“For Christ also suffered once for sins,
the righteous for the unrighteous,
to bring you to God. He was put to death
in the body, but made alive in the Spirit.”
1 Peter 3:18

Times of Sickness and the Gathering of the Saints

A Word From Pastor Soncek:

In light of all that is occurring in our nation and around the globe regarding the COVID-19 virus, I feel compelled to update our body on how the church plans to respond and proceed. I’ll do this by answering some questions that have been asked of me:

Will we be gathering this Lord’s Day?
As of right now, the plan is to come together on Sunday for both Sunday School and Corporate Worship. Our local government, in tandem with the expert voices in our medical community, have deemed it unwise for gatherings in excess of 250 people to occur. We fall below that maximum-gathering recommendation.

Does this mean that it is wise for everyone to attend?
Certainly not. Those who are currently experiencing any symptoms associated with sickness, have a compromised immune system or fall into the high-risk demographic of 80 years old or above (according to the CDC) should stay home.

Will the way the church operates on Sunday look any different?
It will. All of the modifications we are making have the goal of minimizing things being handled by several people, as well as minimizing person-to-person contact. As such, there will be no printed bulletin. The announcements will be on slides that will repeatedly play before and after the service. Also, we will not pass an offering plate during service. There will be a plate by each of the two main exit doors. You are encouraged to leave your offering in those plates on the way out of service. We will prompt the body before and after the service regarding this.
Also, we are encouraging people not to shake hands or hug, opting for the much safer (though slightly more-awkward) fist or elbow bump. We will continue to have hand sanitizer in key places around the church. The greatest deterrent to the spread of any kind of sickness is the washing of hands: 20 seconds (at least), lots of soap, using a paper towel to turn off the faucet.

Will any ministries/programs outside of Sunday be affected?
At this point, we think it is wise for the Young at Hearts Ministry to not meet this month. We will evaluate the wisdom of restarting that ministry once we get into April. Other than that, all other ministries/studies/programs are planning to continue as planned until further notice.

How should be respond in light of the fear surrounding us, or that is even within us,
during these days?
When Christ gives the command “do not be worried about your life” (Matthew 6:25), He is not encouraging recklessness. He is not encouraging us to charge past expertise that has been given to certain people as an extension of God’s grace to us. Rather, He is saying, as children of God, we have no reason to be anxious. Because of the person and work of Christ, the God who spoke the universe into existence, who controls every molecule within that universe, is also our loving, heavenly Father. We have no reason to fear. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean we won’t fear. Rather, it means we shouldn’t fear…we have no need to fear. Your Father in Heaven has all things (yes, even this virus) perfectly in hand. Only good is coming. We must believe that, and live our lives in a way that shows we believe that. Later in Matthew 6, Christ adds “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (v.27). Not only is worry a lack of faith but it is a tremendous waste of time. It does nothing to change the future, the future that is in the hands of our sovereign, loving Father…right where we want it to be.

So use these days of fear and panic to manifest the joy and the hope found in Jesus Christ. See these days as days of mission, seeking for opportunities to live-out 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”. We don’t mock those gripped by fear, we don’t belittle them. We show them love. We show them hope. We show them Christ.

For More Information, See Also:

“A Further Word” From Pastor Soncek