For many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, our shred season is finally kicking off. We hope. It’s impossible to ignore the fact that in a lot of places there are more question marks than actual plans for what the season will look like. We all recognize that this winter will be different than any season in the past. And that’s okay! Change is inevitable in life. In the midst of these trying times, first and foremost, we are trying to make sure that we are being encouraging to each other! Please, know that we’re praying for each of you as you navigate this season of uncertainty.
We don’t have all of the answers. And as we all know, there are more polarizing opinions than any of us has time to deal with. It’s easy for us to find whichever ‘answers’ that we’d like for whichever issues we’d like to support or vilify. That means that all around us, there are people who disagree with each other. Even within our ministry, within our own households and workplaces, there are people that do not agree with us. That’s also okay. We repeat: we all have differences, AND THAT’S OKAY! What we want to do is to stay focused on our task at hand; on each of us being the Light of Jesus in our shred culture. As a community, we want to offer guidance to help you to LOVE and SERVE your communities in the best ways possible. Despite all of our differences, despite all of our varying stances on popular issues, here are some principles we can all consider as we head into this season:
- Now, more than ever, we need to take a prayer-first approach to our season plans. All of us are feeling a little testy and some of our immediate knee-jerk responses have been less-than-Godly, we all admit. Let’s commit to challenging each other to SEEK GOD FIRST with an open heart and open mind to see where He may be leading you.
- Whenever possible, follow the guidance of local authorities. Our local ministry contexts are unique and will vary on nation, state, etc. We know that many of us have strong opinions and stances on a lot of this, but let’s keep the model of Jesus and move forward with Love, Respect, Humility and Service whenever we can.
- Shred ministry will still be possible! However, it will take open minds, open hearts and a little outside-of-the-box thinking. We know that God is using His people (that includes YOU) to love people well in this season. If you need help coming up with something, reach out to your Regional Director or the SFC Support Office to talk through some new ideas.
- And lastly, this one may be more difficult but needs to be suggested: You and I are charged to LOVE OTHERS. Will it be difficult? Of course. But as Jesus People, we must Love and Respect the people who think differently from us. We must seek to be peacemakers. Jesus reminded us that Children of the Heavenly Father behave differently than the world when he said, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” So we want to challenge each other to be driven to Love even when we come to different conclusions and have different ideas about what active Love looks like.
- God is not surprised by Coronavirus or our current situation. Rest assured. He’s got this. He’s inviting us to partner with Him in sharing His love and hope, especially now.
When Paul wrote to the Roman church, it was a very diverse place in a very toxic time. Sound familiar?! In chapter 12 he’s explaining what love looks like in action, and we’d like to leave you with a few of his words of encouragement:
“Love must be sincere…be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…live in harmony with one another…Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone…Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”
Your SFC Support Office Team