Let’s be real, Church. 2020 was not the year we had planned. In January, we rebranded as Sower Church and celebrated all that God had done in our history as a church replant, allowing us to move forward and carrying the mission to reach our city.
A global pandemic in March changed everything for everyone. The spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) caused fear and anxiety, even among believers. Though Scripture is clear that God has given us a spirit of love, not fear, and that He, ultimately, is in control, trustworthy, and good, this did not mean we could be careless or reactionary.
Like every church in our city, we took precautionary measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of the virus in our community. Our doors closed in March, but as a result, we were able to launch a weekly livestream using YouTube and Facebook Live. We are so grateful for the men and women who generously gave their time and talents to bring the church to you when gathering was not safe.
During this time, our Community Groups still met virtually every week via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams. Virtual meetings allowed us to catch up on life, share verses, and pray together. We may have practiced social distancing, but we all needed to stay connected through a phone call, text messages, Marco Polo, Snapchat, and Voxer to encourage one another and check in with people.
No doubt, 2020 was an uncommon year, one so full of loss, pain, confusion, anger, fear, civil unrest, uncertainty, and division. 2020 was perhaps one of the most controversial, challenging years in recent church history, but we also saw and experienced God’s goodness.
We safely opened our doors again on Sunday, June 21st, with a two-service format to accommodate social distancing for our facility’s seating capacity. We wore masks. We followed the guidelines. We did what we could to be together again, and we are thankful.
In May, we hired Zane and Faith Sherrer as the new Campus Fellowship directors, who focused on our college ministry full-time. In one semester, friendships and spiritual maturity began to form among the Campus Fellowship small group.
Our Community Groups grew stronger as visitors and individuals joined a group that best fits their schedule. In a year marked by social distancing and trials, our Community Groups have been there for each other, shared life, and prayed for one another. People took steps of faith to share the Gospel and to be a blessing to others during such a hard year, including making face masks for front line workers when there was a mask shortage.
We partnered with Lincoln-based organizations that aim to make a difference in our community. In July, we joined Visionary Youth for their back-to-school drive to provide hygiene products and personal care items for low-income youth. In November, we helped NeighborWorks plant 30 new trees in our surrounding neighborhood.
We welcomed Cosecha Lincoln, a church dedicated to reaching Latinos with the Gospel, to use our building as their new home. All services, Bible studies, and worship are offered in Spanish every week.
We also launched Sower Church Music as our Worship Team wrote and recorded their original songs. Each song debuted on YouTube last summer with an additional release this past Christmas.
Finally, we wrapped up our Restore Campaign that started in the summer of 2019. The one-year financial campaign allowed us to remodel our church building. In that one year, we upgraded our lobby and men’s bathroom, built a new women’s bathroom, and updated our Sunday School rooms.
As we enter another year, we are so grateful for all that God has done. He knew what type of challenges we would see and experience in 2020. God had His plan, and it was good. We are thankful for 2021 and remember that our hope is in the One who makes all things new.