In keeping with the federal recommendations and state directives that all community gatherings be limited to no more than 10 people to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Family Bible Church will be holding services only in an online streaming format on Facebook Live here until such restrictions are lifted. John Grimm has posted instructions on how to access the Facebook Live stream here. To honor what has been asked of us, only those who are directly responsible for facilitating and streaming the worship service will be present in our building on Sunday mornings. Should further restrictions be enacted, we will make adjustments accordingly.
Obviously this will be a difficult change for all of us, on top of all the other changes that already have become part of our new “normal.” The word that is most commonly used in the New Testament for the church is ekklesia, which means “assembly.” Assembling together as God’s people who have been united with Jesus Christ and one another by faith lies at the very heart of the local church’s worship. The apostle Paul was sometimes prevented from gathering with believers who were dear to him. Yet he acknowledged the reality that “though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ” (Colossians 2:5). For the next several weeks, as a church we will need to learn more about how to be with one another “in spirit” while we are absent “in body.” By virtue of our communion with Christ and God’s Holy Spirit always residing in our hearts, we are never truly alone. He is with us and we are present with one another in Him.
Last Sunday, when we first “road tested” streaming our service, Ryan Johann wrote a comment on the stream as our service was getting started, “Johann family in the virtual house!” I was greatly encouraged by that simple message. It occured to me that this is of the ways that we can affirm our presence “in spirit” to one another as we gather in our homes to worship together on Sunday morning. Please use such means as well as text messages and calls to “greet one another” in the Lord as our service begins. John Grimm will have our stream active beginning at 10:15 to allow time for you to greet one another online.
A streaming format will require other modifications to our common practice in worship. It may feel awkward to sing in your living room with your family along with our worship leaders—it will be a little awkward for them to sing and for me to preach to an invisible congregation as well! But let me encourage you to sing and pray along with us anyway. We shall be like the ancient people of Israel: “And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door” (Exodus 33:10).
Please continue to share your prayer requests with us. Our elders will continue meeting and praying for you every week. Please send your prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. By all means continue to reach out to one another and pray for one another. Pray for those who are sick and those who are caring for them. Pray for those who are struggling economically, or soon will be. Pray for those who are making hard decisions every day for the protection of our people and the good of mankind.
Let us do what we can to care for our neighbors who are particularly vulnerable to this virus, offering practical help in providing daily necessities. If you need help, please reach out to us at email@example.com or 812.453.8998.
We are exploring online giving options but we do not have something set up to allow for that yet. Giving checks can be mailed to:
Family Bible Church
P.O. Box 3891
Evansville, IN 47737-3891
or to our physical address:
Family Bible Church
15515 Husky Way
Evansville, IN 47725
I am already missing you. I pray that our absence “in body” from one another will make our fellowship “in spirit” precious to us, and our eventual reunion all the sweeter.
Steady as she goes,