What is a church when the building is closed? Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount, CA has multiple buildings and properties open 6 to 7 days a week. They use their buildings to provide spaces for worship, after school care, Celebrate Recovery, sports teams, food distribution, an art center, and to support families managing their finances. The buildings have been a significant part of their ministry but, due to the pandemic, they’ve had to close.
Victor Luse, his wife, and young children had never gone inside an Emmanuel Paramount building, but last year they met the church on the street. In late November the family saw a group of people outside lighting a Christmas tree. They were singing in English and in Spanish, the Luse Family’s first language. The family stopped and watched. They met the pastor, Ken Korver, and made their first connection to this group of people striving to love God and their neighbors.
Pastor Ken shared that people have been watching the outdoor services from their porches, alleyways, and even the car wash. A woman he’s never met posted on social media that listening to the choir music ringing through the neighborhood lifts her spirits.
The buildings are not Emmanuel Paramount. What is a church when the building is closed? It is the people in the street who the Luse family and the rest of the neighborhood are now encountering right where they live.
If your congregation is ready to reimagine local mission, consider applying for the Churches in Mission Cohort hosted by Western Theological Seminary. Find more out more at westernsem.edu/churches-in-mission.