Updated: March 19th, 2020
Dear Church Family,
In the time since my last email of this sort (less than a week), it seems as if years of information and change has occurred, and we do not know what the next weeks and months will hold. Yet, we hold onto the promise of the Scriptures:
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” // Malachi 3:6
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” // Hebrews 13:8
These two verses reminded us of the exceptional nature of the God we worship – unchanging and forever! While much of life is uncertain, we have an anchor in this cultural moment. As we adjust, we trust God does not – COVID-19 has not shocked the “the LORD God…an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:4).
As we move closer to Sunday, we wanted to update you on our plans for the following two Sundays:
Canceled Sunday Service | We have decided to suspend our regular gatherings at the church building on March 22nd & 29th. As the recommended number for group meetings has lowered, we desire to honor the authority that has encouraged action for a decreased rate of viral spread. We will continue to evaluate as the weeks move forward.
An Online Worship Option | While there is no substitute for gathering as a church body, it is important to continue to worship God through song, prayer, and listening to His Word. Because of this, we are working on putting an (abbreviated) worship service online, including the elements mentioned above. Rather than our normal Facebook livestream (which limits accessibility), we plan to prerecord this service to load online for easier access to any with the internet. Look for an email Saturday evening for more instructions.
Consider Meeting in Smaller Gatherings | I would offer each of us consider (as you feel comfortable for health) gathering with another church family to watch the online service. As the current recommendation for groups is not to exceed 10, let us also consider Hebrews 10:25, which encourages us not to neglect meeting together as some are in the habit of doing. As we meet in smaller groups, let us sing the songs, pause to pray, and sit under God’s Word together. I would encourage discussing the message, pray for each other, and maybe share a meal afterward (again, only as comfortable).
Giving – Including Text Giving | As we are not gathering these two Sundays, may I encourage you to continue to give? Not because we are fearful of missing regular offerings, but (truly!) because this is a significant way we give back to the Lord who gave us His life. Sending or delivering gifts to church will work, but this is also an excellent opportunity to launch text giving (which was being worked towards prior to recent events). Text the word “GIVE” to 507-222-0702 for a one-time gift (or text “GIVE WEEKLY” or “GIVE MONTHLY” for recurring gifts). This number is a secure service that Community Bible will start using for text communication and text giving. Upon your initial text, a prompt will give further instructions.
Health & Safety | Per my email last week, please stay safe in this time! If you are uncomfortable gathering with a small group and/or you have higher risk factors connected with COVID-19, know it is okay to worship alone. If you are ill, please consider doing the same. If you choose to gather with others, respect the health guidelines we have become familiar with (washing of hands, covering coughs, reduce contact with others, etc.).
Can We Serve You? | This is an excellent time for us as a church to work together and serve each other. Is there something you are in need of? Let us know so we can see who might be able to help.
Live in Gospel Unity | There are many opinions concerning COVID-19. I would encourage us to be gracious with our brothers and sisters as they share ideas that you may or may not agree with.
To God be the Glory,
Pastor Dan Strutz