May 26, 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Memorial Day weekend in Minnesota often feels like the unofficial start to summer. We welcome the warm weather and enjoy being outside more! This year it comes as an especially needed respite from one of the most unusual times in history that many of us have ever experienced. As the Leadership Team of the WHY Church, we are committed to pray for the body, discern with wisdom, and communicate regularly with you about our direction as a church family. Here are several important updates as we approach June 1:
One of the most complex and changing discussions in the past couple weeks has been about large group worship gatherings. When the new Stay Safe MN Order was first released, group sizes were limited to 10 people. A subsequent update now allows for worship gatherings of 250 or less, beginning May 27, with detailed social distancing guidelines. So where does this leave the WHY Church? In both principle and practice, here is what we have determined together:
· We will walk together in unity, as Jesus taught and the Holy Spirit enables. Present debates and differences of opinion should not cause division in the church. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
· We will speak respectfully of our governing authorities – whether individuals or offices – even if we disagree on various matters. We will honor and pray for them. (Romans 13:1)
· We will give special attention to those who are sick, vulnerable to illness, or facing financial hardship. (Philippians 2:3-4 and Romans 12:13)
· We will work together with the YMCA to determine when we will meet again for worship at the Y. To date, the YMCA (and every Minnesota gym) remains closed to the general public. Our church staff are in regular contact with our Y leaders and friends. Hopefully a clearer timeline will come into view as we approach June 1. Please remember to pray for the Y as they face a significant loss in revenue and many team members are on furlough.
· Because the overall situation continues to change so frequently, we will monitor and adjust our plans for large group worship every 2 weeks. As previously announced, May 31 is already scheduled for online-only worship. For June 7 and 14, worship will continue as online-only. Even as we wait a little longer for our first in person worship service:
(1) we are working with WHY Group leaders to create safe, opt-in get-togethers,
(2) we encourage you to meet together at your comfort level in smaller groups for our Sunday morning online service or for fellowship, and
(3) we are looking forward to outdoor worship sometime in the near future!
· Throughout the transition back to the Y and beyond, we plan on continuing to livestream our Sunday morning worship service. This will allow people to come back to large group worship when they are comfortable doing so. Our online presence has also boosted our ability to reach more people with the hope of the gospel and stay connected as a church family!
· When we do gather again – whether in small groups or at the Y for worship – it will be important for us to follow public health guidelines. Our staff and volunteer teams are actively developing our plans and procedures to ensure for smooth, safe, and meaningful times together.
A couple final notes before we sign off. Many of you have been wondering about our 2020 Vision project to plant a church and build a YMCA in India. We have been in regular communication with Rev. Sam Stephens and the India Gospel League throughout this global crisis. Construction had begun in March on our project before being halted by a nation-wide lockdown to stop the spread of the virus. We received a couple photo updates and the basic physical structure now stands! Some of the restrictions in India have been lifted and they hope to resume construction soon.
Unfortunately, the visit of our delegation to dedicate the building and provide regional ministry training must be postponed. Travel into India will not be possible again until the fall of 2020. The exact timing of our trip is yet to be determined, but we remain confident in the Lord’s plans to one day bring us to India to encourage and equip our brothers and sisters!
Finally, some of you have been asking about the financial health of the WHY Church in this tumultuous season. Without staples like our Sunday morning Giving Box or the bulletin with its snapshot of our monthly finances, how have we been doing? To that we can only say, “Praise God!” He has provided for us through the generosity of His people. Here are the YTD numbers:
Our Tithes & Offerings Actual Budget
Year to Date 106,306 101,340
Year to Date 94,202 101,340
Blessings in Christ,
The WHY Church Leadership Team
April 23, 2020
Elk River YMCA
We love our Elk River YMCA! We want to encourage them and let them know that we are FOR them. Here are 3 ways we can support them during this time:
- Blessing Box Blast – On the North side of the Y parking lot there is a Blessing Box that provides a drive-up option for people in need. Suggested items to drop off: non-perishable prepared food (think mac n’ cheese, soup, canned chicken or tuna, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, jelly), juice boxes, and toiletries. Items can be dropped off from 9-4PM in front of the Y or any time directly in the Blessing Box.
- Kids Stuff Snack Attack – The Y is open for childcare for parents who are a part of essential services. Drop snacks off at the Y front door for the kids to have during the afternoons. Ideas include: individual bags of popcorn, goldfish crackers, applesauce, and go-gurts. (No nuts please)
- Mask-querade – Do you like to sew? The Y is working to collect masks. Drop off masks at the Y front door and label the bag “Y Team Members”. They have also requested you include your contact information so that the Y can send a thank-you. Click here for instructions from the CDC.
March 17, 2020
Dear WHY Church family,
If there is one word that we have been hearing to describe this time, it is unprecedented. As individuals, families, and as a church community, we are navigating uncharted waters in these days. Yet we take great hope in the Lord! He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. We know that He rules and reigns over all the earth, even in this situation. And His care and love for us is deep and vast beyond all measure.
We are sending this letter to share the following important updates:
Sunday Morning Worship
The Twin Cities YMCA has been required to close its physical buildings, including our beloved Elk River Y, until at least March 30th. Even if the YMCA were open, group gatherings are not possible at this time. While it weighs heavily on our hearts to not see each other in-person and be together, we have always known that the church is not defined by a building or a service.
In the coming days, we will get to experience what it means to seek Jesus, connect together, and share His love in new and innovative ways!
Sunday morning worship will still happen every Sunday at 9:30AM via Facebook Livestream (and posted afterward on our new YouTube Channel). While it will certainly look a little different, we will continue to sing, share time with the kids, hear Scripture and a message, and pray. Please join us at: facebook.com/WHYChurch.
We will be leaning even more on online tools to help us stay connected and growing in Christ. Watch our website, Facebook and Instagram, and our eBulletin for opportunities throughout the week. We’ll be sharing videos for all ages, gathering together on platforms like Zoom, praying for one another on the phone, and meeting virtually as WHY Groups.
Not tech-savvy? No problem! We will also have low-tech ways of staying connected, including devotionals, phone calls, and pastoral visits as desired. If you would like to learn how to use any of the online resources, we are happy to help. Just contact us at email@example.com or our off-site phone number: 763-250-9504.
Now is an important time to make sure that your contact info is up to date. Use the above ways to get in touch, or you can do this directly on WHY Connect.
The Staff and Leadership Team of the WHY Church are fully engaged in leading us through this time spiritually and organizationally. Our number one priority is making sure that you are deeply connected to Jesus and cared for by our church family. If there is anything we can do to support you and your family, please let us know. Above all, we want to encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Christ and to live out the mission that He has called us to.
Our ministry together has not been put on pause! This is such a critical time to share the good news of the gospel and to grow deep roots of trust and faith in the Lord. We encourage you to continue giving your tithes and offerings as you are able, recognizing the financial uncertainty for all of us during this time. We are holding onto the promise: the Lord will provide!
You can set up, schedule, or give one-time financial gifts at: thewhychurch.org/egiving.
You can use our mobile giving option by texting “whygive” to 77977.
Or you can mail your offering to:
The WHY Church, 13337 Business Center Dr NW, Elk River, MN 55330
The Apostle Paul captured it well when he said, “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…” (Ephesians 1:16)
My heart is with you. The Lord will see us through this. And we will praise His name together in the waiting!
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Bjorn Dixon
Dear WHY Church family,
As we prepare for worship this weekend, here are some updates for Sunday morning, March 15th:
Our normal worship gathering will still take place at 9:30AM at the Y. If you prefer to stay home or do not feel well, you can follow a Livestream of the service at: facebook.com/WHYChurch/
Greeting, breakfast, and Communion serving have all been modified. It’ll be a “hi!” instead of a handshake. Our breakfast will be prepackaged and lighter than usual. Coffee will be poured for you. And Communion will be provided at your table in a prefilled cup. Additionally, our Serving Teams are making sure that our surfaces are cleaned and sanitized during set-up.
Kids’ Ministry will happen as planned this weekend. Parents may have their kids engage in activities as they feel comfortable. Student Ministry updates will be made early next week. WHY Groups are meeting at their own discretion.
We continue to follow developments and will make adjustments as needed. The message this Sunday will be: “Jesus Is Peace.” May you find rest, hope, and peace in knowing Him!
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” –Psalm 46:1
Grace and peace in Christ,
The Leadership Team of the WHY Church