Leadership Statement - 25 March 2020
Dear Lighthouse Family
Very shortly, New Zealand will go into Alert Level 4 lockdown for at least the next four weeks. This will be a difficult, even distressing, time for many and I’m sure a lot of you will be feeling the strain of the situation. I pray God’s peace, His shalom, upon you even as I write this.
How we live our daily lives over the coming weeks will clearly change. How we express faith and community as Lighthouse will change also. But in keeping with our Spiritual Approach (2 Timothy 1:7) and two guiding principles of Obey and Assemble, I want to assure you that Lighthouse will continue to express faith and community together as one body in a lawfully compliant manner.
We’re working hard on how Sunday services can be effectively delivered during the lockdown period within the limits of our resourcing. We may not have a lot, but we have all of Jesus. We expect to roll out a very basic bare-bones service this Sunday and have something more developed for the following Sundays. We’ll inform you of the details of this Sunday’s service (29 March) through our Facebook page by tomorrow night. We will also follow up with calls, txt and instant messaging.
In addition, we’re developing some new initiatives for the lockdown environment that we’d like to roll out and get you to participate in. Keep a lookout for the big reveals. If you’ve got a few ideas yourself, feel free to share them with us.
We’ll enter this lockdown and go through it together. Remotely in our separate household bubbles, but still together. United in faith, hope and love. Joined in praise and prayer. One in mission and purpose. And eventually, by God’s grace and His mighty power, we’ll come out of it. Together. Stronger.
God bless us all. Shalom and kia kaha, Lighthouse.
Get up, keep going, finish strong.
PS. With isolation in place, our main channels of communication will be via texts and emails. If you would like to be excluded in the email or txt circulation list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to opt out.
Leadership Statement - 21 March 2020
21 March 2020
Dear Lighthouse Family
We issued our first Lighthouse leadership statement on the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 on 1 February 2020 during the early stages of the outbreak overseas. We encouraged you not to allow legitimate concern to morph into full blown fear. We encouraged you to apply 2 Timothy 1:7 to the situation, because God has not given us a spirit of fear but has given to us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. We encourage you to continue to apply this faith led posture to your everyday lives.
At the present time, COVID-19 is classified by the World Health Organisation as a global pandemic and New Zealand has unfortunately not been immune to the effects of this virus. Our government and health authorities have to put in place increasingly stringent but necessary restrictions on travel, public gatherings and daily life. These restrictions impact Lighthouse, how we express faith and community, and the way we continue to love and serve one another.
Accordingly, we wish to issue our second leadership statement on COVID-19 to set out how Lighthouse and its leadership will approach and respond to the situation.
We do not view the COVID-19 situation only in physical terms as a public health issue. We also recognise that there is also a spiritual element at work. How we approach the COVID-19 situation as it affects Lighthouse must be based on a Godly perspective that is founded on the Word of God and on Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).
We reaffirm the overarching principles of 2 Timothy 1:7 as set out in our first leadership statement. This is our Spiritual Posture. We will continue to approach and deal with the situation with a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.
To this, we add two guiding principles which we will use to assess and determine how we continue to practically express faith and community while the COVID-19 situation continues – the principles of Obey and Assemble.
Obey (Romans 13:1–10; 1 Timothy 2:1–4)
The Scripture tells us to submit to earthly authorities as persons appointed by God and to pray for those who are in authority so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. We submit and obey out of love because love does no harm to our neighbours, and the guidelines and restrictions are intended to avoid, reduce and minimise harm.
Assemble (Hebrews 10:24,25; 1 Corinthians 14:26)
The Scripture also tells us not to forsake assembling together to exhort (encourage) and edify (build up) one another, to stir up love and good works. More than ever, in times such as this, we need to come together to exhort and edify one another, for the good of the spiritual, mental and emotional health of Lighthouse family members.
For as long as God permits, we will continue to hold in-person Sunday services. We strongly encourage life groups to continue to meet in person as and when able to do so. We will adapt the way gatherings are conducted to meet the guidelines and restrictions specified by the NZ government and health authorities.
If church services and other meetings are required to cease for a time due to imposed restrictions, we will comply. If this occurs, we will look to the use of technology to facilitate continued assembly in smaller groups and/or family units. There is a range of live streaming, video and online conferencing, social media messaging and other broadcast and download facilities that can be deployed to enable this. It won’t be perfect but by His grace we will make it work.
Self-Care and Group Care
We strongly recommend all Lighthouse family members who are required to self-isolate, avoid public gatherings due to age, health or other reasons etc. to comply with the guidelines and restrictions in accordance with the Obey principle. Look after yourselves and one another. If you are affected, please stay at home. If you know of anyone affected, please make every effort to reach out and bless that person as it can be a distressing and isolating experience.
Whether a person must comply with a guideline or restriction is not always clear. Open dialogue and God’s wisdom will help us determine what needs to be done on a case by case basis. If we are led to exclude you from gathering together at a given time, we pray that you will understand and forgive us for any upset caused.
COVID-19 Response Group
We have an established COVID-19 response group, led by Jeffrey Lai and coordinated by Michelle Soo. This initially operated as a situation management team for Contrast 2020, our Lighthouse conference. It has since been expanded to deal with how the COVID-19 situation will affect Lighthouse more broadly. The response group now includes all the pastors and trustees of Lighthouse, as well as key persons co-opted on an as-required basis.
Members of the response group monitor all pronouncements of the NZ government and health authorities, review reputable news sources and take into account key developments in Australia (which coordinates with New Zealand on many of its responses to the COVID-19 situation and therefore is a useful indicator of potential upcoming changes to guidelines and restrictions).
The response group is tasked with developing Lighthouse’s response to situations raised by COVID-19, based on the information it has gathered, evaluated and prayed through. A key aspect of this is how we approach our main Sunday service. We have developed a range of contingency plans for it, taking into account the restrictions recently imposed (updated as at 12pm on 21 March 2020). We are also developing plans for various ministry and life groups e.g. kids and youths and how they should operate during this time.
The COVID-19 situation is fluid and there are constant changes as the NZ government and health authorities update their position. We must remain alert, agile and flexible in our responses. How we deal with a given situation may change quite quickly and this in turn requires us to communicate clearly and effectively with you on an ongoing basis.
Accordingly, we will regularly publish on our website and social media accounts the latest information on how our main church service will be conducted, how ministries and life groups should operate and anything else of relevance to the practice of faith and community at Lighthouse. Please check in regularly for the latest news.
Where there are major announcements or changes, we will email and txt you. We will, where possible, also make individual follow up calls to ensure key information is actually received. It is important that your contact details are up to date so that we can effectively communicate with you during this time.
Truth, not Lies
Be like Christ. He is the Truth, not lies. Therefore, beware of fake news. Don’t be the source or spreader of false information. Don’t be the conjurer of fear or the sower of panic. Be wise. Be responsible. Speak truth. Share truth. Truth is what the Word of God says. Share it liberally.
Also, share good information. We live in a society where we have a good-intentioned, stable government that wants to prevent and restrict harm. The official sources of COVID-19 information can be found at:
New Zealand Government: https://covid19.govt.nz/
On a personal note, please allow me to conclude with the words King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:10 – The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright – words of truth.
I pray the words written here on behalf of the COVID-19 Response Group, Pastoral Oversight and Trustees of Lighthouse Christian Fellowship are acceptable, upright and truth, and therefore life to us.
Shalom and God bless
Leadership Statement - 10 March 2020
10 March 2020
Dear Lighthouse Family
The outbreak of COVID-19 is a global public health issue that has understandably caused a great deal of concern for many people.
Left unchecked, legitimate concern can morph into full blown fear. But God has not given us a spirit of fear. He has given to us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
As the leadership team of Lighthouse, we apply this verse to the current situation, and encourage each of you to do the same.
Let truth and wisdom guide our thoughts and actions. We will heed the advice of our government, through the Ministry of Health, on the situation as it develops, particularly as it relates to public gatherings.
This advice can be found on the MOH website: (https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov). It is updated daily and the guidelines for latest advice on self isolation, public health and hygiene advice can be found on that website.
Our cleaning procedures at church are already thorough, but we are taking extra precautions and paying particular attention to various touch points surfaces (eg. door nobs, hand rails etc). Since mid February, we have increased our placements of hand sanitizers around the church building, as well as signage for hygiene and prevention of COVID19.
Additionally, we should each take the usual precautions for preventing illness and infections such as good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if unwell.
Finally, let’s be conscious of the need to seek and speak only what is true. In an age where misinformation can easily spread by careless dissemination, let us be discerning so that we do not contribute to a climate of fear but speak the comfort of the Lord and His grace into every situation.
Let love guide our thoughts and actions. Let’s look out for one another. Give someone a call to encourage them, especially those with family in China. Send them a message or email. Comfort those who are afraid. Lift up those who are burdened.
Let the power of God guide our thoughts and actions. We are not powerless in the face of this illness. We have the power of God to call upon, in faith and through prayer. Let us pray for the medical experts and governments of the world. Let us pray for the sick and afflicted. Let us pray for the Lord to sovereignly intervene and bring respite to the affected nations so that His lovingkindness will be known to all.
Shalom and God bless
For and on behalf of the Pastoral Oversight and
Trustees of Lighthouse Christian Fellowship