Dear Church Family,
These past few weeks sure have been a whirlwind! We are facing unprecedented circumstances in our country. Certainly each one of our homes have been impacted to some degree by what has been taking place. Yet, it is reassuring to know that, no matter how great the turmoil may be around us, we can always find refuge in our God. As Psalm 46:1 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” As believers, now is not the time for us to shrink in fear, but to stand forward in faith trusting in God our refuge. With this in mind, let me share with you our church’s most recent response to the coronavirus crisis.
Contingency Plan for Service Schedule
The circumstances surrounding how COVID-19 is impacting our society seem to be ever-changing. Last week, we developed a contingency plan for how we were going to proceed together through this time. As of the time of this writing, Governor Polis has restricted gatherings of any kind to no more than ten people. The following is the contingency plan we have set in order to honor this safeguard put into place by our government.
- No onsite services. All services will be streamed online on Facebook Live (at regularly scheduled times).
- For those who are healthy and able to gather, we have established “house churches” in homes of our members where you can gather on Sunday mornings together to fellowship, study God’s Word, pray and participate in the livestream worship service. (These gatherings are to be in groups of no more than ten).
- These groups meet at 9:30am on Sunday mornings and conclude after the morning service. (For more info on how to join one of these gatherings, call the church office.)
- For all those who are uncomfortable with such a gathering, you can participate in our livestream services from your own home. (If you cannot livestream, we will deliver sermons cds on request.)
Obviously, if you have any underlying health condition or, because of your age, have concerns for the current virus epidemic, or if you are a caretaker of someone who may be vulnerable to the virus, let me encourage you to join us from home on Facebook Live. Also, if you have recently traveled into an area where you could have been exposed to the virus, we ask you join us from home on Facebook Live.
If no new changes are set in order by this weekend, we will continue with this plan. We will continue to monitor the situation and make necessary adjustments.
Visit with the Pastor
As a Pastor, my heart has certainly gone out to all of you throughout this difficult time. Every one of you have been in my prayers and on my heart. Truth be told, I miss seeing you! So, God put it on my heart to do something that may help us to be able to stay connected during this time. Every Saturday afternoon from 12pm-2pm and every Sunday morning from 8am-10am, let me invite you to stop by the church to visit with me anytime. I would love to visit with you, give you a bulletin and some resources for the week from the church (including sermon notes and song lyrics), and pray with you.
Because we cannot all gather together as normal, God has burdened my heart to ensure that every person who attends our church is being cared for and connected during this time. The way the Lord has led me to accomplish this is by organizing community groups within our church. Let me briefly try to explain how this will work.
- Every person who attends our church will be placed in a community group (of about ten people).
- Every community group will meet every week electronically (either in person, or via phone or video) for fellowship, Bible study, and prayer.
- Every community group will work together to meet each others needs and to strive to meet the needs of those whose lives their group comes into contact with.
- You will be contacted soon by your community group leader(s) with more information.
Church family, as we look at our budget, and particularly our missions budget, we are falling critically short. Please be assured that we have met as a staff and with our deacons on how to mitigate the shortfalls we will face over the next several weeks. We already maintain an extremely lean budget particularly as it relates to ministry expenses. We are preparing to cut salaries across the board, school and church. Unfortunately, (or fortunately…depending on how you look at it) there truly is no other place to cut. We can not cut our missionaries. Our missionaries remain in the field, sacrificially and obediently serving the Lord while faithfully depending upon us for continued support. Stewardship has always been the apex of planning and executing the budget for this church. That said, we also understand many many families have been hit extremely hard. This is a time that builds our faith as we remain faithful and watch how God works. We will provide offering envelopes to those of you who would like to mail in your offerings. We also offer an on-line giving option. You can go to our website: www.lbccortez.org and click on the “giving” tab on our home page. Your faithful giving has much broader impact than what you could possibly imagine.
Our church has started a resource bank to help each other and our community through this time. We are accepting household goods, personal and baby supplies, dried goods, and even perishables for those of you who are struggling in this time. If you or some one you know are wondering how you are going to meet your families needs or if you can contribute to this pantry, please call the church. We are preparing and want to help the hurting.
Let me say in conclusion, God certainly has allowed all of these circumstances for a reason. I believe one of the reasons is to scatter the church all throughout our cities and communities to share the gospel of Jesus. This is exactly what the Lord did in Acts 8. The disciples, who had all been congregated in Jerusalem, experienced a great trial that resulted in their being scattered all throughout that region of the world. When this took place, Acts 8:4 tells us how the church responded, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Not too long after that, the Bible goes on to tell us that, as a result of all this, the churches “were multiplied” (Acts 9:31).
Church, we must not sit idly by as these circumstances are taking place. God is in the midst of these circumstances, and I believe He wants to work in us and through us as His followers to see his church grow in a way that it never has before (in recent history). Now is the time for us to let God use us to further His kingdom. People are open like they have never been before to the truth of the gospel. We must not get stuck on the fact that we cannot gather for the foreseeable future; rather, let’s focus on growing in our personal walk with the Lord and on accomplishing the mission Jesus has given us through this time. May God use us to love the people around us to Jesus!
Sincerely in Christ,
Bruce M. Burkett