On January 26, Citywalk Church in Yuba City, California, celebrated its first birthday as a church, with gratitude for all God had done in 2019 and anticipation for what he would do in 2020. Momentum was building, new families were getting connected, and doors were opening. Then on March 12, everything changed. In the midst of what would become the COVID-19 pandemic, we received the phone call that no church planter ever wants to receive. The school we were meeting in was closing down, and we no longer had a home. As our team realized that this was much bigger than just losing a location, we made the decision, as did thousands of other churches, to move our ministry online. What would not meeting in person do to our young church? Would people stay connected? Would we make it financially? How long would this last? These among other questions crossed our team’s mind the first few days. In the midst of the questions and changes, we decided to see our situation as an opportunity instead of an obstacle. God has once again shown himself faithful. Here are a few things we are celebrating in the midst of change.
- On May 9, we had the opportunity to meet and serve the mothers of our city by inviting them to have their favorite drink on us at our local coffee shop. On June 27, our student ministry hosted a Wiffle ball tournament in a local park. Teens from all over our city came out. About halfway through the event, we served the students lunch and had a chance to share the Gospel with them. When given the opportunity, several students indicated that they trusted Jesus as their Savior.
- God provided us a new location to meet in that cost our church about a fourth of what we were paying at the school. Since regathering in mid-June, we have had several new families begin to get connected and are celebrating our third baptism of the summer this coming Sunday.
- Like many other churches, we now offer an online option for service each week that is impacting people well beyond the boundaries of our region. Yesterday I received a message from a lady who lives in Florida whom our family was trying to reach before we moved to California. She was writing to thank me for our online service and tell me she had watched for the last three weeks.
- God has grown my faith personally through this time, and we as a church are so thankful for his gracious hand at work among us. I am thankful that God’s Word and Spirit are never bound. As a result, we move forward with anticipation.
Chris Finchum is the lead pastor for Citywalk Church in Yuba City, California. You can find out more by visiting citywalkchurch.com.