I am grateful for the recent Supreme Court decision calling the California ban on church gatherings unconstitutional. All the way back in June, after doing our research and understanding the data on Covid-19 we decided the risks of remaining closed far outweighed the benefits. We weren't going to wait for a future Supreme Court decision to do what we knew was right for people. We decided the ban on church attendance was not only unconstitutional, but unspiritual, unhelpful and therefore it would go unheard as far as Skyline was concerned. We opened in June and have seen more people make decisions for Jesus Christ than any other time in our history. We decided to care for people over politics.
Because we decided to open, we've helped people overcome some serious darkness spiritually, mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, and even economically as the church pulled together to help our community members hardest hit by the lockdowns. And just last Sunday we saw 52 more people take a step of commitment to Jesus by being baptized!
Over the course of the last eleven months we've learned a lot about politics, political agendas, viruses and vaccines. But most importantly, we learned that when you do the right thing for your community, God blesses in ways far beyond what we could have hoped or imagined. We just cannot imagine ever closing the church again.
One of my goals is to help others understand the value of the local church family. There’s so much that happens on a spiritual level when we come to church. Watching service online is valuable because you’re getting the Word of God. God can and does use the online church experience in so many ways. But, it is just not the same as in person services.
I realize many churches remained and continue to remain closed and utilize the online church experience. I don't know what is going on within every church so I don't know the reasons why so many remain closed these 11 months now, but it is not my place to determine when they open. I have very good friends that are pastors of many great churches, I love them very much, the fact that they remain closed does not affect my relationship with them. Whether they are open or closed is determined by each churches leadership and what they feel is best for their community. My own personal opinion is that all churches should be open because we are better together. There is incredible power in our communities when we're all open, meeting people's needs in person and reaching our communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ. But, that's just my opinion.
The value of the church family cannot be understated. Something much deeper happens when we gather to hear the Word of God and thank, praise and worship God together. That’s why Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to neglect our church meeting but to encourage each other when we gather. In fact, when this verse was written, God’s people were experiencing even harsher restrictive government regulations than we’ve been experiencing recently. Roman Emperor Nero and other political leaders were pushing anti-church gathering agendas and were trying to keep people from meeting. Believers were afraid to gather because the government put fear into the people, even threatening death. Yet, they were encouraged to not give up meeting together. To push back and operate out of faith, not fear.
When you dig into Scripture and read about the importance of the church family, you see another name for the church is the Bride of Christ. We can see how much Jesus loves His Bride, the Church, in Ephesians 5:25-27 among other verses. Like Jesus, we too should put a high value on the local church family. But I can’t tell you how often I hear people say that they’re Christian but don’t like “the church.” Maybe you’ve heard someone in your Oikos (which is your relational network, workplace, friend circle, neighborhood, relative, or a gym buddy) say something like that.
Let me tell you something …
Saying you’re a Christian but that you don’t like the church is like saying, “Jesus, I like you, but I don’t like your wife.” Would you be friends with someone who invited you to hang out, but they started the conversation by insulting your wife?” That’s not okay with Jesus. Look, I get it... You may have had a bad experience at a church or multiple churches in the past. But, biblically, that is no excuse to let your faith fall to the wayside and undervalue the church family.
There are imperfections in every church...mainly because the church is made up of people! Just like there are no perfect people, there are no perfect churches. But at the same time, we have to place a high value on the local church! At some point you have to say, "This is MY church." Whatever church that may be.
A Christian without a church home is a spiritual orphan. If that person doesn’t get adopted by a church family, they’ll never grow to their fullest potential in Christ. Why? Because that's the way Jesus set it up. He places us in spiritual families called the church.
Listen, we firmly believe that it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. We hope Skyline is your church home, but we recognize there are different ways of “doing” church. At our church, the animal sacrifices don’t happen until the very end of service. No, I’m kidding. We don’t sacrifice animals... although cats... no, no, no, I'm kidding...
There are no perfect churches. If there was a perfect church out there, and you decided to go to it, as soon as you show up you’d ruin it, because you’re not perfect. In my professional, researched, and personally vetted opinion....The closest you’re going to come to a perfect church is Skyline. I believe this is the best church in the world! If it wasn’t, I’d be somewhere else. And guess what, there are no perfect people allowed here! so...you’ll fit right in!
Regardless of what you’re looking for in a church family, there is a church out there for you. Let us help you find that church. We know of so many churches literally around the United States and even the world. No matter where you live, we'll help get you connected. We say it all the time, Your Growth is our Goal...even if that means it's at another church. We want you to grow spiritually. We want you to THRIVE in 2021.
Happy Camper said:
Thank You Pastor Jeremy! Your brave stance against city & state gov political appointees and elected officials is why I am now attending Skyline. I used to go to two other churches who’s pastors cower, closing & keeping their churches closed due to their fear of being fined and or other reasons. I personally believe any pastor who keeps their church closed is living in & running their church in FEAR, which GOD’s WORD teaches us against. I praise GOD for Skyline, for your brave stance & for opening back up sooner than most. I was actually driving 1 hour North to Murrieta to a church that only closed for the initial two weeks, then opened back with full seating access and no masks required. We can not allow the crooked gov officials to continually limit Christian rights & beliefs as many pastors throughout San Diego county are continuing to cower to. Thanks again for allowing our FAMILY to meet together as we see fit, masks or no masks, distancing or not, based on our own wants or needs. I’m spreading the news of Skyline to every believer or potential attender that I discuss the church closings with. GOD’s continual blessings to you and this church! Hugs!