It appears we have a new opportunity before us as a church. Our governing authorities on the local, state, and national levels all vigorously request that we restrict gathering together on site for a season.
The restriction is not linked to the content of our message. We would utterly oppose any such limitation, for we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). The request is linked to successful management of a public health threat known as the corona virus pandemic. If any precedent setting is involved, it is associated with being good citizens.
So what in practical terms does this all mean? Last night I met with the deacons, and we prayerfully, unanimously came to the following plan.
For the immediate future we intend not to meet in our building for church services. For how long God knows. At this time we hope for restoration to normal ways in April. This chapter in our lives shall pass.
We will live stream the services, and we ask everyone to find a way to watch and participate. You can access the broadcast by going to our church website (www.gracebaptistsf.org) or to our Facebook page.
For the present, the live streamed services will be on Sunday morning at 10:30 am and Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm. Sunday school teachers are at liberty to suspend activities for the present or to send out their materials. I plan to send to all families the Bible text for the Sunday message with a suggested hymn and discussion questions which those gathered may use prior or post the sermon as fits their gathering best.
As far as Sunday morning gatherings go, we encourage small groups (suggested size around ten or fewer) to get together, sing hymns, pray, discuss, and listen to the live stream broadcast at 10:30. Let's be mindful especially of those in our area who otherwise would be by themselves or may not have the equipment or expertise to access the live stream on their own. Let's also be mindful of neighbors and friends who could be invited in and reached with the gospel and Bible teaching.
As for Wednesday nights, by live streaming we will continue our mid-week agenda of prayer and study through the Book of Psalms. Prayer requests can be sent to the church web site.
Our church is a faithfully generous fellowship. How shall people give their tithes and offerings? We suggest two ways. One method would be to give on-line. On the church web site there is a button entitled “Giving.” Click on that, and you can safely send your offering electronically either by PayPal or by credit card. A second method of giving would be to mail your check to Grace Baptist Church, 25852 475th Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57104.
Finally, friends, we all acknowledge that current situations are not what we might prefer nor the course we take without discomfort. But God is in control, and with Him we are more than conquerors. Let's move forward with a spirit of encouragement, trusting that unseen before us lie opportunity, growth, and testimony.