The past season has been a challenging season for all of us personally, but also for the church organisationally. Since the first Corona lockdown, regulations have kept changing and we have had to keep changing with it. We had to completely reorganise our structure and services, and find a new way of doing church.
In discussions about how we can start organizing on site meetings in Diligentia again, we have made two important decisions in conversations with our team and C3 oversight. In this message we’ve taken care to be both transparent and as clear as possible. To not keep anyone in suspense, we will share these announcements with you first, and will then explain in detail how we have come to make these decisions.
Onsite services will start by the beginning of October
First of all, looking at the current capacity at our teams over summer, we have concluded that until the end of September, we are not in a position to go back to physical services as we were used to, even though the regulations finally allow it. We have also made the decision to stop our online services in these months, in order to focus our efforts on getting together for church in the park meetings in July & August and a month of prayer in September.
Extended Summer leave Pastor Lucas & Nicola
Secondly, we, Lucas and Nicola, have decided to take an extended summer break from July – September.
So what has led to us to making these decisions?
There have been some great outcomes in this season. We’ve seen people join our church through Watch Parties. Also, we’ve become more relational as a community, have installed a pastoral system and church membership has increased overall, even though some people have left the church.
This season, however, has also brought its challenges. Several volunteers stopped serving because their team was no longer active, while other smaller teams were put under a lot of pressure to do even more than they did before. As a result some teams now need to be completely rebuilt. While a few leaders have stepped up, in the last 15 months 11 leaders have laid down their responsibilities. While we respected their decision as volunteer leaders, their responsibilities have been picked up by us and an increasingly smaller leadership and volunteer team.
This means that we are not currently in a position to go back to physical services as we are used to, even though the regulations finally allow it.
After 7,5 years of leading this church, and after 15 months of leading in a crisis, we, Lucas and Nicola feel tired. We feel we need to take time for our family to refuel, to pray, get new energy and a renewed vision for the future. Over the years, we have served the church with joy, often under personally difficult circumstances, having a family with a daughter with learning disabilities. Our daughter needs 24/7 care and we often get little sleep and very little rest at home. We are now at a place where we do not feel we have the energy to create the momentum needed to start onsite services without the support of a broader leadership team. We also feel that we cannot ask our current leaders, who serve and lead our church so well, to take on even more responsibility than they’re already carrying in this season.
Church in summer
As we have not taken this decision lightly, we – together with the leadership team – have created a plan for this season that should enable us as a church to come together with strength and lots of fun. So what will church look like in this season?
July – August: Church in the Park
In July-Aug we will organize Sunday meetings called church in the park. During these Sunday morning get-togethers we will eat, pray and talk about Scripture in a social and informal way. We feel this will be a refreshing time as a church.
September: Month of prayer
In September we will start gearing up for the next season with a Month of prayer, organizing Sunday morning prayer meetings in the homes of our church.
October: Launch meetings
The first 2 weeks of October we will organize 2 Sunday morning launch meetings in Diligentia Theater, for everyone willing to hear more about building the church together. During these meetings there will be an opportunity to sign up for a team, enabling us to kick start the next season of church together.
We understand that this news may come as a disappointment to some, as we are all looking forward to having on site church meetings. However, in order for us to build a healthy and sustainable church, we feel this extended summer season is the right course of action.
We remain grateful and committed
We want to express clearly that we are grateful to everyone who has continued to serve and support the church, with time, talent and finances. We are grateful for the gifted leadership team that has gathered around us. We are grateful for the board which allows us to take an extended break to ensure our health as a family so that we can continue to serve God. We are grateful for every person who calls our church home.
We are committed to the long term health of our church and of its members individually. We also are confident that He who began a good work in us together, will complete this work by His grace and power. We want to encourage you to be strong in faith, to pray for the church, the leadership team and us as pastors and to pray and reflect on what you can do to support the work of the church in the near future as we make plans for services and ministry in our city.
If you have questions or if you would like to talk about these changes, we warmly encourage you to contact our Lead Team (Deborah van der Velde, Sander & Anaira de Jong) by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Members of our church can also reach out to their pastoral contact.
With love & faith,
Lucas & Nicola