5 May 2020
Dear Church Family,
May in Indiana means racing, and while the 500 has been postponed till later in the summer, we have been given the green flag by our governing/health authorities to once again begin in-person meetings. Well, a green flag may be an overstatement. Its more like a yellow flag. As we make our plans for gathering together, we are continuing to think about how to protect our broader community and the vulnerable among us.
In accordance with the Indiana Back-on-Track guidance, First Baptist will be resuming in-person worship services on Sunday, May 10th. As I have already informed you, for the first four weeks we will have worship services only. Sunday School groups and all other activities will remain online in the same manner as we have become accustomed. The online Sunday School class is adjusting their start time to 8:45 but the general format will remain. Of course, I know that not everyone will feel comfortable immediately returning to worship services. This is absolutely normal, and we are planning to continue to minister to those who gather in our facility and those who do not. The services will be recorded and posted online as soon as possible after the Sunday morning gathering.
After four weeks of only having worship services on our campus, we will begin to slowly add other activities (Sunday School, Sunday evening worship/preaching, prayer meetings). Again, plans are being made and technology acquired to allow us to continue expanding our provision of discipleship opportunities for those who are unable to be in our facility.
When you do come for corporate worship, rest assured that we are taking as many precautions as practically possible. High-traffic/high-touch areas will have been sanitized in accordance with CDC guidance. Doors will be propped open and sanitation stations have been set up for your use. We have made changes to our meeting spaces to accommodate the recommended spacing distances. And we will be encouraging you to maintain the appropriate social distancing protocols. Working together we can meet safely for worship while demonstrating love for one another. [You can find the Indiana guidance at https://backontrack.in.gov]
We endorse our governing authorities’ recommendations to those individuals who are 65 and above or who have an underlying at-risk health condition to stay home and participate in worship online and through your own study of God’s Word. You are loved very, very much and we fully understand your desire to gather as a family in worship of the Lord Jesus. At the same time, please recognize that you are also at a heightened risk of infection and we do not want to do anything that may cause you harm.
This summer will be a time of transition for us. We must and will move cautiously toward resuming a full slate of ministry activities, while planning for future opportunities. This is a great time for gospel work and I believe Jesus’ words are as applicable in 2020 as they were in the 1st century: “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (Jn 4:35). I am praying for spiritual discernment to see what is before us and Spirit-driven courage to act by faith and with boldness in the days ahead.
I can hardly wait to see you guys again. It will have been a long 56 days! Grace and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
30 April 2020
Dear Church Family,
We are about to finish our seventh full week of canceled activities. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we have navigated these uncharted waters. There is much that remains unknown ahead of us. By God’s grace, we will not only endure this time but thrive in the midst of it. This we do know: God and his promises in the gospel have not changed. We are learning to lean further into Christ, trusting him in ways we did not trust him before. For this we are eternally glad and thankful. Peter gives this timely reminder; these various trials test the genuineness of our faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes. Our prayer then is that our faith might be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pt 1:6-7).
I commend you for your continued faithfulness to the gospel and the ongoing gospel work among us. I have heard from many of you about the doors the Spirit is opening for gospel conversations. I am praying with you for much fruitfulness to come out of them. You have been taking the lead in caring for one another in so many ways – calling, texting, and doing acts of service (with appropriate social distancing). You have been faithful to continue to finance our cooperative ministry. I thank God for you and for our partnership together in the gospel. May your tribe increase to the glory of Jesus!
I am sure many of you have been wondering how and when we will restart our in-person activities. We are continuing to refine our plans based on the best advice of trusted advisors and the information available to us. We will continue to adhere to our governing authority’s guidance for faith-based communities. As much as it is possible for us to do so, we should give great consideration to protecting the vulnerable from needless exposure to danger. Plans have been made and practices put into place to clean and sanitize our church’s facility. We have made changes to our meeting spaces to accommodate the recommended spacing distances. Other additional changes either have been made or are in the works; things such as installing hand sanitizing stations, adding new methods for receiving offerings and partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
As of today, we do not have a firm grasp on when we might be cleared for meeting again in person. Yet I can give you a brief overview of what that will look like when the time comes. Just a note of caution. Not everyone will have the same view of what should be done or when. Let’s give each other lots of grace to have differing opinions and differing responses to the events going on around us. Grace in our words and opinions is a great way to fulfill the Lord’s command: “love one another” (Jn 13:34) and “look not only to your interests but also the interests of others” (Phil 2:4).
For the first four weeks after we have decided to begin corporate gatherings, we will have worship services only. Sunday School groups and all other activities will remain online in the same manner as we have become accustomed. There may be some adjustments made to the timing of these activities, but the general format will remain. Of course, I know that not everyone will feel comfortable immediately returning to worship services. This is absolutely normal, and we are planning to continue to minister to those who gather in our facility and those who do not. The services will be recorded and posted online as soon as possible after the Sunday morning gathering.
After four weeks of only having worship services our campus, we will begin to slowly add other activities (Sunday School, Sunday evening worship/preaching, prayer meetings). Again, plans are being made and technology acquired to allow us to continue and to expand our provision of discipleship opportunities for those who are unable to be with us in our facility.
Remember brethren, much of what has been done over the last seven weeks have been temporary measures. We will gather again on a Sunday morning with the rest of the saints of God. We will again sing the songs of Zion and the glories of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you miss being with your church family. I do. And I can’t waits till we are together again. Until that time,
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
10 April 2020
Here are some additional resources to help you grow in faith and godliness:
*****World Magazine is offering a free book (hardcopy and e-book) from John Piper, Coronavirus and Christ. Follow the links below –
If you provided your mailing address, we will have the book shipped to you in the next few weeks.
You can also read or listen to the book right away. Access Coronavirus and Christ in your preferred format with the links below.
You can listen to the audiobook in your browser with the link above or download it to your computer by clicking the download button from Dropbox.
Get your own digital and print copies of the book.
9 April 2020
6 April 2020
We continue to live in the midst of uncertainty. When will things get back to any resemblance of normality and is there anything such as normality in the future? How long will we have to keep our distance? What will it look like when we emerge from our isolation? These are questions without any solid answers. We do know that our in-person gatherings together as a congregation are on hold for the foreseeable future. The governing authorities have extended their closing orders through at least April 21st and it will more than likely be longer.
So we will celebrate this Resurrection Sunday and the Sundays that follow it as we have been doing so for the past month. Our homes have become our sanctuary and technology our friend. We have been trying to replicate some resemblance of congregational life through the use of video conferencing to pray and study the Scriptures together. We have been producing sermon videos and suggested ways to sing the gospel to our own souls. If you have not been receiving the updates on how to access these opportunities, let us know. These are all good things, some of which will continue into our future church life. But nothing will replace the in-person gathering of the church. I hope your heart aches for this void in our corporate life.
If this season of our lives has been particularly hard for you, please reach out to us. We want to minister to each other as best we can. You do not need to suffer alone. Let us pray with you and encourage you with the hope of the gospel. If you are dealing with significant financial issues because of the economic downturn, we want to assist you. Talk with one of the deacons or elders and we will begin helping you find the resources that can support you through the upcoming weeks.
As we prepare this week to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, let us celebrate with great joy and hope. A long view of God’s redeeming work in our lives reminds us that this season is only temporary. Eternity lasts a really long time and Christ is in the business of preparing us for our forever home. His resurrection ensures that we will never be distanced from him. Remember his words on the night of his betrayal: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again to receive you to myself, so that where I am, you may be also.” The day of isolation will not last and the day of eternal union with our Savior will not end.
We love you guys and are thankful that God has brought us together as a family in this troubling season. By his infinite mercy we will not only get through it but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Guy & Bob
Here is a special video update from Pastor Bob:
A free animation of Pilgrim’s Progress; highly recommended! The Pilgrim’s Progress
27 March 2020
We are continuing to watch the events unfold around us and prayerfully seek to utilize the resources and technology available to us for the sake of the gospel and your souls. You are aware that Governor Holcomb has made an emergency declaration effective through midnight on 6 April. This declaration affects our ability to meet together in person for the next two Sundays and so we will be continuing to provide resources for worship in your homes. This can never replace the gathering of the church in one location as we do normally every week. Yet it is the best we can do at this moment. There are multiple ways you can access these resources: the church’s website (fbcmooresville.org), emails, and Facebook.
Our need for connectedness and growth in the gospel is not stymied by a ‘stay-at-home’ order. If anything, the opportunity is greater. All of the outside entertainment options normally available to us have been temporarily withdrawn. So let us use this time wisely. One way we are seeking to shepherd you in this moment is through various online options. Pastor Bob is leading a ‘small group’ on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am. We are hosting a virtual prayer time on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm. Look for emails that have specific directions on how to access those online services. If you need help with the technology, let us know and we will do what we can to get you set up.
Another blessing of this moment is the provision of great gospel-centered resources from a number of parachurch ministries. Many of these organizations are now providing their resources for free. Since there is a preponderance of opportunities and we do not want to explode your email with them all, we are carefully selecting some of them for your attention. We will link to these resources on the church’s website under the banner ‘COVID-19’.
We have been encouraged by the way you have been connecting one to another. This is exactly what the church should be doing – loving, serving, and praying for each other and our community. Some of these stories are beginning to float up to us. We would love to hear your story. Would you let us know how God has been moving and providing for you and perhaps been using you to serve the gospel to others? Tell us your stories and let us rejoice together in God’s mercy and grace.
We do not know what the future is going to hold for us. We are thinking and planning for the time when we will once again worship together at 680 Indiana Street. Pray for us as we seek wisdom in this area of timing. We are quite sure that it will not be a clear-cut decision to make and godly insight is needed. Of this we are sure – God is not fretting about what to do or what will happen. King Jesus still sits on the throne of this universe, directing all things to be woven together for good to us who love the Father and are called according to his purpose. In this we rest and in him we trust.
Grace and peace,
Guy & Bob
This afternoon, Indiana Governor Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-08. This directs all Hoosiers to shelter in place. While we have already cancelled our in-person church activities, this directive now means that the church office will be closed through April 7th.
However the essential functions of the church can and will continue. We will continue to fulfill the minimum administrative requirements necessary for effective ministry.
If you have a need or know of a need within the congregation, either contact one of the elders and/or deacons, or let us know through our Facebook page.
This will not last long and soon we will be back to our regular ministry activities.
19 March 2020
Do you have your children at home and wondering what you can do to lead them in bible study and devotions? The resources available to you on the Internet are vast. But if you are looking for a high quality discipleship material, we recommend to you Lifeway Kids. Lifeway has opened up this resource to you free of charge and no strings attached. Users have access to video content from the “Bible Studies for Life for Kids” worship hour, Bible story teachings, life application, and kids talking about this week’s topic. The material is not age-graded and is geared toward first through sixth graders.
To access this material, follow these simple steps (you may have to register with Lifeway if you do not already have an account):
Step 1: Go to my.lifeway.com/redeem
Step 2: Register if you are a new user or log in if you already have an account.
Step 3: Enter this redemption code: VZMD4SSQ38
Step 4: Click ‘Access’ (if prompted to sign in again, sign in) and then click ‘My Dashboard,’ and go to ‘Lifeway Kids at Home’
Step 5: Download the activity page and one conversation sheet to us while watching the video session.
17 March 2020
Dear Church Family,
With the COVID-19 virus threat, it is prudent that we take measures to protect ourselves. This is not normal business and I ask for your understanding as we work through our response to it. The situation is changing rapidly and the advice coming to us from our governing authorities changes nearly every day. Yet as you are aware, the general direction is to limit our physical interactions with one another in order to help curb the predicted rapid rise in infections. In order to do so and in compliance with the current mandates, we are taking the following actions.
First, all church activities including Sunday services are canceled for the rest of March. This includes two Sunday morning worship services (March 22 and 29). We will reevaluate the situation as we approach the end of the month and make the appropriate determination on how we move forward from that point. Remember though that worship does not begin or end with our Sunday gathering. While we firmly believe we should gather together to worship and spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb 10:24-25), this temporary cessation of our physical togetherness is an opportunity for continue worship in different settings.
To aid you in worshiping at home with your gathered family, I will be producing a ‘sermon’ video and worship guide for you to use. This will include a suggested order of worship with songs you can sing together (Col 3:16-17), Scriptures to read, and of course a time of instruction from the Word of God. This video and accompanying documents will be available to you on the church website (fbcmooresville.org), our Facebook page, and sent to you via email.
Second, while we would never seek out circumstances such as what we are experiencing, this is an opportunity for us to put into practice that which we have believed. We believe the church is not a building but a called-out people. We believe that each of us is called to fulfill the ‘one another’ commands of the Scripture. We are to love and serve one another. We believe that for us, to live is Christ and to die is gain. WE believe God is sovereign over all things and there is not a viral string of genetic material operating outside of His divine oversight and direction.
Therefore, let us act upon our faith. Let us commit to staying in contact with one another. Intentionally call another church member just to check up on them and let them know they are not alone. When you discover a need with another family, push it up to the church’s leadership so we might attempt to meet it. Go next door to your neighbor and make yourself available to them. If you are healthy and able to buy some groceries for someone who cannot or should not get out of their house, do so. Live, love, and serve with the grace of Christ.
Third, because ministry is not stopping, the financial needs of our ministry will not stop. Let me be as transparent as possible. Now is not the time to stop giving for the work of the gospel. Be faithful as the Lord is faithful to you. You can securely give online through our website (fbcmooresville.org), send you offering through the mail, or drop it off at the church office during business hours.
Remember brethren, this is a temporary measure. We will gather again on a Sunday morning with the rest of the saints of God. We will again sing the songs of Zion and the glories of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you miss being with your church family. I do. And I can’ t waits till we are together again. Until that time,
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.