Dear Faith Bible Church
I can’t tell how much it has been doing for my soul to gather with you all these last few Sundays. I feel my personal walk with the Lord is more invigorated, my gratitude for God’s gracious work is kindled afresh. Even my praying for you has been sweeter. That’s how God has designed it to work. Our personal devotion impacts our gatherings, and our gatherings impact our personal devotion to Christ.
How have you witnessed the grace of Christ these months?
There are some practically encouraging things during this time. Despite the increase in COVID-19 cases, churches have experienced no new restrictions. That is directly due to churches seeking to comply with the state guidelines. The guidelines are a small price to pay for the huge fruit we bear for Christ as we gather.
I am encouraged by hearing you sing. I am encouraged by the receptive attitude toward the word.
The most encouraging thing I hear from people as we gather is this, “For the sake of loving other people, I will gladly follow the guidelines.” You have been so appreciative of the efforts made to bring you live stream. Some growth groups have either continued or restarted on Zoom. You really want to fellowship over the bible and love each other. You continue to be generous. We are meeting budget and excited about things coming next year.
We are going to continue on with Sunday gatherings as we have. We are still able to meet as a gathered church up to 200 people so long as we wear masks and practice social distancing.
People can still do personal ministry in homes or outside so long as they follow the state guidelines. When gathering socially, do as much as you can outside.
Here are some important ways we can help each other as we meet under these guidelines.
We are experiencing a phenomena that has been true in churches across America—people register to attend, but 25% don’t actually show up. That means some people who want to come can’t because the registrations are full, but on Sunday morning we have lots of open spaces. If you register, but then can’t come, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will try to get your spot to other people.
Our medical experts are reminding us that the pandemic is not over because we can now meet. If you have health reasons for not being able to wear a mask the whole time, we encourage you to stay at home and live stream. We get a brief exception during communion. The singers and preacher take them off for effective communication to those live streaming. But other than that we need them on the whole time.
If you feel a little grousy about wearing a mask, and I understand why, don’t give up on the gathering. It’s more spiritually healthy to endure a little annoyance and join the gathering when your week comes. Your personal rights are not as important as your kingdom benefits in the gathering. You will pray better, read God’s word better, and love better as a result of the gatherings. That’s how God made it.
Keep focusing on Christ and the unity he has wrought by his death on the cross. Our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. If you are in Christ you have the most important thing in common with your brothers and sisters. With other raging cultural issues, we can’t be hung up on smaller things.
Let me close with these word from the Apostle Paul.
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:9-13
With greatest affection,
Dan Jarms on behalf of the elders.