Coronavirus update

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - Click here for a video update

 

First of all we want to say: THANK YOU! You guys stepped up to generously show your support in a big way. As a result, our offering total this weekend was the highest of the past year, even though we weren't able to offer in-person worship services. So even though I can't shake your hand right now for multiple reasons, please know I'm giving you a "virtual hug." Your giving is allowing us to continue to adapt and do new things like:

  • Create Zoom accounts for our MTVgroups, so they can meet online
  • Assist Reality Church (Millport, AL) with video & livestream of their sermon from our facility
  • Deliver buckets of treats to hospital staff break rooms

We're continuing to learn on the fly how to do "digital church." We have already committed to continuing to offer only online worship services (in keeping with government recommendations and guidelines) through this weekend. We'll reassess the situation next week and will communicate our next steps at that time. In the meantime, we'll keep taking steps to better leverage this unique opportunity through technology, creativity, and dependence on God. As you may have noticed, some of the changes we made from last week to this week included:

  • Added worship music
  • Added option for phone "live streaming" by calling 662-290-9039
  • Added online Connection Card at mtvcard.com, where you can also submit a prayer request

As I wrap up this week's update, I want to encourage you to do three things this week: 

  • 1) Spend some focused time with God. In the middle of all this change and uncertainty, it's helpful to remember Psalm 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. I posted a video devotional on Facebook yesterday that I'm hoping will encourage you. I plan to continue posting those every couple of days, so be watching for that.
  • 2) Call somebody. Our nation was already suffering from an epidemic of loneliness prior to this crisis, so I fear it will only get worse. Even we have to "physically distance" from each other, we don't have to be "socially distant." Pick up the phone and call someone to just let them know you were thinking about them and wanted to see how they were. If we each develop this habit, our church can some out of this season stronger than ever.
  • Pray... for your family, neighborhood, community, church, nation, and world.One way or another, your prayers will impact the trajectory of your life. I believe who you become will be largely determined by how you pray. As you pray, be sure to take time to listen for what God wants to say to you.

That's it for now! We're working on some other exciting stuff we’ll be ready to share with you very soon. Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - Click here for a video update

What Mt Vernon Church is currently doing

1) Our March 22 and March 29 worship services will be streamed online on our Facebook page AND at mtvchurch.tvIn response to the most recent federal and state recommendations, we’re calling off live worship services for the next 2 weeks (including our midweek service). We’ll reassess the situation in two weeks.
 
We are also taking steps to enhance our online experience. One improvement we’re preparing to introduce is "phone live streaming." We’ll be publishing a phone number where those who can't watch the service digitally can call and listen to it over the phone. After the conclusion of the live service, people can continue to call the number at any time throughout the week to play back the most recent audio. 
 
2) We're compiling resources for families. Watch your e-mail and our Facebook page for resources to use with kids. We wll also be publishing on social media some discussion questions you can use to talk with your family after watching the sermon.
 
3) All MTVgroups will meet online. We’re making tools available for groups to facilitate online meetings. Be on the lookout for more details from your group leader about how this will work. We’re not cancelling groups: we’re just temporarily cancelling the live meetings.
 
4) Our staff is personally checking on everyone ages 60 & up. We’ll continue to do this on a weekly basis.
 
5) We're coordinating delivery of groceries and supplies to those considered high-risk. Anyone who falls into a high-risk category – whether due to age or health-related factors – let us know if you need supplies. This is also available for anyone quarantined due to potential exposure. By the way, if you’re someone who could help with these deliveries, comment on our Facebook post or e-mail us at info@mtvchurch.com.
 
6) Assisting other churches with video & livestream. We’re blessed with the equipment, facility, and staff to be able to serve other churches in this way.


What you can do

1) Make at least 1 phone call each day to someone else. If you’re able to do a video call, that’s even better because it allows for face-to-face interaction. At a minimum, just check in to ask how they are & how you can pray for them. It’s ironic, but by being intentional, we can leverage technology during this season to be even more connected than normal. Let’s use social media to actually be social (instead of rant or complain).
 
Let’s also recognize that the people most physically susceptible to the virus are also the ones most mentally susceptible to loneliness. Chronic severe loneliness among older adults has been found to significantly increase mortality. Studies have found that social isolation is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. So let’s stay in contact with those who aren’t able to get out and interact with others.
 
2) Pray. Let’s be praying for our neighbors, our church, and our leaders.
 
We’d also love for you to do "Pray & Go" in your neighborhood. This involves simply driving or walking your neighborhood and leaving a door-hanger on each mailbox to let people know you prayed for them. The door-hanger also explains how people can contact us with any specific prayer requests. If you let us know how many door-hangers you need, we’ll have them ready for you to swing by and pick up at the church office OR we can drop them off in your mailbox.


Here are some specific ways you can pray:

1. Ask God to stop this pandemic and save lives -- not only in our communities but around the world, particularly in places that are unequipped medically to deal with the virus. (Isaiah 59:1-2) Pray also for scientists and researchers to be led by the Holy Spirit as they seek to provide treatments and vaccines. As we pray for healing, let this crisis remind us of our eternal hope in Christ and awaken us to the need to share His hope with those around us.

2. Pray for our government leaders -- international, federal, state, and local -- to have the wisdom to recommend and take the best courses of action for prevention and care. (Romans 13:1-4)

 3. Scripture says: Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom in this moment of uncertainty, that others would realize how fragile life is and how real eternity is, and they would see their need to turn to God. (Psalm 90:12)

 

3) Find ways to serve others. Brainstorm ideas of how we can show God’s love to others during this time. Let us know your ideas and we’ll pass them along to everyone else. 
 
Here’s one idea we had: encourage your kids to make handwritten cards and draw pictures, then send them to one of our local nursing homes. Since they are on lockdown and the elderly folks there aren’t currently able to receive visitors, this is a great way we can show them they are loved and not forgotten.
 
4) Switch to online giving. If you go to mtvchurch.com/donate, you can make a one-time gift OR set up a recurring contribution. If our giving drops to 50% of the norm during this season, it will have a serious impact on our ability to show God’s love at a high level in the days ahead. So thanks in advance for your faithfulness in continuing to fund the mission and vision of Mt Vernon.
 
5) Invite people to join us online Sunday morning (or during the week). We’ll publish some shareable posts on social media. Invite people to tune in and be a part of our online worship service on our Facebook page or at mtvchurch.tv.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Amidst concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are committed to doing whatever we can to provide a safe environment for you and your family. As information evolves, this page will be updated to provide answers to your questions.

 

In light of the recommendations of our governing officials in Mississippi, Mt Vernon Church is making the following decisions and recommendations:

 

1. NO Weekend Gatherings

 

This Sunday, March 15, we will NOT meet for worship gatherings. Instead, we will record and stream a worship service online, which will be available on Sunday at 9:00 AM on our Facebook page and our Livestream page. We encourage you to worship at home with your family and/or small group, especially anyone who is unable to stream the service themselves. Consider also inviting a neighbor to join you. In a time of uncertainty and fear, we can be a light of gospel hope.

 

Our decisions are not made out of fear in any way. Rather, they are motivated by how we can best love our neighbors by preventing the spread of the virus unnecessarily. Exercising caution is not only wise, but is a tangible way of expressing love toward others. We are FOR our community and want to be part of the solution.

 

I’m sure you’re wondering when we will be able to gather again to worship on our campus. While we don’t have a specific answer at this time, we will assess the situation on a week-by-week basis. In the meantime, we can’t wait to hear the stories about how God uses our online worship gatherings. Let’s continue to faithfully give financial offerings online HERE or by mail so that the ministry of the church thrives all the more in the midst of difficult days.

 

Please continue to check this page for updates. You can also sign up to receive text message updates by texting CVUPDATE to 662-222-0242.

 

2. Other Gatherings and Events

 

We have also made the decision to cancel the next midweek service (scheduled for Wednesday, March 18).


We have also decided to postpone Joy Prom (which was scheduled for Saturday, March 21). The rescheduled date has not yet been determined.


MTVgroups will continue to meet at the discretion of each group. Our small groups are a great way for us to continue to be the church to one another and to the community during this time. Group leaders should consider what is best for their family and members and coordinate directly with the church staff on any necessary guidance. 

 

3. Communication and Prayer

 

We are actively discussing the best ways to love both our community and our people in this time. We recognize that this is a dynamic situation with constant new information and updates. If we have to communicate any last-minute decisions or changes, we will provide updates on social media, via email, through text updates, and here on our website.

 

While we do not know what will happen as this situation changes, we do know that we can, and must, pray. As we look to the days and weeks ahead, would you join us in prayer?

  • Ask God to stem the tide of this growing pandemic, not only in our community, but in cities around the world.
  • Pray that those who are called to address this crisis (particularly medical professionals and those in positions of authority) would be equipped to handle new cases with wisdom and compassion.
  • Pray that local churches would lead the way in exhibiting a spirit of trust in God and love for others.

Finally, let's resist the temptation to worry. For an encouraging reminder about how to do that, you may want to watch the message on worry from our recent Emojis teaching series. The God who was faithful to you yesterday is just as present with you today and promises to be equally present with you tomorrow. So there is no need to worry - not because we know what will happen next - but because we trust the only one who can do anything about it. Let's be faithful in this moment to be the hands and feet of Christ and to point people to our ultimate hope in him.