When Mark Braun and a group of other elders from South Louisville Christian Church met with elders from Southeast Christian Church in July to discuss the possibility of becoming a Southeast campus, he had one question: Why?
When 400 people gathered for a Southeast Christian Church Livestream Watch Party in Bullitt County last November, the wind of the Holy Spirit seemed to be blowing. About 30% of the crowd had no known ties to Southeast.
Early mornings, Immanuel hoes and weeds rows of onions, spinach, African eggplant, tomatoes and banana peppers. He’s still adjusting to life in Louisville after fleeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo a year ago.
Even behind masked faces, smiles were evident as Southeast Christian Church regathered as a church family at seven of its campuses Sunday, July 5.
Sixteen weeks ago, Southeast began meeting exclusively online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Church members met in homes for watch parties with friends, neighbors and family members.
Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman was equally eager for in-person services to resume.
“I’m just really excited for all of you who are watching this at one of our campuses,” Idleman said in his sermon Sunday. “I am so glad that you’re here. It’s so good to be back together, to worship God together, to encourage one another. I want to thank all of you for your patience, for your grace, for your help as we slowly and intentionally ramp back up.”
Volunteers stood at entrances and welcomed attendees with signs that said, “Welcome back!” “We’re glad you are here!” and “We’ve missed you!”
Heather Rhein and Julie Embry, who are members of the Blankenbaker Campus, were excited to begin serving on Sundays again.
“We love serving,” Rhein said. “It’s how we became friends.”
Though in-person services are now available at most campuses (with the exception of the Chapel in the Woods Campus), people are encouraged to worship wherever is best for them and their families.
Idleman’s sermon, “Returning to Routine,” wrapped up Southeast’s most recent series, “Never Going Back.” Southeast’s upcoming series, “The Way Forward,” will walk through Jesus’ final discourse to His disciples in John 14-17 and will last through November.
In-person gatherings will continue, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Though government and health regulations about in-person gatherings may change, Idleman said that the church will never close, because the church is people, not a building.
“I hope that we get to keep regathering every week until Jesus returns, week after week, but I don’t know,” Idleman said. “Maybe we’ll have to push pause on gathering together in-person again. And if we do, it’s OK, because what I can tell you for certain is that just because we’re not able to meet together physically doesn’t mean that we are not still the church.”
Many who heard Pastor Dave Thomas pray during Southeast Christian Church online worship services last month were asking the question, “Who is Dave Thomas?”
If you are taking a walk in your neighborhood and see someone in an inflatable alligator costume, don’t be alarmed. It’s just Sam Roach, sharing love with his friends.
Whitfield Academy senior Luke Wheatley only played one tennis match before spring sports were canceled due to COVID-19. He lost that match and never got a chance at redemption.
Mother’s Day celebrations may be tricky amid COVID-19 quarantines. It may be the year of homemade cards, small celebrations and gifts ordered online.
There were few breaks in lines of cars delivering trunks full of nonperishable food items to Southeast Christian Church campuses April 24 and 27 during the Urgent Needs Food Drive, a lifeline for area food pantries that have struggled to keep enough food on hand to meet needs.
When Southeast Christian Church’s leadership decided to help the Louisville community with a Red Cross blood drive, they had no idea that 300 appointments would be filled in two days. Those who volunteered too late asked when the church will do it again.
Easter may look different this year because of social distancing guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic, but one thing never changes: the hope brought to all of us by a risen Savior.
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