Dear Trinity Baptist Church Family,
What do you do when you feel like you’re losing your balance? You grab something that doesn’t move. The same is true when our lives change suddenly, as they have the past few days.
When things change, we tighten our grip on what doesn’t.
- What doesn’t change is that God is sovereign, good, and always with us.
- What doesn’t change is that we are still called to love him and others.
- What doesn’t change—for us as a church—is our calling to worship God, edify each other, and show truth and love to our community.
We believe that this crisis is an unusually-wrapped gift in which we can expect to see God work in remarkable ways.
With these convictions in mind, the other pastors and I met this morning to decide how we will continue to fulfill our mission in light of the CDC’s recommendation that organizers “cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”
We realize that your life may be upended in a particularly difficult way. If that is the case, we want to be able to help in whatever way we can. The structure we have in place for these needs is through your deacon care groups. Please communicate any need to your deacon, and he in turn will pass the need on to the pastors if necessary. As always, don’t hesitate to call the church office during office hours or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In compliance with the CDC’s recommendations, and to do our part in slowing the spread of the virus, we are cancelling the following events. We will continue to update you about the status of future events.
- March 19 Senior Saints Bible Study and Luncheon
- March 20 CREW Activity
- March 29 Fifth Sunday Fellowship
- April 4 Sportsmen’s Banquet
- April 10 Good Friday Service
Here’s what our regularly-scheduled events will look like:
- Education Hour
- Children’s Sunday School – We are sensitive to the increased amount of screen time your children are probably getting at this point. We believe that a season without screen time would be healthy for your children, especially before viewing an hour of live-streamed worship service. So, for parents of children up to 6th grade, we will e-mail you a recommended Sunday school template, with links to helpful resources. We also believe that as parents, you should be the primary discipler of your children, and this may also be an important season for you to lead your children in learning, singing, and delighting in the Word of God.
- Adult and Teen Classes – Teachers will video-record their lessons, and share these with you by Sunday morning. We believe that robust interaction is essential to the learning process, so we will provide ways for you to interact with the teachers and content. For now, we have decided not to livestream these lessons at a certain time. Instead, we encourage you to view these lessons on your own.
- 10:30 am Worship Gathering – We will continue to live stream a time of Scripture reading, prayer, preaching, and possibly music. Pastor Jonathan will continue his series in the book of Colossians. Some LifeGroups have gathered in their homes to fellowship together, participate in the worship, and pray as a group following the message. This is a wonderful way to enjoy fellowship and maximize the impact of God’s Word in our lives. However, this is not an expectation we are imposing from the LifeGroup leaders and hosts, since the risks and needs vary from group to group.
- LifeGroups – LifeGroups may continue to meet, as decided by the various leaders and hosts.
Wednesday (6:30 pm)
- Adults – Bible Study and Prayer Time – Pastor Jonathan will continue our study through the book of James via live-stream. He or others will lead in a time of prayer. Prayer requests may be submitted to email@example.com, and requests you submit will be available to TBC members only.
- Teens – CREW (Teen Service) – Pastor Ben will give a livestream interactive Bible study for the teens. He will e-mail parents with further instructions.
- Children – Truth Trackers will not meet.
Finally, here are five points of encouragement.
- Trust the Lord. This will involve the active discipline of bringing the truth of Scripture to bear on your thinking. Don’t give in to panic and anxiety (Proverbs 3:5-7; Philippians 4:6-8).
- Be alert. The enemy is on the prowl. The sudden change of schedule may bring out the worst in us—laziness, despair, distractedness, disputes with others. Your increased need to use technology and be on the internet may also come with temptations—time-wasting, gossip, and pornography. This is the time to raise your guard, not relax it. Read good books. Limit screen time. Learn to focus and be quiet. Pray more. The greatest enemy is not COVID-19. It is the devil and our own “flesh.” Put on the whole armor of God and give sinful desires no room to breathe. See 1 Peter 5:8; Romans 13:14; Ephesians 2:3; 6:11-18.
- Continue to care for and be present with others. The fact that large groups cannot assemble at the same time does not mean we can’t still “press in.” It just means that our “pressing in” will look different right now. Maybe you will learn new ways to press in to others, to deepen in your relationships, and to pursue Christlikeness. Are you feeling deeply the pang of not being able to meet all together? Me too, and that’s a good thing. Let that homesickness also remind us of how much we should long for heaven and the full, unhindered presence of God. See Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:46; Colossians 3:16.
- Leverage unique opportunities. While some are suffering in new and painful ways, still others have new opportunities to serve. Latent talents may be brought out to meet the present crisis. Don’t bury these talents under a load of selfishness, ignorance, or self-pity. Instead, show love and care. Buy groceries for an elderly friend. Call up a family member you haven’t talked to in years. This is not a moment to be wasted. Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5.
- Expect God to do great things. God works in mysterious ways, and this is his strangely-wrapped gift to us. We don’t know what God plans to do with this, but we trust that it will be good—better than we could have imagined. See Jeremiah 33:3; 2 Corinthians 12:9.
With love in Christ,
Dear Trinity Church Family,
Last night Governor Sununu declared a state of emergency in New Hampshire. Although he reported that the risk to New Hampshire remains very low and did not ban large gatherings, the leadership at Trinity Baptist Church has decided to cancel all in-person church gatherings this week. That includes Sunday classes, the LifeGroup that meets at the church, our midweek service, and senior saints luncheon. We will be in communication with you regarding plans for the following Sunday, March 22.
LifeGroups may meet according to the leaders’ and hosts’ discretion, and they will communicate with you about their decision.
Of course, canceling our gatherings is not what any of us want. We love each other. We love to be together. I will greatly miss the sound of our voices blended in praising our Lord. But in light of these present circumstances and the concerns, we have an opportunity to show love for our community by playing our part to slow the spread of this virus. Canceling our services for this temporary time is not just a matter of convenience. It is a response to love, protect, and care for those both in and outside our church family.
Thanks to technology, we can stay connected with each other and with God’s Word. A live stream will begin at 10:20 am on Sunday, and I will be teaching on Mark 4:35-41 via YouTube live stream here.
For those of you who give financially, we have been working for several months to launch online giving, and are expediting those efforts now.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way” (Psalm 46:1-2).
As the people of God, we have a unique opportunity to show our trust in God and love for others during this time. Instead of spreading panic and selfishness, let’s demonstrate confident faith in God and concern for others. Let’s use this time to devote ourselves to more prayer for each other, for the sick, and for our government leaders. Let’s use the time to meditate on God’s Word and make it our aim to help others during their time of crisis.
We pastors love you all and look forward to being with you when we can gather again.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19 PROTECTIVE MEASURES
To the Member and Friends of Trinity Baptist Church,
In light of the spread of COVID-19, the leadership of Trinity Baptist Church is actively monitoring what this means for the many people involved in our ministries.
If there are changes to our gathering times, we will communicate through e-mail, church website, and official church social media accounts.
For now, please be advised of the following:
- If you have symptoms of the virus, please refrain from attending church gatherings.
- If you are unable to attend, we encourage you to access the online stream of our service, which we plan to make available through a link on our church website.
- Parents, please keep in mind our policy stating that children who have had a fever, diarrhea or vomiting in the past twenty-four hours will not be admitted to the nursery.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed in key locations, and you are encouraged to use them.
- While we don’t have an official “meet and greet” time in our service, don’t feel obligated to shake hands—and don’t be offended by those who refrain.
If you have not done so, please review these health recommendations from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization.
Finally, let’s keep this in perspective. God is and always has been sovereign over everything, including diseases. As a church, we seek to exalt Christ, and we can do this by affirming his power and acting prudently. Even as we seek to respond wisely to this disease, let’s not miss an opportunity to show others what a great Savior we serve.
Lead Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church