” and therefore we can trust that He will continue to help us. If you would be interested helps my making a video with your phone of 

  • You praying, 
  • You reading a Psalm, 
  • You sharing a story of when God has helped you during a rough time.

PLEASE NOTE – we are not looking for you to be smooth and polished in these videos. We are looking for you to be you. We are going to lean into who we are and we are gritty. So let your grittiness shine through and don’t worry about it being professional.

If you would like to do any of these, or something else, please contact Robert (robert.terrell@gmail.com). Share your Ebenezer and let’s together remind each other that God is trustworthy.

Secondly, we are recommending that our small groups find alternate methods of staying connected over the next few weeks. Google Hangouts, Skype, or Facebook Video Chat are some available technologies for doing this. We are all self-isolating to protect each other but we also need to fight against the emotional and spiritual isolation that can come with this self-isolation. Please reach out to the people around you. Please reach out to people inside and outside of the church. We have wonderful technology that is so often used to separate and divide people. We can use it so that others do not feel alone.

Thirdly, if you become sick or need to be quarantined we want to be there for you. Specifically, if you become sick and need someone to get supplies for you or pick up groceries please call someone on the Leadership Team and we will arrange to bring them to you. Cory (920-585-2630), Ellyn (715- 851-6504), or Robert (715-572-2198).

If you develop symptoms or are sick HERE are the CDC’s recommendations.