Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Mar 27
2020

Covid-19 Update: Staying Home, Livestream, Lord’s Supper, and Giving

Covid-19 | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Pastoral Note

Downtown Cornerstone,

There is scarcely a page in the Bible that does not deal with the trials and troubles of life, from the mundane to the catastrophic: sibling murder (Gen. 4:8), cataclysmic flooding (Gen. 7:22), betrayal (Gen. 37:24), forced enslavement (Ex. 1:13), rebellion (Num. 16), unwanted wandering (Num. 32:13), inept leadership (Jud. 21:25), economy-ruining famine (Ruth 1:1), infertility (1 Sam. 1:6), impossible battles (1 Sam. 17), political turmoil (2 Sam. 15), fear (2 Kings 10:4), exile (2 Kings 25:11), life-altering loss (Job 1:13-19), pestilence (Dt. 28:21), heart-rending grief (Neh. 1:4), opposition (Ezra 4:4-5), humiliation (Est. 7:7-10), haunting questions (Ps. 42:11), prolonged waiting (Ps. 40:1), failure (Ps. 51), sickness (Isa. 38:1), weeping (Jer. 9:1), lament (Lam. 2:5), mourning (Dan. 10:2), regret (Mt. 27:5) and more.

Yet, over them all, the “Lord our God the Almighty reigns” (Rev. 19:6). He “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11); not merely some things or most things or easy things—all things. This means he is always at work and that nothing can thwart his purposes (Job. 42:2), including Covid-19. God’s sovereignty over suffering sustains the soul, even amidst death, because his purposes are wise (Isa. 28:29) and good (Ps. 73:1). The Scriptures are a living testimony to this wisdom and goodness of God amidst trial and trouble and are, therefore, meant to infuse our lives with endurance, encouragement and hope, in Christ (Rom. 15:4). So, I hope this brief note finds you tethered to God through God’s Word.

In light of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order issued this week, I am following-up on three points:

#1 We will continue to livestream on Sundays @ 10AM.

Governor Inslee’s order requires all state citizens to remain at home unless we need to go out for essential services or are performing those services ourselves. While there was some ambiguity earlier in the week, we have learned that the government does include churches providing streaming as “essential.” This was confirmed by our lawyers here and Inslee himself here when he said, “Religious institutions can have…a certain number of people present at places of worship to ensure that online remote services can be afforded to their flocks” (2:30 minute mark). Therefore, by God’s grace, we will continue to livestream on Sunday mornings at 10AM while being “subject to the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1-7).

#2 We will not celebrate the Lord’s Supper until we are gathered again.

Some have asked whether we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper virtually during this time. The short answer is: no. The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance that points to the new people of God whom Jesus redeemed and is therefore corporate by its very nature (1 Cor. 10:17). This is why it is only celebrated when we come together (note the language of “come together” in 1 Cor. 11:17,18,20,33), not merely as individuals, households, or smaller segments of the church. Perhaps the Lord will use this time to grow our love, appreciation, and longing for celebrating the Supper together.

#3 Let’s be generous, sacrificial, and cheerful givers together.

This season is financially impacting many in our church in dramatically different ways. Many remain gainfully employed, whereas others have suddenly lost their jobs or found themselves on furlough. Amidst this season of uncertainty, we are still called by God to worship him through our finances by placing him squarely in the middle of our budgets. This giving is to be voluntary, eager, and cheerful (2 Cor. 9:7). God rewards these kinds of givers in a myriad of ways (2 Cor. 9:6). So, let’s continue to trust him in our giving together because His mission continues, the gospel must go forth, discipleship never stops, churches need to be planted, and our city is ready to be served.

Let’s continue to pray—for one another, other gospel-preaching churches, and for our city. Let’s ask Him to uniquely use this season to create a spiritual awakening our city has never seen.

With you, in Christ.
Pastor Adam

Mar 13
2020

How To Make The Most Of A Livestream “Gathering”

Covid-19 | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Pastoral Note

Our God is “the hope of all the ends of the earth and the farthest seas” (Ps. 65:5). Even when we walk through seasons of upheaval and uncertainty, we do not fear because he promises to be with us (Isa. 43:1-5). In Jesus, nothing that comes our way can separate us from his love, or thwart his purposes in our lives, whether “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” (Rom. 8:35; Ps. 138:8). Seasons like this test the quality of the foundation that our lives are built on (cf. Mt. 7:24-27).

GOING TO LIVESTREAM THIS SUNDAY AT 10 AM

One of the unfortunate temporary side-effects of this season is that we will not be able to physically gather in light of government mandates to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus Covid-19. We are glad to partner with the community and “seek the welfare of the city” (Jer. 29:7). We want to love one another (Jn. 13:34) and our neighbors well (Mk. 12:31). However, it means we are entering new territory as a church.

So, what do we do when we can’t physically gather? Well, we do the best we can. Under the circumstances, that means utilizing livestream technology to gather virtually while we are scattered throughout the city. Therefore, beginning this Sunday we will consolidate our two morning gatherings into one livestreamed gathering at 10am.

THIS IS A TEMPORARY CONCESSION

The church gathers; that’s what it does. The local church is Jesus’ set apart people, in a specific place, who exist to glorify him by committing their lives to one another. The local church is the universal church made visible and is, therefore, a miracle of God. This is why physically gathering with Jesus’ people on the Lord’s Day has been a privilege and priority from the start (Heb. 10:25, cf. Acts 2:42f).

Therefore, it is important to view our livestream in this season as a temporary concession, rather than the creation of an ongoing convenience. Yes, it is convenient, but not all conveniences are good for our souls in the long term. We can thank God for modern technology (and we do, especially right now) even while recognizing its limitations. Physically gathering matters—after all, Jesus promised to be with us when we do (Mt. 18:20). But, right now, we can’t. So, how do we make the most of this temporary concession?

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF A LIVESTREAM GATHERING

(1) PRAY

Ask the Lord to give you a soft, humble, and hungry heart before we gather-while-scattered. Spend time on Saturday evening or Sunday morning in the Word and prayer to prepare your soul for worship. Pray for the church, other members, your community and discipleship group, along with not-yet-believers who may participate. Let’s ask the Father to give us a supernatural sense of unity even while being spread throughout the city. Who knows how he might use all of this? Let’s pray in faith, hope, and love.

(2) FIND A SPECIFIC PLACE

Be intentional about where in your home you will participate. Don’t leave that decision to the last minute. If possible, I recommend participating from the place in which you spend your daily time with the Lord. That space probably already has a sense of set-apart-ness to it that will help facilitate your worship.

(3) PREPARE

Also, consider how you might intentionally prepare for worship. Fight the temptation to see “online church” as a mere convenience by preparing in advance and arriving on time. The livestream will be up at least 15 minutes before worship begins. Work through any potential technology issues. Decide, in advance, how will you participate—phone, laptop, SmartTV? Have your Bible close at hand. Print the Sunday handout, which will be available at least one hour before we begin.

(4) REMOVE DISTRACTIONS

We all know that it can be a challenge to remain undistracted at home. There are projects to do, dishes to wash, laundry to fold, bills to pay, and cleaning to be done. If your household has kids, there is the added layer of toys, craft supplies, and random socks lying around. Even more, our phone is innocently resting on the end table wooing us to check “just this one time.” But, put it all away. Clean up the space. Commit, along with those you’re gathering with, to set apart this time for Jesus and one another.

(5) PARTICIPATE

The primary way to keep the livestream an act of worship, rather than consumption, is to actively participate. So, when we stand, let’s stand together. When we sing, let’s sing together. When we recite the call to worship or assurance or commission, let’s recite the scripture out-loud. Remember, our livestream is in fact live. It is not a recording. You are not alone, even if you are alone in your living room. Envision hundreds of DCC households, united in spirit, worshipping throughout the city—its a powerful image.

(6) INVITE

If you have space in your home to uphold the current public health order, especially the call to social distancing, you may want to consider inviting a few friends to join you for worship.

Lord willing, we will be able to gather unhindered soon. Until then, let’s not neglect meeting together, even under non-ideal circumstances (Heb. 10:25). Let’s be salt and light in our city (Mt. 5:13-16). The Lord is at hand, so we don’t need to be anxious (Phil. 4:5-6). This will pass and then the next trial will come. In the hands of our good God, every trial tests the genuineness of our faith, which is more precious than gold, so that it might result in “praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7). He is faithful; he will do it (1 Thess. 5:24).

Christ is all,
Pastor Adam

P.S. Two final notes:
1) Please do not come to the church’s building on Sunday.
2) We will be rolling out a plan for what it means to be the church throughout the week very soon.

Mar 11
2020

Changes Due To Government Covid-19 Restrictions

Covid-19 | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Pastoral Note

Downtown Cornerstone,

The spread of Covid-19 continues so we, therefore, continue to adapt.

New Restrictions

This morning, the Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, announced a ban on events of more than 250 people in the Seattle metro area. Additionally, the King County Executive, Dow Constantine, issued a separate public health order that prohibits gatherings of less than 250 people unless certain stringent requirements are met, including:

  • High-risk individuals do not attend (over 60 years old, pregnant, underlying health issues, etc.).
  • Social distancing measures are enforced (including being within six feet of others for ten minutes or longer).
  • Employees must be screened for Covid-19 symptoms each day.
  • Proper hand hygiene and sanitation must be readily available.

The first three of these requirements would be difficult—if not impossible—to enforce, especially the social distancing. This means, legally, we are unable to gather because we cannot comply with the public health order. We are not alone. There is a long list of other Seattle organizations canceling events, including Seattle Public Schools.

OUR RESPONSE

Therefore, we will be adapting in the following ways:

#1 SUNDAY

Starting this Sunday we will move our public gatherings to one gathering via livestream at 10am. In other words, beginning this Sunday, we will not publicly gather at our building until we are legally permitted to do so. However, we will continue to gather online via livestream. A small team (staff, strategic volunteers, deacons, and elders) will be at the building to lead the gathering, from singing to preaching. Rather than record the 9am gathering and re-play it at 11am, we will hold one live gathering at 10am. Please note the time change and spread the word.

#2 COMMUNITIES

As of today, all formal Cornerstone Community gatherings are canceled.

#3 CLASSES

As of today, all classes are canceled.

#4 EVENTS

  • Taking the Gospel to the Nations, March 21st: We will postpone this event to a later date.
  • Members Meeting, March 29th: We will either cancel or create a livestream option. Stay tuned.
  • DCC’s 9th birthday, April 5th: TBD
  • Good Friday and Easter, April 10th-12th: TBD

#5 MEETINGS

If you have a meeting scheduled with a staff member or pastor, be sure to double-check before meeting.

AND THEY WERE ALL SCATTERED…

While we grieve with those who have lost loved ones amidst the spread of Covid-19, we can trust that God is at work in significant ways behind the scenes. Do you remember what caused the gospel to spread in the early church? Persecution. “There arose…a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions…” (Acts 8:1). The very thing that was meant to stamp out Jesus’ cause, was used by God to further spread it to the nations. What man intended for evil, God intended for good (Gen. 50:20). While the details of our particular situation are unique, the principle isn’t. If he did that then, what might he be up to now? Let’s keep trusting him together. More soon…

Christ is all,
Pastor Adam

Mar 6
2020

Covid-19 Update and This Sunday

Covid-19 | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Pastoral Note

Downtown Cornerstone,

We thought it would be helpful to send another brief note prior to our Sunday gathering. We are still planning to gather and continue our series through Romans unless circumstances change dramatically. I encourage you to read my post from earlier this week, if you haven’t already, which describes our plan to mitigate the potential spread of Covid-19—though we have made a few additional changes since then.

WHY WE GATHER

The regular gathering of Jesus’ people to sing, pray, and preeminently sit under God’s Word is the most important means of grace in a Christian’s life. The word for church in Greek literally means “assembly, or congregation.” In Christ, we now belong to Jesus’ people, universal and local. That means Sunday is the one time during the week where we get to physically live out this shared identity. Therefore, gathering on the Lord’s Day, Sunday, has been integral to Jesus’ people from the very beginning.

IS ANYONE ELSE GATHERING?

However, we won’t be the only ones gathering. The Seattle school district is still in session. The Sounders are playing on Saturday. Concerts are still happening throughout the city. Museums and tourist attractions are still open. My oldest has a junior high basketball game on Saturday. Life goes on, even with more hand-washing and avoidance of touching your face.

WHEN NOT TO GATHER

However, in alignment with CDC guidelines, we do encourage you to stay home if:

  • You, or a family member, has a cough, fever, or other respiratory difficulties (i.e. you’re sick).
  • You are over 60 years old (a population particularly susceptible to Covid-19)
  • You have underlying health conditions such as heart or lung disease, or a weakened immune system.
  • Or, you are pregnant.

Remaining home under such circumstances is not evidence of a lack of faith, but prudential wisdom.

A TEMPORARY SOLUTION (LIVE STREAMING)

In light of the present circumstance, we will be offering a temporary live-streaming option of our gathering. You will be able to access the live stream from our webpage or this link. While we don’t believe merely viewing a church gathering online constitutes “gathering” with the church, it is better than non-attendance or listening to a recorded sermon later. We will evaluate the extent to which we will continue to offer this option as the situation develops.

WHEN WE GATHER

Therefore, here are a few notes for when we gather this Sunday:

  • Don’t give into fear, just be smart.
  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. New stations have already been installed.
  • Work on your elbow-bump or foot-tap welcome (!)
  • We will not have a designated meet-and-greet.
  • For increased sanitation, communion will temporarily consist of separate cups.

Let’s continue to pray: for the sick, for the fearful, for salvations, and for the glory of God to shine brightly. Amidst an uncertain world, He alone is certain: “He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress: I shall not be greatly shaken” (Ps. 62:2). The mission continues. Let’s be humble, wise, and courageous as we follow him together.

Christ is all,
Pastor Adam

P.S. Don’t forget this Sunday, March 8, is Daylight Saving Time. #springforward

Mar 6
2020

Missions Conference: Taking the Gospel to the Nations

Event, Missions, Teaching

Taking the Gospel to the Nations

It is estimated that there are over 7,000 unreached people groups and 3 billion people in the world that have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, have a Bible in their language, or have a church to gather with. We know, even in the midst of this reality, that God continues to use his saints to carry out his mission of saving his people across all tribes, nations, and tongues (Rev. 5:9, 7:9).

The light that dawned on us two thousand years ago is still reaching the ends of the earth (Is. 9:2, 49:6), and we get to participate in spreading this light! (1 Pet. 2:9)

Imagine a people who were once separated from Christ being brought near to him (Eph. 2:13), having the privilege of being called his own (Jn. 1:12), becoming part of a thriving local church (Acts 11:26; Col. 1:28), and spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ to others (2 Cor. 2:14)! Many of us relate to this because we have been beneficiaries of the faithful, gospel-proclaiming work of others who came before us.

How can we be participating in carrying on this gospel legacy? While we are under God’s sovereign hands, he calls us to be diligent in our efforts to equipsend, and support those who are carrying out Jesus’ commission of making disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:20; Rom. 15:16). This requires careful thought and navigating practical realities even as we rely on God’s glory as the fuel for missions work (Is. 40:5).

One of our speakers, Mike Griffis, is an instructor at Radius International which is focused on equipping cross-cultural workers to establish healthy, indigenous churches among unreached people groups. Watch a short video below on how Radius is taking this task seriously.

 

Want to learn how you can better pray for and support missionaries we send out? Are you considering maybe one day going to the mission field yourself? Do you want to have your heart stirred afresh by the story that God is unfolding throughout the world?

We invite you to join us for a one-day Missions Conference sponsored by Acts 29 Northwest and hosted by Downtown Cornerstone Church.

Date: Saturday, March 21st, 9 am – 3 pm
Venue: DCC Building
Registration: $20 per person (scholarships available)

Throughout the day we’ll look at the biblical case for missions, the current state of missions, examples of missions done well, and practical next steps for our churches.

LEARN MORE

Note: We are still planning to gather unless the circumstances surrounding the spread of Covid-19 do not permit us to do so. In such cases, all registrations will be reimbursed.

Update (03/11/2020): Due to government restrictions related to Covid-19, we are postponing this event to a later date. Registration will reopen after a new date is determined. For more information, see related blog post.

Mar 3
2020

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Update & Response

Covid-19 | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Pastoral Note

Downtown Cornerstone,

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1)—whether spiritual, financial, emotional, relational, or physical. This is crucial to keep at the forefront of our hearts amidst the unfolding outbreak of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in our area. Our God reigns and nothing happens outside his loving, wise, and good sovereign reach—even disease and death (Dt. 32:39; 1 Sam. 2:6; Job 1:20-21; Ja. 4:13-16).

Cultivating a Godward perspective grounds our hope and gives us confident poise as we seek to be wise (Ja. 1:5-6; Mt. 10:16) amidst a world subjected to futility, longing to be set free from its corruption (Rom. 8:20). Therefore, we will not fear (Isa. 41:10). This is not the first of its kind, nor will it be the last (e.g. H1N1/Swine flu, Avian flu, Ebola, MERS, SARS) until the Lord ushers in the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1-4).

But, until then, we must find the wisest, most prudential path forward when faced with a world gone awry. Therefore, the elders met last night to consider how to best navigate this season together. While circumstances change daily, here is our current plan:

#1 Pray:

Any reminder of our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9) and brevity of life (Ja. 4:14), is good for our souls (Ps. 119:67,71). It reminds us that we are not our own (1 Cor. 6:19). It reminds us that our lives are found in Him (Phil. 3:9). It reminds us where our true and lasting treasure is found (Phil. 1:21; Mt. 13:44, 45-46) and to fervently pray for ourselves, and others, with these mega-realities in view.

#2 Gatherings:

We encourage you to continue to gather with the church. At this time, public health agencies are not recommending the general public avoid large group gatherings. Therefore, we are not planning to cancel Sunday gatherings, classes, or communities unless there is a government directive to do so.

#3 Sanitation:

We will be placing additional foaming disinfectant stations in our lobbies and other key points throughout the building.

#4 Kids:

We will be taking extra measures within the Cornerstone Kids classrooms to wipe down hard surfaces (handles, toys, dispensers, etc.) before, during, and after our gatherings.

#5 Meet-and-greet:

We will be altering our meet and greet by adding a friendly disclaimer that handshakes are not expected, but love of your neighbor is (Mk. 12:31).

#6 Communion:

We will be providing an additional communion option, for those uncomfortable sharing in the common bread and cup.

#7 Signage:

The CDC states that remaining home while sick and thoroughly washing your hands are the best preventative measures we can take. Therefore, we will be posting additional signage as reminders of this fact at disinfectant stations, bathrooms, and Kids ministry.

#8 Cancellations:

Depending on the progress of the virus, we may need to cancel, or reduce, certain elements of our gathering(s) and/or ages we can offer for Cornerstone Kids.

#9 Caution:

People who are at higher risk of illness may want to consider ways to lower their risk of infection by limiting contact with crowds, including those: (1) over 60 years old, or (2) with underlying health conditions such as heart disease and lung disease, or (3) with weakened immune systems, or (4) pregnant. If you, or a family member, has a cough, fever, or other respiratory difficulties, we encourage you to refrain from participating in any church-related activity until you are fever-free for 24 hours.

#10 Covid-19:

If you become sick with the Coronavirus, please notify us immediately.

#11 Monitoring:

We are continuing to monitor the latest news and recommendations released by the CDC, state, and city officials. We will keep you posted as we learn more. If you have any questions, please email us at info@downtowncornerstone.org.

We grieve with those who have lost loved ones to this latest pandemic (Rom. 12:15). We are not minimizing that. Living in a world corrupted by sin is wearying. The tears and pain are real. But, even so, we do not lose heart because, “this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Take heart, friends, and let’s press on together (Jn. 16:33).

Yours, in Christ.
Pastor Adam