COVID-19 Update

UPDATE #4: March 24th, 2020

Hey Liberti family,

Thanks so much for all of you who joined us online this past Sunday! We know it was a strange change-up of how we all participate in worship together, and while we’re thankful for the technology that allowed us to do so, it is also right for us all to feel a sense of, “this doesn’t even come close to the real thing.” May this season – for however long it lasts – serve to deepen our discipleship and whet our appetites for the full reality of what it means to truly be together in our local churches! Below are several important updates that we will be rolling out this coming week.

1. Online Service Times. Moving forward, we plan to stream our worship service at three set times each Sunday, which we want to invite you into. We will be using an online platform that will increase both our ability to engage with one another during the service, along with a greater sense of ‘togetherness’ where you will know that there are literally hundreds of other people around our city (and beyond!) who will be joining together in singing, praying, and hearing God’s Word.

Each week, we will stream out a 1 hour service at: 9am, 10:30am, and 5pm.

You will still be able to access all the Kids Resources at https://liberti.church/online, where you will also see a button that directs you to the platform we will be streaming the video from at each of these times. After the 5pm online gathering, the video will remain online.

2. Digital Gospel Communities. We’re expecting increasing restrictions on gathering sizes over the coming weeks, if our government’s response follows what has happened in other parts of the world further along than we presently are. That said, we believe it wise to as much as possible begin discouraging gathering in groups in our homes, and instead gather for discussion and prayer midweek through the various means of video conference technology.

As a way to love our neighbours, we want to play our part in helping our city ‘flatten the curve’ of Covid-19 spreading further, and while we have not been told to stop gathering in homes, we believe it would be wise to. The better we practice physical distancing (while using technology as a temporary substitute for relational proximity), the faster we will be able to all be back together again. So let’s all plan by next week to have begun gathering digitally midweek via Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, or Zoom Calls. Talk to your GC Leader to work out which option best suits your group!

3. Liberti Help. For the immediate future, life may get particularly difficult for many people in our family of churches, as well as our surrounding communities. This week we have begun rolling out a new initiative called, ‘Liberti Help’: an accessible space online that we can use during the Covid-19 outbreak to care for one another and our neighbours (Galatians 6:9-10). We also want to ensure we stay on the front foot missionally as a family of churches, keeping our eyes open to how God wants to work through us, in the lives of those around us.

Our goal is to show the love of Christ both practically and prayerfully. We especially want to leverage this to collectively bless those who are in self-isolation and more vulnerable to the effects of the virus as well as those who have fallen on hard times and need a hand. The current list of ways we are asking you to be involved include:

  • I can commit to praying for or with people
  • I can deliver necessities
  • I can help with meals
  • I can help with lawn/garden maintenance
  • I can support with child minding (blue card/background check required)
  • I can help with transport
  • I can house/building maintenance
  • I can lend some tools for a couple hours
  • Something else? __________________

So, before we push it out publicly, we need to build it out internally. As requests for help and prayer roll in, we will match those requests with people in our church who may be able to provide for those needs. So if you are able to give help or prayer in any way to others during this time, would you take a few moments today and sign up with the various ways you think you might be able to offer help to others with?

Here is the link: https://liberti.church/help

Imagine if the Christians in this city became known for our readiness to share and willingness to sacrifice for one another, as we give ourselves to spreading good news along with good works?

Imagine the impact, if we all chose to see any surplus in our lives (of time, money, and skills), as the means for someone else’s ‘survival’…

We are convinced that our world will know that our good news, is true news, when they see beauty in the way we treat one another. Let’s lean in and continue to love well.

For His Glory,

Adam Ramsey, Darren Dakers, and Will Ross,

on behalf of the Liberti family of churches.

 


UPDATE #3: March 20th, 2020

 

Liberti Family,

We want to keep you looped in on the latest that is happening for our churches, as we approach our first weekend of worshiping in a new, temporary format. This weekend we will be rolling out Liberti Online, which will be a weekly Sunday Worship service, delivered digitally for the duration of the Covid-19 restrictions around our larger gatherings. Each Sunday morning, we will provide through our website and the Liberti App (free to download for IOS and Android devices) a 1hr video containing worship for you to participate in, a sermon for you to gather around and hear, and supporting resources that are age-appropriate for children to join in with. This will be ready to view each Sunday morning by 9am. Here are three ways you can get ready for Sunday!

1. Get Set Up Online. Download the Liberti App on your device or head directly to https://liberti.church/online (page still under construction). Join our Liberti social media pages on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop with what’s happening. Below are some links to a few of our Facebook pages and groups:

2. Worship With Others. Plan to gather in a home with a handful of other people this Sunday – likely from your Gospel Community – to worship, hear God’s Word, and pray together. Try to keep these gatherings under 12 people. For some GC’s, this means you can all gather each week, which is ideal! For others, it will mean multiplying into two groups. For those families with multiple children, it may mean gathering with 1 or 2 other families, or sometimes just by yourselves. So long as you’re healthy, try not to be alone during these Sunday worship gatherings. Let’s lean into community as we worship. In each of our churches, we are actively planning to plant out more Gospel Communities, so we can have a greater spread of smaller gatherings across our city. If you are currently not connected to a GC, please email one of the following church emails so we can help you get connected:

3. Engage Your Kids. For families with children, go to https://liberti.church/online and scroll down to the ‘Liberti Kids Online’, where you’ll find a link to age appropriate resources that you can download and print off for your kids to use during the sermon. These will be updated each week by our brilliant Liberti Kids Team leaders from our family of churches! For many parents, this time will be a chance to reset the way we engage in the discipleship of our children. A great place to start is simply reading the Bible with them each night and praying together. For more resources, check out the following two links that will help you point them to Christ each week:

Despite its obvious trials and inconveniences, what an opportunity these coming months will be for us to deepen in our devotion to Jesus, to our families, and to one another! We look forward to gathering in hundreds of smaller spaces around the Gold Coast this Sunday, as we make much of Jesus together.

With the love of Christ,

Pastors Adam Ramsey, Darren Dakers and Will Ross on behalf of the Liberti team.

 


UPDATE #2: March 18th, 2020

Hey Liberti Family,

We wanted to give you another update on our rhythms as a family of churches in Carrara, Coomera, and Mermaid Beach in light of the developing situation with Covid-19. As of today, our Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a ban on all indoor gatherings over 100 people. Our hope was to continue meeting together in each of our churches for at least another week, but in light of this news we will be moving up our timeline.

Beginning this weekend, we will move to Stage 2 of our plan (see previous update) and temporarily move our gatherings into homes, in smaller groups of 10-15 people. We now have a chance to love our city, ironically, through our absence in large gatherings and presence in smaller spaces.

While we don’t know how long this will be our new rhythm, we do know it will only be temporary, as we look to return to our usual Sunday gatherings at some time in the near future. In the meantime, we’re committed to doing what we can to help reduce the burden on our medical infrastructure, and reduce the risk to those most vulnerable among us.Here’s how this will look for us moving forward.

Sundays. Each week, we will be sending out a video link that contains acoustic worship and a message from one of our pastors. For those with larger families, this may mean gathering some Sundays with just yourselves or with one other family. For those with smaller families or who are single, this may be with your whole Gospel Community on a Sunday morning or afternoon. We will sing together, come under God’s Word together, share a meal together, and worship in homes just like God’s people have done across the last two millennia.

Midweek. We will continue to gather in our normal Gospel Community rhythms for discussion, prayer, care, food, etc. Several of our larger Gospel Communities are planning to multiply out new GC’s over the coming weeks, so that we can have more-and-smaller GC’s, rather than fewer-but-larger GC’s.

If you are presently not connected to one of our many Gospel Communities across the city, please reach out to your pastor, get the details off a friend who is part of one, or send us an email to info@liberti.church and we will get you in touch with a GC near you. We want to care for you well during this season.

While it will be important — for the sake of those more susceptible to the virus — that we practice good hygiene and healthy social distancing, we want to ensure that we don’t mistake ‘social-distance’ for ‘relational-distance.’ Now more than ever, we need one another. If you are unwell, please take advantage of technology and consider using Facetime or Skype to join in with you group while you can’t be present. And let them know what you need and how they can serve you! Now is the time for us to care for each other well, pray for each other regularly, and be a non-anxious presence in smaller gatherings across our city. While we long to be the ‘church-gathered’ and all together again, we are still the church, even when we are the ‘church-scattered.’ So let’s lean in and love well.

Finally, let’s allow the coming absence to cause our hearts to long to be together again when this season comes to an end. Like Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote during the trying times of the 1930s in Nazi Germany, “The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer.” We believe this. Let’s live this out as best we can, utilising technology as a temporary substitute, while we await the ideal of being fully present again soon. God has prepared us for this moment. Let’s embrace it!

We love you and are here for you.

Adam Ramsey, Darren Dakers, and Will Ross,

on behalf of the Liberti family of churches.

 


UPDATE #1: March 13th, 2020

 

Dear Liberti Family,

With the growing concerns around the spreading of the coronavirus (COVID-19) we wanted to share with you our response and precautionary plans moving forward for our family of churches.

Firstly, as always, we want to be a gospel-shaped community of people. This means all our thoughts and actions are to be informed by and are a response to the good news of Christ’s finished work on the cross for us, not by the current news cycle.

Perhaps some of us are feeling a rising level of anxiety or panic or fear. That’s understandable. We are certainly living in strange times. But let’s remind ourselves of what is ultimately true, which strengthens us to face anything: God is with us (Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 28:20). Let’s remember that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Family, don’t miss the importance of Paul placing those second and third words of “love” and “self-control” in contrast with fear.

Instead of fear, which causes us to treat other people as competitors for resources (toilet paper, anyone?) or enemies to guard ourselves against, Christians know and are to walk in the love of Christ. And the love of Christ is not self-preserving, but self-sacrificial. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). In an anxious world, let’s more than ever commit ourselves to being a people who love well, and are on the lookout for opportunities to help those around us.

Instead of fear, which can cause us to make rash decisions with our money and homes, self-control means we make decisions prayerfully and wisely. We don’t panic, we pray. When we are tempted toward worry, we worship. We care for one another and remember that we are to “not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:16).

We want to be prepared to keep our community and our city safe, especially those who are most vulnerable among us. For those of you are older in years or have weak health, please contact any of our staff as well as your gospel community with how we can serve you (food, errands, etc). If you have someone on your street or in your apartment complex who falls into those categories as well, remember to check in on them and see how you can serve them. We’re all in this together.

Secondly, we want you to know we are continuing to closely monitor the situation in our country, which seems to be changing every day. In an effort to be diligent, here are some of our precautionary plans moving forward:

Stage 1: Presently, our plan is to continue our Sunday gatherings; although this could change quickly so keep an eye out for communication. Along with encouraging everyone to continue to wash their hands regularly and staying home if you’re feeling unwell at all, here are some measures we’re putting in place:

  • We’ll be doing extra cleaning/sanitising of our facilities before and after services.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available at the front door and we encourage everyone to use this on their way in. Also, bring and use your own.
  • Continue to be welcoming & hospitable but be ok with not shaking hands and hugging for a while.
  • We’ll be temporarily suspending tea and coffee service before and after our gatherings.
  • We’ll be holding off on taking communion together at Sunday gatherings, for the next few weeks.

Stage 2: As of this afternoon the Australian government have said that non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more should not go ahead. We want to listen and submit to wise counsel given by our government leaders (Romans 13:1), and at this stage our plan is to continue to gather on Sundays until it becomes clear we are unable to do so. Should their directive change in a way that limits the present size of our Sunday services, we will look to temporarily meet in smaller groups in our homes. This is something we are already well setup for, with more than 70% of our Liberti family in a gospel community. We’ll give you more information if this does happen, but here’s a rough idea of what that will look like:

  • We gather in smaller groups of 10-15 or less in a home.
  • We’ll record that week’s sermon beforehand and send a link out so we can continue to sit under God’s Word together.
  • Each group will be provided with some liturgy to work through, and will take Communion together.
  • We’ll pray and worship just like the church as done in homes for thousands of years.

Our leaders are available if you are wanting to talk through any of your questions or concerns. Please reach out as needs surface, and let us know how we can love and support you all as best we can in the days and weeks to come:

  • Liberti Church Carrara (carrara@liberti.church)
  • Liberti Church Coomera (coomera@liberti.church)
  • Liberti Mermaid Beach (mermaidbeach@liberti.church)

For a helpful reminder on how we can respond to things like the coronavirus as followers of Jesus, read, “How Would Jesus Handle the Coronavirus” by Scott Sauls. We don’t need to be scared or anxious. Jesus is building His church, and even the gates of hell will not prevail against it. So let’s be a people marked by both wisdom and love during this time. Let’s look out for one another.

Let’s glorify God in everything.

With the love of Christ,

Pastors Adam Ramsey, Darren Dakers and Will Ross on behalf of the Liberti team.