Yesterday morning the LBC Elders met to pray and discuss how we can best minister to the members of our church and community in the midst of the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic.
God was gracious to allow us to gather together publicly this past Sunday with some slight modifications to our service and we had originally planned to do the same thing this coming Sunday. However, based on the latest guidelines released this week by President Trump and Montgomery County officials; specifically to limit gatherings to 50 and even 10 individuals in order to minimize the spread of the virus, it seems prudent for us to alter our church's ministry strategy for the time being.
While the federal and local government is not mandating that we not gather in large groups, we still have a biblical obligation to honor their requests, especially since they are not being antagonistic toward us or persecuting us or trying to harm or hinder us in any way but are simply trying to protect the citizens of our country as God ordained that they should (cf. Rom. 13:1-7). If I was the president, and based on the information I was receiving from the top health experts and agencies in the world, I asked people to avoid meeting together to curb the spread of the coronavirus, I would want people to follow my lead and support my efforts since I am seeking to heed and apply the counsel I’ve been given by those who know way more about all this than me, and after all, we are striving to do everything we can to help our country stay healthy and safe during a time of national crisis (i.e. hunker down and let the storm pass and reduce the number of casualties).
At the same time, the Bible commands us as Christians to meet together for the purpose of encouraging one another and stimulating one another to love and good deeds lest our hearts become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (cf. Heb. 3:12-13; 10:24-25). Obviously, the coronavirus, and all of its related affects including quarantining, social distancing, etc. present a unique challenge to the body of Christ which God intended to be a closely and continually connected public fellowship (cf. Acts 2:42-47) who at one time actually greeted each other with a holy kiss (cf. Rom. 16:16). That’s a whole lot different than an elbow bump, a foot tap, or a namaste.
Nevertheless, in light of this unprecedented situation that God has sovereignly orchestrated for His glory and our good, we need to get creative and innovative in how we as believers minister to one another and how we as shepherds care for your souls.
That being said, we have decided to temporarily modify our normal church activities in the following way:
- Beginning this Sunday, March 22, rather than gathering at the church for our Worship Service, we want to invite you to gather in your homes with your family, friends and neighbors, and/or members of your Grow Group and participate in our Worship Service via livestream from 10:30am-12:00pm (https://www.lakesidebiblechurch.org/livestream). This Sunday I will be preaching a message on how to overcome anxiety and our music team will be leading us in songs that will remind us that our sovereign, all-knowing, all-powerful Heavenly Father is still on His throne and He always protects and provides for His children.
- All other Sunday morning and mid-week activities are canceled until further notice and all special events scheduled for the next 30 days will be postponed (i.e. Passover Seder, WOE Friday Night Fellowship, Youth Yard Sale, Baptism Service/Fellowship Lunch). We will keep you posted about our Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday services.
- In lieu of not meeting, in the weeks to come our Children’s Ministry will be emailing parents the Sunday morning Generations of Grace curriculum so you can teach your children the Sunday School lessons at home. Our Student Pastor, Kyle, will be providing biblical content for the students and their parents via social media to keep you focused on the Lord and involved with one another. Also our Music Minister, Chris, will be sending out a "Comfort Amid COVID-19" playlist that will help us rejoice and rest in God during these unsettling and unnerving times. And as always, our Associate Pastor, Kris, will be available to provide Christ-centered, biblical counseling for anyone who is struggling with fear and anxiety and needs to be reminded of the hope-filled truths in God’s Word.
- We encourage you to stay connected with your Grow Group which will continue to meet at the discretion of your Grow Group leader. Be sure to communicate any needs you may have to your Grow Group Leader. If you are not in a Grow Group, there is no better time than now to get plugged in to one of these groups so you can care for others and be cared for yourself (https://www.lakesidebiblechurch.org/grow-groups).
- Since we will not be gathering at the church for a while but the ongoing ministry of our church is dependent on the joyful, generous, sacrificial giving of God’s people, you can still worship God by giving online (https://lakesidebible.churchcenter.com/giving) or dropping your offering by the church office during the week or sending it in the mail (18940 Freeport Drive, Montgomery, TX 77356). We understand that many families, businesses, and churches will be impacted by the economic fallout of this global health crisis but we are confident that God will continue to faithfully provide for all our financial needs (cf. Phil. 4:19).
- The church office will remain open during our normal business hours and our Pastoral Staff, Elders, and Deacons are all committed to serve you in any way we can.
We understand this will be a significant adjustment for all of us, but please know that while this was not an easy decision for our leadership team to make, we believe it is the most practical way to fulfill God’s command to fear Him, honor the king, and love our neighbors (cf. 1 Pet. 3:17) and the honorable thing to do, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men (cf. 2 Cor. 8:21).
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of the other LBC leaders.
We are grateful for all of you and consider it a joy and privilege to shepherd this church.
Remember, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear….” (Ps. 46:1-2).
Grace & Truth,
Originally released: March 19, 2020