May 20, 2020

Dear CrossWay Family, 
We know that many of you are wondering how recent changes to the state Safer-at-Home order will affect our life as a church. While our main agenda in this email is to give a particular encouragement to families, before we do that, I (Pastor Brett) want to give you a quick sketch of how we as a leadership team are processing last week’s events.

Although the Safer-at-Home order has been removed, local government and health officials have issued recommendations about how best to reopen Kenosha County in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Under the Kenosha County Kickstart, a draft of which was released on Friday, churches are encouraged to proceed through three phases as the county meets certain health criteria: in Phase One, gatherings should be limited to ten or fewer people; in Phase Two, fifty or fewer; for Phase Three the maximum size has not yet been set. The county is currently in Phase One.

We are working diligently to chart a way forward for CrossWay in light of these changes, and our desire is to do so using wisdom, love, and the careful application of Scripture. There are multiple values we want to hold firmly to as we think about when and how to begin gathering again. We love the grace God gives his people when they gather to sing, serve one another, and sit under his Word—we don’t want to neglect that grace by waiting too long to regather. At the same time, we value our corporate witness to our community and don’t want to jeopardize that by regathering too soon. We know that some in our congregation are very eager to gather, while others are reluctant or even medically unable, and we want to proceed in a way that prizes unity. We also want to guard as best we can the health of our church family and our neighbors. We know there is a way to do this well, to honor all these values, and we are seeking God’s guidance and help to find the way and walk in it.

The staff team has begun discussing how best to resume gathering, and we will give it close attention at our next elder meeting on May 28, after which we will give you an update on our thinking. Please be praying for us over the next few weeks. For now, we will continue to worship together virtually.

And now, I (Pastor Bruce) would like to offer a brief word of encouragement. This is specifically directed at parents with children in the home, but it applies broadly to us all.

Can I ask you a personal question? What one word best describes the current state of your heart? Do you have a word in mind? Is that word “weary?”

I was recently talking with a couple of CrossWay dads. Both were grateful that the COVID quarantine had resulted in more time together as a family. They each shared examples of sweet conversations with their kids, more time playing games as a family, and lingering over evening meals. Yet, both admitted there was a downside to all this family togetherness. Each had dealt with a significant discipline issue the day before. One dad described the state of his household this way, “Stress levels are up, arguments have increased, and everyone is in need of a little ‘social distancing’ from each other.” Can you relate? Does that sound like your home?

Over the years, the verse that’s probably strengthened me most in my own parenting is Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” While this passage is not specifically about parenting, there’s a principle here about trusting God and not growing weary that we need as dads and moms.

I like this verse because one of the great temptations of parents is to “grow weary of doing good.” The kind of weariness I have in mind is not as much physical as it is emotional. You see, when it comes to sin, our kids (like us!) are repeat offenders, which means we end up correcting them for the same things again and again. Over time, we begin to wonder if they are ever going to change, if our instruction and correction is having any effect. Perhaps, we wonder if we will ever change. Will we ever be free from our own anger, impatience or sarcasm? Emotional weariness sets in. We feel like giving up because we start to believe there will be no harvest, no good fruit from our labors.

But God tells us otherwise. God says, “In due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” There will be a harvest! God will use our efforts to accomplish his purposes in the lives of our kids. If I’m honest, often my goal for home and family is to be a place of peace and comfort for me. But God’s primary goal is growth, not my comfort. Dealing with discipline and correction, forgiveness and reconciliation, is tiring. These things feel like annoying interruptions, but in fact they are the very things God uses to grow us and our children!

The illustration of the farmer is helpful. It’s the farmer’s job to break up the soil and plant the seeds. At first, it looks like nothing is happening. But deep under the earth, God causes the seed to grow and the plants begin to inch their way upward. When they sprout, the farmer continues to tend the young plants, battling weeds and insects. God brings the sun and the rains and the growth. A joyful harvest comes at just the right time.

As parents, we know our harvest will take a lot longer than the typical growing season. We don’t know when our “due season” will come. But we know “we will reap.” God is using our efforts in the lives of our children. The Holy Spirit is at work, even when we don’t see immediate results. You are not responsible for creating the good fruit. Your job is to sow and cultivate. Don’t give up! Keep on lovingly instructing and correcting, showing compassion, being quick to forgive. God is so patient with us. Let’s ask him for grace to be patient with our kids and with ourselves.

Where are you most tempted to give up because you haven’t seen good fruit from your efforts and prayers? Let me encourage you to memorize Galatians 6:9. Cry out to God in prayer. Ask him to strengthen your faith in the midst of trials. Affirm your trust in his ability to produce a harvest in the lives of your children. Let’s trust him to do his heart-work both in us and in our kids.

With deep affection,

Pastor Bruce and Pastor Brett (for all the pastors and elders)

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