Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Dear Church Family,
I trust you are doing well considering the present circumstances that we all are living through. I think we can all say that we are living in unprecedented times. The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 will be etched in our history books for years to come.
I, however, don’t think everything is “doom and gloom” during this time in history. For example, I firmly believe that a “shaking” is occurring within God’s Church right now, which is causing us to focus on what matters most when it comes to being the people of God. How so? The Lord is taking the frivolous things from us, and He’s letting us see that a relationship with Him through Christ, dependence on Him, and the spreading of the Gospel is what matters most. Furthermore, I do believe we can all say a hardy “Amen” to the fact that we miss gathering with one another for worship, fellowship, and the study of God’s Word. The craving for community is wired in our spiritual DNA, and we long for community. This “self-distancing” has caused me to see that more clearly.
The big question for our leadership is when do we start gathering on our campus? We know that Governor Bill Lee has begun to reopen businesses in a phased approach as we seek to see our economy reopen. Moreover, we know that in the next couple of days he is supposed to issue some guidelines for churches on how we can begin to safely reconvene.
I want each one of you to know that we, as a pastoral team, along with our Executive team of deacons, are talking through what’s best for FBCG. Here’s what we do know as of the writing of this letter:
1) Our Sunday worship service will continue to be recorded and shown on our church Facebook page, YouTube channel, and posted to our church website. It is not time to gather again on our campus during the month of May. Many of the pastors and leadership within our Bledsoe Baptist Association of churches have come to the same conclusion.
We are working on a “phased” approach to reopening the campus.
2) Phase one of our plan to reopen includes limited staff returning to our offices beginning on Monday, May 4. Please know that in order to protect you, as well as our staff, this returning to the office does not mean that we are open for everyone to come by the office. Yet, someone will be present to answer the phones, and our pastoral team will be working from the church building.
3) All activities that were scheduled for May have either been canceled or postponed for another time.
4) We have a plan to begin reopening the campus for the month of June, and you will receive details on this “phased” plan once we receive the guidelines from Governor Lee’s office. Please know that our plans are subject to be adjusted depending on so many variables, which are out of our control. You’ll receive the details on how we plan to gather for June later in May.
Additionally, I want to thank each of you for your positive attitude and commitment to the Lord and His local church during this time of separation. Moreover, thank you for remaining faithful in your giving back to the Lord’s work in tithes and offerings. If you prefer to drop off your tithe at the church, you can place it in the mailbox at the front entrance to our new Welcome Center. You also can give through our secure church website or send it through the mail.
I am including a survey that we as a church leadership team would love to have you answer for us. Your answers will help us determine the best plan possible for reconvening with our church ministries on our campus. Finally, you will find a letter from our Women’s Ministry regarding the National Day of Prayer, which will be on Thursday, May 7. I trust you will join with our body as we “Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth!”
Grace and peace,
I pray you are remaining safe and healthy during these abnormal days we are facing! Yet, here’s the good news; we are experiencing them together as the Body of Christ, and we are not alone! Christ is with us, and He has overcome our greatest fears for us!
I gave a brief devotional on Facebook Live on Wednesday, April 1, at 4 PM, and I plan to do an update and devotional each Wednesday at the same time. In case you were not able to view that, I wanted to give our FBCG family an update for everyone that has access to the Internet.
For those that might be wondering, why FBCG is not doing a church drive-in, alternative way of gathering, for a Sunday worship service, please know that we as a pastoral team along with our Executive team of deacons talked through the possibility of doing that for Easter Sunday. After hearing from our pastoral team and from our Executive team, the decision was made not to move forward with such an event, which could put our people at risk. I know we would certainly give restrictions for people up front by stating that our people could not get out of their car, and no one could roll his or her window down. Yet, let’s be honest, we haven’t seen one another in weeks now, and it would be really hard to make sure no one rolled a window down or got out of one’s car. What would we do if someone needed to use the restroom? What if it was too warm to sit in one’s car with the windows rolled up and the motor off on Easter Sunday? You get the point. With the rising number of cases of the virus in Gallatin and Sumner County, we decided to not do such an event for Easter.
We, however, will continue to redirect our worship gatherings for the entire month of April to online only services to be posted by 8:30 AM each Sunday. Also, many of our Life Groups, Grow Groups, and other Bible studies are being done in an alternative manner. I’m hearing great reports of people connecting via Zoom, or through Facebook live and some even through Conference calls. Additionally, our Next-Gen ministry has also moved their Life Groups and worship experiences to an online format.
Furthermore, our church office will continue to remain closed for the month of April. When we receive word from our governing authorities that it is safe to start returning to work in groups larger than 10, we will reopen the office. Yet, in the meantime, please know that we are accessible via a phone call or email. Also, our staff, along with our deacons, is working on calling as many of you as possible to see how you are doing. Please let us know if you personally have a need our church family can help meet. Also, if you are not receiving emails from our church, please contact the church office to let us know your email address.
If you have Facebook, you can join in on a Gallatin Chamber sponsored prayer event, this Sunday, April 5, at 5 PM from the Sumner Regional Hospital. I will be joining area pastors for a live prayer event as we join together as a community of believers to pray over our healthcare workers. I’m looking forward to this event, and I hope you can join in as well!
Finally, please stay safe. Practice the guidelines the CDC is recommending. And, let’s continue to pray each day at 12 Noon and ask for the Lord’s provision and mercy on us during this time.
Grace and peace,
Good Afternoon, FBCG Family!
As you are well aware, the situation with combating the spread of COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly. Many of you may already be aware that we now have the first confirmed case of the virus right here in Sumner County. We’ve received word that a dentist from Long Hollow Baptist Church, Dr. Terry Chamberlain, is in intensive care in a Nashville Hospital right now. Would you join me in praying for Dr. Chamberlain’s healing? Additionally, we have several within our own church family that are in the medical and first-responder fields, and we need to pray for their protection during this season of sickness.
After meeting with deacon and pastoral leadership this afternoon, it is our recommendation that we continue to “redirect” our ministries throughout the remainder of the month of March. “Redirect” means that we will look for creative ways to continue to function as the body of Christ during this season of unknowns. We can say at this point that we will not meet in person for corporate worship on our campus for the next two Sundays, nor will we meet for Wednesday night activities.
We also plan to “redirect” our corporate worship experience to be a little more like the New Testament Church as we encourage you to join with your family in your home for a time of prayer on Sundays. Furthermore, we will have a recorded message posted on our church Facebook page and church web site for everyone to view at 11 AM for the next two Sunday mornings.
Additionally, we are encouraging all of our Life Groups, Grow Groups, Women’s Ministry Groups, Gen-Mom, and other small groups to work out how you all may stay connected with one another over the next couple of weeks. Adam Bush is creating a section on our church web site to help train you on how to use technology to enable you to stay connected with your various groups. Click here for that information. Even still, Pastors Nick, Jeremiah and our Children’s Minister, Savanna, will be sending out additional information to help you stay connected.
As I have been studying in my office today for a message for this Sunday, the Lord has led me to the story of what was happening in the Apostle Paul’s life during the season he dealt with his “thorn in the flesh”, which he asked to be removed on numerous occasions. It was a troubling time for him, and what the Lord taught him was that the Lord’s grace was sufficient for Paul even in the midst of his own weakness. Reflect on Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10,
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships,
persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Even in the midst of the weakness that Paul was experiencing, he began to realize that he was actually stronger because of the power of Christ living in him. May we continue to lean in on our Lord Jesus and the strength He gives us during this time. We are not alone!
Finally, I’m asking all of us to join together in a season of prayer asking the Lord God to be merciful to those that are sick, protection for those that are still well, and let’s ask Him to bring revival to our nation and to the world. Let’s seek the Lord at 12 Noon each day going forward! Set your alarms as a reminder.
I truly believe that we could see the greatest revival in our lifetime as people begin to be desperate for hope in a season of chaos. And, we know our King is in the business of turning beauty from ashes and offering peace in the midst of despair! Let’s share the Good News-Jesus saves!
I’m thankful for you, and I love you in Jesus’ name!
Grace and peace,
Dear FBCG Church Family,
I trust your Monday is going well thus far considering all that is going on in our nation and around the world right now. I wanted to give you a quick update on how we are continuing to handle things on our end here at FBCG.
First of all, I know that our online service experienced some problems yesterday with the amount of traffic that happened at the 10 AM hour. Adam Bush is working with our web site host to make sure we avoid any issues for future use. If you weren’t able to view the service yesterday, it has been posted now on our church website and on our church Facebook page. You can view it at any time you choose. I want to thank Pastors Nick and John, as well as all of our musicians, singers, and others that were present to make sure our worship service was videoed for the edification of the body. They did a great job, and we are thankful for them!
Secondly, if you were not able to give your tithes and offerings online, you may still do that through our church website. Additionally, know that our church offices are still open for regular office hours, and you may bring you gift by during the week or even mail it in if that works best for you. Thank you for your continued faithfulness in giving back to the Lord’s work!
Thirdly, if you have a need that we can assist you with, know that we as a pastoral team and deacon body are ready to help you during this “season of unknowns.” Finally, I will be meeting with our pastoral team and our executive deacon team on Wednesday, as we prayerfully consider our plan for meeting on Sundays for corporate worship and Life Groups. Currently, we are looking at things from a week-to-week basis. Let’s continue to be in prayer for our President and his team of advisors as well as all of our healthcare workers as they are trying to serve people that are sick with this virus.
I end by referring to a quote that I read earlier today posted by one of my seminary professors. He quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s comments on what it was like for him to miss worshipping with other believers due to his detainment by the Nazis regime. Indeed, I believe his comments are applicable for our current state as a body of believers.
Reflect on Bonhoeffer’s words: “It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian believers is a gift of grace, a gift of the kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian believers.”
I look forward to meeting with you soon, Lord willing!
Grace and peace,
Dear First Baptist Gallatin Family and Friends:
On Thursday, we posted an update regarding the COVID-19. At the time, we were still planning on meeting tomorrow, Sunday, March 15, for our regular scheduled worship and Life Groups. As you know, things have been changing rapidly. On Friday, President Trump issued a National Emergency for our nation concerning the COVID-19. Moreover, Friday afternoon at 5:45 PM, Governor Bill Lee issued a statement encouraging Tennesseans that plan to meet in gatherings of 250 people or more on Sunday to consider alternatives to gathering in person by using their live stream as way to continue to gather.
After prayer and consulting with the leadership of our church body, and due to the fact that we want to be a good witness to our community in light of the need to limit gathering in large group settings, we are going to change our regular schedule for tomorrow morning, Sunday, March 15.
We will have one live streamed service, which we will air at 10 AM. You can tune in from our website, https://www.fbcgallatin.org, by scrolling to the very bottom of our page and click on the red block, which says, “streaming live.” You’ll also be able to see our church bulletin from our website’s live feed.
You can also follow the service live from our church Facebook page. If you are not able to tune in live at 10 AM, you can watch it later whenever it’s convenient for your schedule as all Sunday services are archived on our Facebook page and on our church website.
There will be worship through live singing and through live preaching, and there will be a time dedicated to praying for the Lord to be gracious in bringing healing to those that are sick, protection for the vulnerable, and protection for the medical personnel that are on the front-lines of dealing with this disease.
Additionally, you can go to our church website and give financially by clicking on the tab for “giving”, and if you haven’t registered with your email and created a password, you will be prompted to do so. If giving online is not your preference, you will be able to stop by the church office this coming week as our office hours will remain the same as normal.
We are not stopping our public gathering out of fear, for we know that the Lord God has not given us a spirit of fear. We, however, are stopping our meeting in person tomorrow out of love for our church family that might be more vulnerable to the spread of this sickness and out of love and respect for our Sumner County neighbors as we as a church try to be a good witness in how we honor the wishes of those in authority in our great state.
Governor Lee did not put a timetable on his advice for not meeting. Therefore, we as a church will make a decision on a week-by-week basis. Wednesday night activities for March 18, were already canceled due to Sumner County Spring Break. You’ll hear an update later in the week on our plans for Sunday, March 22.
Thank you for your understanding during this “strange season”, and know that we as a pastoral team are praying for you. Moreover, please know that we are available to help minister any way we can.
Grace and peace,
Dear Church Family,
Middle Tennessee has experienced difficult days in the past two weeks, but even during tough times, we’re reminded that God loves us, is sovereign, and is faithful.
At this point, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic, and it has made its way across the United States and around the world. More information about COVID-19 can be found at the website for the Center for Disease Control (CDC), located here. We strongly encourage you to read and familiarize yourself with this important information.
As we monitor the situation daily, here are current steps our church is taking to address the coronavirus situation:
· Our facilities team is doing extra cleaning and disinfecting throughout our church campus;
· All of our bathrooms are stocked with antibacterial soap;
· We have hand sanitizing stations on every floor of our church;
· We are encouraging folks to not shake hands during this season; and
· We will be receiving our Sunday offering differently beginning this Sunday.
Additionally, we encourage you to personally follow the CDC’s recommendations. The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
· Stay home when you are sick.
· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
If you are sick, do not feel well, or have been in contact with someone who is sick, please stay home and contact your medical provider. Our Sunday services are available for live streaming on Facebook and at www.fbcgallatin.org. Additionally, we encourage you to continue your giving via our online platform and our text option giving.
Please know that, at this time, we intend to continue with our regular schedule of services and activities; however, we will continue to heed and consider the advice and wisdom of authorities. FBCG loves Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee, and the world, and we want to be a beacon of light and hope during this time! God is good, and we trust Him!
Grace and peace,
FBCG Pastoral Team