From the Pastor's Pen

April 2020

 

From the Pastor’s Pen . . .

 

Probably, most everyone reading this today is as weary of all the talk about the pandemic as I, so we’ll not get into much of that. Rather, I simply want to take this opportunity to apprise the friends and family of Glenwood of some of the adjustments being made to maintain continuity in the ministry and fellowship of the church. Some of these adjustments will be temporary, but I’m also confident that some fresh, new methods of ministry and outreach will be developed—some of which no doubt will continue long after the present crisis is over.

First, allow me to note some of the adjustments we’ve had to make to GBCs regular schedule:

  • On-site Sunday School and worship service is suspended until the “all-clear” is given by state or federal authorities. On-line worship services will be provided live by the worship team at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday morning. This is a totally different—and much more complicated—process than necessary to post recordings. We may need a few weeks to work out all the kinks, but rest assured that we are working diligently to get it right. A recording of the live service will remain available on-line after the service has ended.
  • All Wednesday activities are suspended, pending the reopening of local schools or the “all-clear” from state or federal authorities—whichever comes first.
  • The church office remains open on its usual schedule, Tuesday through Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
  • The Church Council, Administrative Teams, and Deacons will not meet in person until the church resumes normal activities. Any special matters needing the attention of the either group will be addressed via email—or by some other mysterious (to me) application of technology.
  • As of this writing, events scheduled for the spring remain on the calendar as planned. Easter in the Park, the Grace Upon Grace Women’s Conference, and the National Day of Prayer gathering will continue as planned unless the prevailing circumstances require them to be suspended or rescheduled.

If you have questions about any of the schedule changes, simply call the church office (865-483–7436) during regular office hours. However, if you have a need that is time-sensitive, feel free to call me directly. I can be reached most any time on my mobile phone at 865-385–0912. If I can’t take your call immediately, I promise to get back with you just as soon as possible.

Now, with those basic “housekeeping” items out of the way, let’s think for a moment about ways each of us can stay encouraged and strong in the faith as while supporting our church, our neighbors, and our friends. Though our schedule has changed, the ministry of the church is not on hold! Crises often bring new opportunities to share the love of Christ and create a fresh openness to the Gospel. Read through the suggestions that follow. Some of the suggestions can involve each and every one of us; others might be workable for just a few. In both cases, though, we can all have a part in advancing the Kingdom of God and keeping the ministry and fellowship of Glenwood Baptist Church vibrant, faithful, and strong!

Worship together online.

Beginning Sunday, March 29, (barring any more technical difficulties) everyone with access to a computer, tablet, or smart phone will be able to join in on GBCs virtual worship services live online Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m. You will find great, uplifting music and a message of encouragement. To join the service just find us on Facebook or click on “ENCOURAGE” from our website (gbcor.org) and follow the instructions. You do not need to join Facebook to join the service.  Just click “not now” when you are redirected to our public Facebook page.

Although virtual worship services can never replace worshipping together in person (Hebrews 10:25), we can do the next best thing by joining our hearts as one in the Spirit and sharing in one worship experience together. Consider . . .

  • Joining the service together as a family, and then share with one another what the Holy Spirit said to your heart as you worshipped together.
  • Inviting family and friends across the country to join the service with you. Perhaps you can even begin an encouraging dialogue by sharing something you found particularly encouraging in the music or message.
  • Sharing, liking, or linking to the service. The power of social media to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ is truly amazing! Let’s use it as effectively as possible

Check on one-another.

It is more important than ever that “the church be the church” during trying times and care for one another—especially regarding those who are at higher risk due to age or health factors.

  • Check on your neighbors. One of the good things this crisis provides is a good reason to reach out to neighbors and share the love of Christ.
  • Sunday School teachers, check on your class members. Ministry directors, check on those you lead. Deacons, check on your families. Friends check on friends. And perhaps most importantly, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. If He brings someone to mind, by all means, check on him or her. You may be amazed at how the Lord will use you!

If you discover a need that you are unable to meet yourself, especially the need of a member of the GBC family, simply notify the church office (Tues.-Thurs., 10:00-2:00) or contact a deacon or member of the church staff. We’ll make every effort to address the need as quickly and effectively as possible.

Stay connected and informed.

We are in a rapidly evolving situation. As such, it has been necessary to re-evaluate our response almost daily. Remember to check back often for the latest information. Announcements about any scheduling changes will be made via our automated telephone/text/system (If you don’t currently receive these messages and would like to, please notify the church office to ensure that your correct number/email address is on the call list). We will also rely on the automated system more heavily than usual to communicate prayer requests and other news regarding our church family. If you have a special prayer need contact the office. We will do our best to share that as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Maintain your faithful giving to the church.

The expenses of maintaining the church and its ministries continue during the crisis, and in some areas, increase. To give from the comfort of your home, use the online giving portal on our website, gbcor.org. It’s easy, secure, confidential, and proven (some members of the GBC family use the online portal regularly to contribute to the ongoing ministry of the church). Or, if you’d rather, simply mail your contribution or bring it by the church office during regular office hours (Tues.-Thurs., 10:00–2:00).

Pray for the speedy resolution of the crisis.

There is certainly no shortage of prayer concerns these days, locally, nationally, and globally. Pray that God will use the present crisis to turn many hearts to Jesus, and bring good from it that surpasses all that we could possibly hope or think!

In closing, let me simply say that I love you, remain available to you, and pray that our Lord will pour out His blessings upon you. “This too will pass”. . . . but until then, remember that God knows, God cares, God can, and is still on His throne . . . and “the flowers still bloom.”

Pastor Mark