March 17, 2020
Yesterday, March 16th, Howard County initiated a ban on all gatherings, both private and public, of 10 or more people. This is the exact wording on the restriction they are placing into effect as of March 17th,“For a period of 60 days, effective immediately, there shall be no public or private gatherings of more than 10 people, and all citizens are to attempt at all possible times to maintain a social distance of six feet or more from others.”
We have several important considerations in light of this. You and I who know the Lord understand the meaning of Hebrews 10:25 quite clearly, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." We understand the importance of gathering together in obedience to the Lord to worship, fellowship and pray. Nothing can or should replace the important part assembling together plays in the life of the believer and the local church.
Therefore, regarding these governmental directives, I certainly understand the heartfelt desire to declare as the believers in Acts 5:29, "...We ought to obey God rather than men." But, we also see other direction in the Bible for a time like this. For instance, 1 Peter 2:13 says, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake:" Also to be considered is Romans 12:18, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." There is also 1 Peter 2:12, "Having your conversation honest ... that ... they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." We want to do everything we can to be faithful to the Lord and the best possible testimony and help to our community.
If these directives were an attempt to permanently stifle our freedom to assemble and our right to worship freely, I would be the first one to stand on Acts 5:29. But, as it stands, these orders are temporary in nature, and they are designed to help protect the most vulnerable in our community from an illness that could very well be deadly to them if they contract it. Many of those in the most vulnerable categories are beloved members of our own congregation.
Remember, “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.” (Prov. 16:20). Trust-Pray-Believe! We know that God is bigger than this. Pray that people would be awakened to their spiritual needs. Ask for God’s mercy—both temporally and eternally. God may be answering some of our prayers in ways we never expected.
Therefore, with these considerations in mind, we feel it necessary to immediately, temporarily suspend all Faith Baptist Church worship services, ministries and gatherings through at least April 19th (30 days). This includes visitation, King’s Kids, prayer meetings, etc.
That being said, in an effort to keep our church family as connected and united as possible in a time of "social distancing," We will conduct LIVE STREAM ONLY services on Sundays at 10:30am and 6:00pm. We will begin this Sunday, March 22nd. We will have a time of prayer and a I will continue our Sunday series through the Book of Romans. Again, I want to reiterate, these will be LIVE STREAM ONLY SERVICES. For the time being, there should be no attendees other than those involved in producing the services. If you do not have access to the livestream, please let me know, and I will make sure to deliver a CD of the audio as well as a copy of the sermon notes to your door.
To view the LIVE STREAM services, go to our website, www.fbckokomo.com and click on the "WATCH LIVE" tab at the top of the screen.
Even though we will not be physically gathering together, the church must still meet its financial obligations (mortgage, utilities, etc.), so, we strongly recommend that you continue your regular giving of tithes as offerings. If you'd like, you can send your tithes and offerings via regular mail, or, you can set up online bill pay with your bank to have your tithes and offerings sent to the church mailing address. You can also give by visiting the church website and clicking the tab labeled “GIVE” at the top of the screen.
As I mentioned, due to the nature of this virus, we will not be visiting, and discourage, except in the most needful situations, personal visitation in homes. Visitation in hospitals and long-term care facilities is already extremely restricted. However, we would like to encourage those who regularly visit our sick, elderly and homebound to continue to do so as much as possible VIA TELEPHONE. As a matter of fact, keeping in touch with one another in this way, as well as via video calling, social media, email, texting, etc. will be an important way to keep one another connected and encouraged. Our Deacons, Richard Morrow and Ralph Gillam, and I will also be in regular contact with everyone each week. We want to weather this temporary storm together and remain connected, unified, and edified through it all. Remember, the Church is not the building or our service times… you are the Church, the Body of Christ. Together, we can thrive in the midst of the chaos
As always, if you have any questions regarding these things, please don't hesitate to contact me. Furthermore, if you have information regarding the needs of our church family or current community policy that you feel would be helpful as we make decisions moving forward, please don't hesitate to let me know. We will continue to regularly update you via phone call, email, social media and our website.
We are thankful that, to our knowledge, to this point, no one in our congregation has been infected with COVID-19 and our prayer is that will continue to be the case. We need to pray diligently for our church family and our community at this time, looking for every opportunity to be an encouragement and a witness. Thank you and God bless you.