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Monday, Wednesday & Friday @ 8p
Sundays @ 9:30a
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UPDATE: MARCH 26, 2020
Hey FAITH Family:
It’s been another interesting week. If you have been watching TV… all of us have… one public figure says one thing. Another says something completely different. Who knows who to believe? I do. Are you ready? Believe the One who says He is the OVERCOMER and actually demonstrated He overcame! No matter how dire our circumstances, our Everlasting God has seen worse and still holds us in the palm of His hand.
This week, I have some challenges for you, as well as some additional information:
CHALLENGE 1 - Manage your intake of bad news
We know it is out there … it’s always been out there. The more we listen, the more it affects us. We like to think we are strong and we rise above, but we know better. It sucks us in and down at the same time. There are sources of hope. Take them in as well, maybe even on a grander scale. We still need to listen to the bad news, but as God is our witness, we don’t need to intake this much of it.
CHALLENGE 2 - Tune in live
The beauty of technology is on-demand. Remember long ago when you actually had to know what day and time your favorite show was going to air? You actually had to carve out time to watch OR you had to figure out the never-easy VCR menu to record. That was always a major pain. On-demand is nice, but it's not the same, especially when we are trying to practice community in a virtual realm. Being live is still not great, but it is the best we have at the moment. Taking it a step further and watching just whenever you get the chance makes things even less personal and further stunts the connection. Here is the static link to our YouTube feed: FAITH YouTube Live. Using it will always take you to what is being broadcast in real-time. If you missed some of our Mon/Wed/Fri times already, here is the FAITH YouTube Live Archive link, although it's just not the same as live.
CHALLENGE 3 - Check on one neighbor and one FAITH family member by this weekend
We need personal connection. We can’t live life alone. Like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we were built for community and togetherness. These are dangerous times of self-reliance. Don’t fall into the trap on either side. You need others. Others need you.
CHALLENGE 4 - Stay home
We love you. We love our community. Unless you must, please stay home and safe. Also, if you need something and can’t leave the house, we have a team of people waiting on-deck to serve you by picking up whatever you need from the store. The service is free, but you still need to pick up the bill for the items. Either call the church office (410-761-5346) and leave a message or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOW FOR A BIT OF NEWS:
NEWS #1 - The FAITH CDC is closed until further notice
We answered the call of the Governor’s office and made ourselves available to the community for child care of first-responders. At first, there was much interest in the service, but as the situation escalated and progressed, parents started to reverse their decision and gracefully declined to send their children to FAITH. We totally get it. We fault none of these parents for that decision. So, since the need is no longer present, we have closed the CDC until all of this is behind us.
NEWS #2 - Feedback Friday has been rebranded as Fun Friday
Everything we see and read seems so serious, but it doesn’t have to be. We have hope and joy from the Spirit within. Instead of always broadcasting serious stuff, we are restructuring Friday to be a night when families can gather together and enjoy a bit of fun. For instance, tomorrow Pastor Jeff and I are hosting a Family Name-That-Tune Show at 8:00p. We will challenge your knowledge of family movie themes… so brush up on your Disney movies… it will be a blast! All you will need is a pen, paper, and a desire to escape from all of the seriousness for a while.
NEWS #3 - ONE Worship is still ON (this Sunday at 6:45p)
We really wish you could be there. It will be nothing like the first two gatherings without the joy on everyone’s face in the room. We strategically did not broadcast the first two to get you in the room. This Sunday is the exact opposite. We will mention briefly our ONE campaign, but this will not be designed only for FAITH family. So, be sure to share with your family and friends as we take our Sunday evening and dedicate it to the Lord.
NEWS #4 - We have a financial cushion, but not a huge one
The last three weekends have been less than ideal for the church, as you can imagine. Two have been virtual gatherings and one was a low week of people who were pioneering the fad of social distancing. Over those three weeks, we are averaging a short-fall of approximately $10,000 per week. We are thankful for the generosity of those who are still giving. I’m told many of you mailed in your offering this past week. That is tremendous. We are thankful for all of you. I just wanted to keep you in the loop regarding our financial status.
I can’t wait to see your faces again.
UPDATE: MARCH 19, 2020
Hey FAITH Family.
Normally this email would be full of all types of information regarding future events. But, that is not the current world we live in. I do want to give you some vital information about what we are doing NOW and what we plan to do LATER. I will continue to update you each Thursday in this same format.
Firstly, out of love, I want you to “hope for today, plan for tomorrow”. We have no idea how long this situation will last. I’m not sure most of our elected officials know. They were prudent to enact Step A without knowing Step B. Normally, that is not great decision making unless you find yourself in a moment when Step A is an emergency need. So, we don’t know how long. I would ask you to continually pray for this week, plan for next month. This could be a long road. We don’t want it to be, but the ministry leadership at FAITH is planning for the long haul and we lovingly ask you to do the same for your family. We would all be overjoyed to scrap our long-term plans if things get back to normal soon.
Each week, help us help our community by being “digital witnesses”. Share all of the virtual gatherings we are hosting on Sundays at 9:30a, as well as on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8:00p. So many are looking for hope these days, and we are doing our best to broadcast it. The volume of views during this past Sunday’s worship was through the roof. Keep sharing ... keep broadcasting hope. We can use this time as an opportunity. Make sure you “subscribe” to our YouTube page and click the little bell icon next to the subscribe button. You will get a reminder every time we go live.
In addition, if you know anyone in our church family or a close friend who has no ability to watch YouTube from home, please let us know at email@example.com. Give us their name and address. We are putting plans together to mail DVDs of our Sunday am service each Monday afternoon to those without an internet connection.
For those of you who have financial stability during this time, the continuance of your regular offerings is crucial to the long-term well-being of the church. I’m sure you have heard us discuss online giving before. I know many still love the act of physically placing the offering in the plate. I get it. Unfortunately, we don’t have a plate for you at this time. You can find the information to give online at WelcomeTo.FAITH/give.
In addition, for those of you who still want to give the traditional way, that is still available albeit through the mail. Our CPA will make sure all of the record-keeping is accurate to each individual donor. The church address is:
FAITH BAPTIST CHURCH
7378 E Furnace Branch Road
Glen Burnie, MD 21060
For those of you who have hard times ahead: Be smart. Live thin. Take advantage of different programs that the government is putting in place. While we don’t have deep pockets, we want to be able to help as a church. Let us know if/when you have needs by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the church office and leaving a voicemail. We are monitoring both daily.
During the previous two ONE Worship gatherings, we made the decision not to Livestream the event because we wanted all to attend in person ... And you did! They were tremendous, filled with energy and the Spirit of God moved. This third ONE Worship will be live-streamed only with no one attending in person. A little flip flop, but we are praying for the same mighty movement of the Spirit. Due to our social distancing limitations, we will not be able to involve the choir, but we still plan to broadcast live and in color to your living rooms. Make sure to be a digital witness for that event as well. We won’t be promoting FAITH, we will be promoting Jesus, so all are invited.
Pastor Jeff and Brianna did an amazing job last night leading a mini time of musical worship… even though technology fought against us for a bit. If you were online when the feed went down, we did get it back up quickly but only on YouTube. Facebook didn’t like us last night. Here is the link to watch the recording: FAITH Virtual Episode 3: Wednesday Worship. We won’t be deterred by the hiccup! We will be live at 8p every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For clarification, these nightly broadcasts will be on Facebook and YouTube. Sunday morning is YouTube only.
In conclusion… this too shall pass. There will be an end to this valley, but God’s love and provision are eternal. Here is a question I posed to our pastors and staff yesterday in a video conference: “If God is watching and testing how we respond during this time, what would a perfect score look like?” I recommend you contemplate this question, write down your answer, and set your goal to trust Him through the fire.
See you on the screen at 8:00p tomorrow (Friday) night and 9:30a on Sunday.
UPDATE: MARCH 12, 2020
Subject: COVID-19 Plan Forward
Well that plan didn’t last very long…
We have done everything we can to stay ahead of the curve and communicate with you fully as a church family. On March 6th at noon, we announced some sanitary and social distancing policies to help promote health. Then after the flurry of civil and sports cancelations on March 12th at noon, we announced a change in sermon to address the pandemic and further instructions while I sped across the country to get home. That communication expired just 3 hours later after Governor Hogan’s press conference.
He specifically banned all gatherings of 250+ people in the state of Maryland to slow the spread of the virus. This includes us on Sundays. As we have the duty to obey civil authority when it doesn’t cause us to disobey God, we made the decision to go Livestream only on Sunday. That was a decision that came quickly.
Then we discussed not just the “letter of the law” but also the “spirit of the law” which is social distancing. Our elected leaders are imploring us to keep a distance for the health of the community at large. This decision led us to evaluate gathering on other moments of the week even when we do not meet the 250+ designation. It became clear what we needed to do. The point of the executive order is not the number of people in a room but the distance between the people in that same room. Understanding that, we have made the very tough decision not meet for Thursday worship, Wednesday Team Kids and students, as well as any small groups meeting on campus or off during the week.
WE ARE FOR building healthy families. That is who we are. We firmly declare the most important health in a family is spiritual, but physical health is also extremely important. In the interest of the health of our church families, we are making the very difficult decision to cancel all in-person gatherings until further notice. We do, however, plan to continue and ADD the following during this time:
Every Sunday at 9:30a, without fail, we will broadcast our weekly worship via our normal channels. We ask that you prioritize this time with your families in your homes. Meeting virtually is far from ideal, but it is what we have available to us. And, it is not an option that many churches have.
Our scheduled ONE Worship will also be broadcast on Sunday night (29MAR) at 6:45p. We still believe in the high importance of this time.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:00p (starting tomorrow), we will also go live with one of our elders, ministry leaders, or volunteers to connect for information, prayer, Q&A, story, etc. Just because we won’t be able to greet each other in person, does not mean we can’t stay connected. Let’s use 2020 for all it’s worth!
All of our families with children will receive an email next week with a link to a private link that will include Gospel Project resources for home family bible study.
We really hope and pray that this time passes quickly. None of this exciting to us. In addition, we realize there will be some who will be upset with the weight of these decisions. If that is you, know that if we err, we want to err to the side of caution, safety, and concern for you and your family. We pray you see our love for you in these decisions not just in word but also deed.
Further, our church offices will not hold regular hours for the next 2 weeks while we telework.
Please sure you tune in this Sunday for a sermon specific to all of this and a scriptural understanding of how we should respond. I literally drove fast all day to get back to Glen Burnie to preach it tonight… only to hear the civil mandate and then cancel. The message is addressed to all believers. Please share.
Thank you for your grace and understanding. We miss your faces already.
Pastor Tim (on behalf of the entire Elder Team)