All services have been moved online until further notice on vineyardofharvest.org/stream.
English 11:15am | Chinese 9:45am | Youth 9:45am
All small groups have been moved online as well. Join an open one here.
“For most recent updates, visit vineyardofharvest.org/reopening
Hi Church Family-
In light of recent comments from President Trump to deem churches as essential businesses and subsequent guidelines from Governor Newsom regarding reopening of churches, I wanted to send you an email about our specific steps forward for VOH. Actually, our initial plans do not shift much. Along the way, our plans have been to start reopening for in-person services when public schools in our area start reopening– tentatively mid-August.
I wanted to make you aware that we have formed a Reopening Task Force at our church. This task force is co-led by Pastor Michael Lin and Stephanie Tsang. We have about 19 members on this task force representing most ministries in our church. Earlier today, I met with Pastor Kwan, Pastor Michael and Stephanie Tsang for a couple hours over Zoom. And we will meet with the broader team this Sunday evening. I assure you that we are coming up with a comprehensive plan to reopen church in as safe and conscientious manner as possible abiding by government guidelines.
One way that you can help us in this process is by filling in our Return to Church Survey, which has been emailed out and also available in the yellow box at the top of this page.
This will help us know your thoughts as we make decisions. Can you take 1 minute to fill out this survey when you get this message?
Please be in prayer for our church and church leadership in this process. We need wisdom from God above all else.
Below, I want to share with you a message from the Vineyard National Director, Phil Strout. Please understand that these are his thoughts shared from his blog. I personally found them helpful as I personally processed so I am simply passing them to you as I think it could be helpful for you as well.
You and our church are in my prayers. God will lead us down the right path!
From Phil Strout (Vineyard National Director):
May I have a moment of your time to talk about when and how your church resumes gathering? This is not advice to pastors. (I’m sure they’re getting plenty of unsolicited advice.) I want to share my perspective for those of you who are waiting for information from your pastors.
I’m not currently leading a church, and no one has asked me to speak on behalf of those who are. But I had the privilege of serving as a pastor for thirty years and my life is full of friends who are in that role. So, there are a few things I’d like to share about my sisters and brothers—those amazing souls—who are leading churches.
First of all, for your pastor this is not a partisan political decision. As much as a real, serious, deadly global pandemic has been politicized in the US, your pastor is not opening the doors of the sanctuary based on the cable TV pundits.
I know there are exceptions. Over the past couple of months, we’ve heard about pastors who made absurd theological or political statements, while endangering the lives of their congregations. Many have contracted COVID-19 and some have died as a result of that ignorance and arrogance. But those few are not representative of your pastor.
Even though we know we shouldn’t, pastors carry a heavy sense of responsibility for people’s spiritual well-being. We know you are responsible for your own life, but we can’t help it. Pastors study, plan, pray, preach, shepherd, counsel, administrate with your spiritual and emotional health in mind. And now they are asked to deal with your physical well-being. They are being asked to make decisions that, for many people they love, could be life or death decisions.
So, no, they’re not making this call with the 2020 election in mind.
And they’ve been listening, conferring and praying about this. None of my sisters and brothers who are leading churches are taking this lightly. No one is winging it.
I’m guessing that most churches are going to take this slow. Church buildings are not designed for social distancing. I was a part of three phases of building a church campus. Believe me, most of our discussions with architects revolved around how to maximize our space—how to allow for large numbers of children, youth and adults on a limited budget where every square foot felt overwhelmingly expensive. We discussed your seating space in inches, not in six-foot units.
Your church leaders don’t have the funds or the time to retrofit your church for the new reality. This is going to take time. Mistakes will be made. But your pastor is trying to make sure those mistakes are not fatal.
So, in my humble opinion, here are a few do’s and don’ts for the coming months…
1. Give your advice and opinion only when it is requested. Don’t send your pastor YouTube videos about “the real truth” of the pandemic. Don’t say, “Did you ever consider…” because, yes, they have. They’ve been talking to other religious leaders and to physicians. They’ve been consulting with the lay leaders of your church, reading denominational directives, and asking God for guidance. They’ve been laying awake at night, praying for you. Again, they’re not winging it.
2. When you return, do wear a face covering. Don’t argue with the ushers at the door. Don’t make this about your rights. Don’t make snide remarks. Don’t put weird slogans on your mask. Just see it as an act of love and solidarity. You’re protecting others. If we can’t do that in church, well…
3. Be patient—incredibly patient, more patient than you’ve ever been—with your fellow worshipers. That young mom, as amazing as she is, has no idea how to keep a face covering on a five-year-old. That young father doesn’t know how to keep his toddler from snotting all over the place. That elderly person may feel panicked when she or he can’t get big breaths through the mask, and may pull it off.
We’re entering a new reality. It may be years before we share the eucharist in the manner we used to. We won’t pass the peace like before. And it’s going to take each one of us some time to adjust to this new world. So, be nice!
4. Remember that the decisions made by the leaders of the church cannot be specific to one demographic. One size does not fit all. So there may be policies put in place that make no sense to you. But they do make sense to other people with other needs and challenges. This should be a time when the church really feels like a safe place. And it will take every one of us to make it so.
5. And, of course, remember that you are responsible for you. No one is going to make you go back before you’re ready. So if the timetable doesn’t fit your preference, adjust for what is right for you and your family.
Your pastor is feeling incredible pressure. There were no classes in seminary about pandemic ministry. They’ve been using their creativity and working extra long and hard to try to keep you connected during social distancing. And now they have to make some very tough calls. Everyone has an opinion. But some people have to make decisions. You can make this a time when grace prevails in the darkest of days.
Hi Church Family!
Hope you’re well. Of course, I continue to think of you and pray for you!
I hope you got to spend some unhurried time with Jesus this week. This coming Sunday, I will share along similar lines as we look at the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible. God certainly has a word for us in this Covid-19 situation to slow down and just be in His presence.
On a personal note, I want to share with you that I have been scheduled for the last few months to be recorded on a podcast tomorrow (Saturday) morning to comment on Asian American ministry and specifically to input on anti-Asian racism amidst Covid-19. Also, this past week, I received a second invitation onto another podcast to share on this topic.
Interestingly, a few days ago, while out on a walk in our 60% Asian neighborhood, someone shouted a racial slur at our family. When the incident happened, my family was already a ways down the street so after a short discussion with Evangeline, we decided it was not best to confront this time, especially since all our little kids were with us. But I did have a long discussion with my older kids to explain what happened and why I did (and did not do) what I did. Many of you know, I grew up in NJ where racism and prejudice against Asians was a regular part of my life. But since I moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago, this was only my 2nd blatantly racist experience.
I think the Lord allowed my family to have this experience so that when I speak on these podcasts, I’m freshly and personally in touch with the anti-Asian sentiment still present in our country and world. I pray and believe that Christ is healing this world from Covid-19 and from racism. There is deep longing in my heart for heaven to come to earth as vividly depicted in Revelation 7:9-10.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
Please join me to pray for healing of Covid-19, racism, and ultimately for a massive in-gathering of souls into the kingdom of God. Please also pray for me as I speak on these podcasts. I need God’s guidance to speak kindly but also insightfully to bring awareness, change and healing.
God bless you guys! I’ll “see you” on Sunday!
Dear Church Family:
How’re you all? I continue to pray for you.
What a week it has been! I’ve been on a pseudo “Spring Break” with my family. Of course, we just stayed at home but tried to do more fun things with the kids like playing soccer and playing with water in the backyard on the hotter days.
I wanted to write you a quick note to remind you that you are always in my thoughts and prayers! These are crazy times we are in, and I’m glad we have each other. Let’s keep pointing one another toward the Prince of Peace.
Tomorrow, I believe I have a very important word for our church. The title is “Relentlessly Eliminate Hurry.” God is deeply calling us as His people to slow down, focus on Him, and to hear His voice clearly. Shortly after our Easter service last week, I sensed the Lord deposit this word in me for this Sunday.
Consider inviting others to join our service. My Hindu friend from high school has been joining our services. And last Sunday, four of my cousins joined our Easter service too. People need the hope of Jesus, and their hearts are opening wider in this pandemic. You may have noticed that I share a very short gospel presentation and call to response in each online service now. Just send someone this link and a simple invitation. Holy Spirit will surprise you how He works in people’s hearts. http://vineyardofharvest.org/stream
I want to leave you with a benediction that someone sent me this past week and that I will pray over everyone tomorrow at the end of service. It comes from Jude verse 24.
“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.”
Blessings on you all! “See you” tomorrow!
Hi Church Family,
I continue to pray for you! I wanted to send you a brief email so that you know what to expect for our Good Friday service this week. I\’ll number some points below so it is easier for you to follow.
1) We will be gathering online at 7:30 pm this Friday. You can access the Good Friday service the same way you have been accessing our Sunday services. Go to https://www.vineyardofharvest.org/stream.
2) The Good Friday service is a combined service for English service, Chinese service, and kids. So please note that the service will be conducted in English with Chinese subtitles.
3) During the Good Friday service, we\’ll be watching a 10 minute clip of the movie, Passion of Christ. Due to the graphic nature of the video, it may not be suitable for young kids. There will be a QR code that pops up on the screen. Families with young children can scan that code on their phones and have their children watch a kids Good Friday video in a separate room during that portion.
4) At the end of the service, we will have communion together so please prepare communion elements beforehand. In case you need help getting bread or grape juice (communion elements), send us an email at email@example.com with the number of communion element sets you need and your mailing address.
5) Please consider inviting family members and friends to join the Good Friday service. Especially in the times we are in, the world needs the hope that was secured and offered to us on that first Good Friday. Attached to this email are some graphics that you can use to post or send to family and friends to invite them.
We find ourselves in challenging times! Our church family is here for you! I am praying for all of you. And our church wants to help in any way that we can, including financially. If you find yourself in need, please reach out to us. Send a confidential email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and give us the opportunity to be the church family to you.
God bless you guys. See you this Friday!
Hi Church Fam!
I hope and pray that you are well! Just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know I continue to pray for all of you.
Remember that we will be partaking of Holy Communion together this Sunday. In case you need help getting bread or grape juice (communion elements), send us an email at email@example.com with the number of sets of communion elements you need and your mailing address.
I want to keep encouraging you to reach out to others at this time. I\’m doing the same. Many people are struggling in these days. We have a great opportunity to love people with the unconditional, fear-dissipating love of Christ. The gospel message is the hope this world needs!
I want to share one specific way that our church is engaged in helping our community. We are working to support the healthcare providers in our area with the protective equipment they need to serve our community during this time. VOH members can support in 2 ways:
1. Drop off donated PPE and supplies (gloves, medical masks, eye protection, protective clothing, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes) to the VOH Hope Building weekdays between 10am-2pm. These items will be donated to our local hospitals.
2. Donate to the COVID-19 Relief Fund through our VOH online giving channels. If giving with check, please specify “COVID 19 Relief” in the memo.
I will close by just sharing a simple verse that I have been meditating on. Since I turned 42 a couple of weeks ago, I have been meditating on Psalm 42. Verse 5 especially captures my attention.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
In the state of our current world, there are tons of reasons to be downcast and disturbed. But the beauty of our Christian faith is that we put our hope in Jesus and praise Him because He is our Savior and our God.
May God\’s hope deeply fill you today! Your pastor is praying for you!
Dear Church Family:
Just a quick reminder that our service will be “premiering live” tomorrow (Sunday) at 11:15 am. Join us at https://www.vineyardofharvest.org/stream.
You might wonder why we are so strongly urging everyone to join the service at the same time when people could simply watch the service online at any point in the week. I want to share with you an excerpt from a post written by my friend, Mike Safford, who pastors the Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard a few hours away from us.
Pastor Mike points out that gathering remotely “has deep roots in Christian spirituality. The Roman Catholic stream as well as Anglican and others have utilized for years resources like the ‘Liturgy of the Hours’ or the ‘Book of Common Prayer.’ They are resources to guide the church-global, even as they’re scattered, toward reflecting and praying on the same content, at the same time each and every day. It is a means of ‘being together’ even when we are apart. Solomon said so many centuries ago ‘there’s NOTHING new under the sun.’ Being the church-scattered, and finding ways to ‘come together’ is not something that was introduced by Covid-
19. The Church has a looooooong history of navigating how to be together while apart, and we can step into the newness of this by remembering that it’s not new. We are the Church-global, BOTH when scattered AND when gathered. Today we are together, even though we’re apart. Many of us are learning today what God has been teaching his Church for generations.”
I share this excerpt because I am personally excited about “being together” tomorrow! I hope you are too!
Dear Church Family:
You have all been in my thoughts and prayers, especially the last few weeks. I miss seeing you all in person, but I am extremely grateful and blessed by how our online fellowship has been developing.
I thoroughly enjoyed Sunday’s online service. Sunday happened to be my birthday, and I could honestly not think of a better way to celebrate. I joined the Chinese livestream service for a bit and “chatted” with people. And then the English service live chat was buzzing with activity leading up to the service. Honestly, it was fun engaging on the live chat with those who joined! God’s presence was with us as we worshipped and received God’s words.
Below, I want to communicate a few items. I will number them just so it is easier to follow.
1) Please note that we will change our English online service time to our original time of 11:15 am. There are several reasons for this, and I will share a few so that you have some context. First, after consulting several of our leaders, it seems wise to keep to our originally scheduled time so that we have some sense of normalcy and can smoothly transition back to in-person services after the crisis is over. Also, we have been finding that more than a few people who attend the Chinese service have been tuning into the English service. So it would be meaningful for them to join the full English service. Finally, since our services are now streamlined, an 11:15 start time will end before 12 pm and be a good time for families.
2) I want to encourage you to keep inviting friends and family to tune into the service. Believe it or not, more people are joining the English service now online than were joining before in person. Amidst fears and uncertainties, people are leaning in to find spiritual answers. So I urge you to send some loved ones a link to our service. This week in particular, I plan to give a brief but clear gospel presentation and call to response. Once again, the link to our service is https://www.vineyardofharvest.org/stream.
3) Next Sunday April 5th (not this Sunday), we will observe holy communion together. If possible, please have some bread and grape juice at your house. But if needed, we can help! If you need us to send you some communion elements via mail, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Email us your address and how many sets of communion elements you need.
4) Finally, I leave you with the passage of Scripture I have personally been meditating on. It’s a crazy time. On top of all the changes for church, Evangeline and I have been running a mini pre-school at our house with our 4 little ones Ha! I’m sure your life has it’s own set of challenges. Here’s the invitation Jesus extended to all of us. Let’s respond to His welcoming words. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28
Wow, what a week it has been! I’ve been praying for all of you. If there are specific ways our team can keep you in prayer, please let us know at https://vineyardofharvest.org/prayer-requests/
And thanks so much for many of you who have told me you are praying for me too! I so appreciate your prayers. Our family went from 3 kids in the public school system to homeschooling all of them starting this week along with caring for a newborn. Evangeline has been great at anchoring our family because as you know, our church has been rapidly adjusting to all the changes this week too.
I’ve been hearing great things about the virtual small groups going on! Personally, I had an incredible time with my small group over Zoom last night that really settled my heart after a crazy day.
In case you\’re not yet part of a small group, check https://vineyardofharvest.churchcenter.com/groups/seasonal-small-groups for groups that are still open for you to join.
With the new guidelines by California to stay at home, we once again need to adjust how our church engages. Below are a couple of changes we are making.
1. Since we have more flexibility in service time with this online format, we are switching our English service time to 10:30 am as long as we do online services.
2. Since we need to stay at home, I will be preaching from my home, and Job will be leading worship from his home. With this arrangement, we can’t do the service live. We’ll record and splice together our portions tomorrow. BUT, I will be joining virtually with you on Sunday and look forward to interacting with you via the comments feature. The live chat feature will be enabled before the service starts, and I would love to virtually say hi to you on Sunday during that time. So tune in early, and let’s chat! You can find the links here and here.
3. I want to highly encourage us to worship together on Sunday morning at 10:30 am. I’m personally going to be worshiping along with you during that time. The video of our service will “premier live” at that time. A re-recording will be posted on our YouTube channel on Monday and also our podcast feed. But I want to highly encourage us to “gather” as a church family at 10:30 am on Sunday because God is specially present when His church gathers together.
4. Finally, just a reminder to access our service by going to https://www.vineyardofharvest.org/stream.
You are always in my heart and thoughts but especially in this season! Jesus is still on the throne, and He has something special for each one of us. Let’s press in even closer to Him in this time and await the wonderful kingdom breakthroughs that are right around the corner.
“See you” on Sunday! Love and blessings on each one of you and your families!
Dear Church Family,
I had a wonderful time worshiping through the livestream with all of you this past Sunday! I especially enjoyed seeing pictures on social media of your families and groups gathered to worship together. By the way, I’m so impressed with our community of faith for not letting the coronavirus situation prevent us from worshiping together as a church family. Last time I checked, we had close to 800 views of our livestream service. Personally, I sensed a special presence of Holy Spirit with us on Sunday.
As I’m sure you’re aware, our world continues to adjust to navigate this pandemic. In line with government guidelines, our staff met today to enact certain steps so that we can continue to do our part to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
I want to emphasize that God has a sovereign plan amidst all the chaos to “reset” our hearts that our land might also be “reset” to right standing with Jesus. We have a magnificent opportunity in this season to do and be the church in a new way!
We will continue to care for our church members and reach out to our community — now more than ever before actually! The format will have to change, but our heart and vision remains the same. Below are a few new ways we will engage in this season.
1. We will be closing our facilities to all small groups and ministries at this point. All small groups are strongly encouraged to keep meeting via Zoom. Small group leaders will be in touch with you about details.
2. Our church staff and other ministry meetings will continue to meet virtually using Zoom.
3. Only necessary admin personnel will be working inside the church building. The building will be closed to everyone else during this time.4. Sunday services will continue via livestream at our normal service times at https://www.vineyardofharvest.org/stream with the following schedule:
– Chinese service meeting at 9:45 am
– English service meeting at 11:15 am.
We also encourage all our members to remain diligent in adhering to CDC, state, and national recommendations of staying home, avoiding public spaces, and sanitizing regularly. We have an opportunity to shine our light so brightly in this hour, and I am proud to be part of a community that seeks to love our neighbors by abiding to these government recommendations.
In closing, I want to tell you that I am praying for you. I’m grateful for you. And Jesus loves you dearly as do I. Today, I’m praying Psalm 91:5-7 over you. “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”
I recognize that there may be lots of questions you might have. Our staff is certainly available for you, but general questions can also be directed to the office via email at email@example.com or 909-594-9010.
Dear Church Family:
You may have already heard that California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that gatherings of 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March to slow the spread of COVID-19. In line with this statement, we will not gather for our regular Sunday meeting this week. And obviously, all other Sunday ministries will be suspended. Other than essential team members to support, we strongly urge the vast majority of our church to join us on the livestream at https://www.vineyardofharvest.org/stream.
As you are aware, we had a big conference scheduled for this weekend. We have been in touch with our conference speaker, Steve Nicholson. Although he expressed willingness to teach over the livestream, he also shared that he would rather reschedule after the pandemic because Holy Spirit ministry is most powerfully experienced when we’re praying for each other, gathering around those being touched and seeing dramatic stuff happening. We felt it is more sensible to reschedule.
But we still look forward to a great Sunday service together over the internet! We will maintain the 10:30 am joint service time this Sunday where Pastor Dennis & Pastor Kwan will address the whole church together.
As for small groups/cell groups, each group will be making their own decisions about whether to meet or not. We believe Holy Spirit will guide each group’s decision.
Please keep us in prayer as this situation is obviously ongoing, and we need to re-evaluate week-to-week. Please also keep on praying for our world in this chaotic time! God is still good, and the message of the gospel is the hope that this world needs. We live by faith and not by fear as we navigate these times by the power of Holy Spirit! We are praying for you all!
Pastor Dennis & Pastor Kwan