After 14 weeks of digital church, we are officially relaunching LIVE worship & preaching at Substance (June 21st!) Sadly, we are not yet able to open our West Side campus (as we do not control that building); but, rest assured, all of these inconveniences are temporary!
Last week, we did a live worship and prayer gathering at both our NTN and DTN locations. And, to be honest, I under-estimated how powerful it would be. Even though we were socially distant, the atmosphere was electrifying. Afterwards, almost everyone kept saying the same three things afterwards: (1). There’s nothing like CORPORATE worship. (2). There is an obvious difference to preaching when everyone’s distractions are truly minimized. (3). And there is an abounding love that flows when we physically see our loved ones – especially after all that we’ve been through.
Obviously, we are wanting to reopen in a way that is safe and socially responsible. It’s important to understand that, whenever people come together, there is always an increased risk of spreading COVID. Thus, I encourage you to read my blog: “The Joy & Germs of Singing: The Fascinating Science of Reopening Church” to better understand the risks.
That said, in this toxic political environment, many people have been tempted to interpret all of Substance’s decisions as political positions. Between our goals on safety to our goals on diversity, it’s almost funny to hear everyone’s anxious perceptions. But, rest assured, our agenda is quite simple: We just want to see your lovely faces back together again! And we believe that, what the world needs most isn’t more “opinions & positions;” but rather, we need the joy and kindness of God. And that’s why we’re prepping for a weekend of worship and outreach you will not forget!
But here is how we’re Relaunching: This weekend, June 21st, we will be doing live worship at both NTN and DTN. I’ll be preaching live! And I have a uplifting (& kid-friendly) message for you and your family. We encourage you to sign up for our new service times (8:30a /10a/11:30a) using our church reservation software at www.SubstanceChurch.com. Masks are available if you need them. We will NOT be doing full-throttle Kids Ministry (for at least another week); however, please come! We will be broadcasting the service into special “Family Overflow Rooms” – places you can watch the service with your squirmy wormy kids! We will have kids volunteers to assist you! And more, we will create activity tables (with bags full of ministry goodies) to keep your little ones busy as you enjoy the service. And once again, this “Phase 3” strategy is temporary. Our goal is to scale back to full kids ministry asap – but in a way that meets the high standards of the CDC. And if you’ve been certified to serve in our kids ministry already, we encourage you to dive in with us. We need all hands on deck as we relaunch hundreds of ministries!
Last, but not least, we are celebrating our reopening by scaling up our “Love This City” outreach into Downtown! Since COVID hit the U.S., our Northtown campus has given away over 1 million pounds of groceries to people in need! And now, using our Northtown campus as a preparation hub, we are now permanently establishing this ministry in Downtown! Imagine if every Sunday after church, our Northtown Campus packs boxes of groceries (from 1-3p); then, our refrigerated trucks roll into downtown. And 5-8p, we set up the ultimate dj-party cook-out in Historic Wesley Parking Lot (COVID-safe, of course!) And after a friendly meal, we will personally bring these grocery boxes to people’s apartments… while also giving away backpacks (even Teddy Bears) and a large dose of God’s joy.
And Get This: Starting this weekend (June 21st) we are going to be doing some version of this EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT into the future! Historic Wesley is once again THE PLACE where the hurting can find help. We are a “local well” filled with “Living Water” (Jn 4). And if you want to help, (either at NTN or DTN) sign up here:
But, here’s the big picture: It’s time to safely relaunch physical church. Digital church has been great. (And we will continue to provide it and upgrade it). But there will never be a substitute for the gathering of the saints. We live in a world where everyone likes to make a point instead of making a difference. Let’s use actions over arguments to be the change. After all, that’s what it means to “live with substance.”
Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing. But let us encourage one another, and all the more as we see the Day approaching.”