March 14, 2020
Dear Bible Center Church family,
Be assured that the Pastors, Elders, Staff and I love and thank God for you. I have personally found myself praying for you and your unique burdens more in the last few weeks than any time I can recall in my last 4+ years here.
The Pastors and I sense that we are moving forward together in gospel unity, as much now as ever; and for that I’m thrilled! As we face these uncertain times of the Coronavirus and global financial crisis, our unity and care for one another is of utmost importance. The world around us needs to see that our hope and our confidence are in the good news of the risen Christ!
As you’ve probably heard by now, health officials from the CDC (as well as national, state, and local leaders) have discouraged large gatherings to protect the vulnerable and to slow the spread of this virus. Based on the best information we have, we are defining a large gathering as 100 people or more in the same space.
Because of this, the Elder Board and I voted last night to temporarily cease meeting together, in-person, on Sunday mornings, and in any midweek environment of 100 or more. Instead, we will hold our worship services entirely online, beginning this Sunday (tomorrow), March 15.
You can find our live Sunday services at the normal 9 & 11 AM times on the Bible Center smartphone app, at biblecenterchurch.com/live, Facebook Live, or YouTube Live. (Many thanks to Advantage Technology for recently setting us up for success!)
Let me challenge you to check in and be part of every service. I’ll be encouraging you and teaching you from God’s Word, as I do every week. Our online services will also include a time of worship through singing for you to enjoy, or to even sing along in the comfort of your own home. In the next week or two, we’ll have an online word for children as well. Stay tuned!
All evening activities (after 5 PM) from Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18, will be canceled. Decisions about upcoming events after Wednesday will be decided early next week.
How long will this last?
We hope to resume our large, in-person worship gatherings sooner than later. This decision is subject to revision and will be re-evaluated weekly. All Coronavirus updates will be posted to the home page of BibleCenterchurch.com and on our social media channels. Please visit often.
Why are we doing this?
Please know that we are not motivated by fear, but by love. We want to love our entire church well, including our senior saints and others most at risk by COVID-19. We want to love our city well, by setting the example in hopes of flattening the infection curve and alleviating future suffering. From what we’ve discerned from medical professionals and historians, societies that impose some social-distancing measures fare much better than those who ignore the warnings.
We also want to honor our national, state, and local leaders. These men and women have been most gracious to churches by not forcing our hand, but by advising us with care and concern. In short, we believe we can love each other and our neighbors better by hosting our services entirely online for a season and finding other ways to do ministry in smaller groups.
What does the road ahead look like?
This doesn’t mean, however, that we’ll cease to do ministry, or that we’ll stop being the church. It just means that we will do church a bit differently for a season. In addition to hosting live Sunday morning services online, our staff is meeting this week to answer the question, “How can we be more like the first-century church? In what way is God inviting us to do gospel ministry in such a time as this? How can we reach more people for Jesus through this crisis?”
Please pray with me for our staff this week as we pray, dream, and quickly lead our church to:
- Creatively gather and worship together in smaller settings. (Of course, even our smaller gatherings will still need to follow CDC guidelines to mitigate risk.)
- Intentionally care for one another, especially our elderly and those hurting financially.
- Find ways to produce more maturing followers of Jesus… among adults, students, and children of all ages.
Let’s remember that, even though we’re doing church differently, we’re still the Church! Let’s use this season to reflect on things that matter, to pray for the sick and medical professionals, to care for our neighbors in need, and to reevaluate how we do church in hopes of reaching people like early Christians did (Acts 2:42-47). In the middle of it all, I hope you can find a way to get much-needed rest. Remember: God loves you and wants you to take care of you too.
With all our Pastors, Elders, and Staff, I’ll be praying for you during these weeks of uncertainty. If there are ways we can care for you during this time, please reach out to us right away.
With deepest love for you,