Certainty in an Uncertain World
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Contemporary Worship: Sundays, 9:15 AM, Online Only
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A Letter from Pastor Rob
Hello Triad Baptist Church Family,
I’m not a health specialist, but I want to talk to you about Coronavirus as your pastor. I want to discuss how to manage stress levels with this crisis. This Sunday, I’m beginning a new short series entitled, “Certainty in Uncertain Times.” We will cover such topics like moments of fear, moments of impulse, and moments of regret.
You may not have contracted the virus but you may have ingested the stress. Bombarded with disturbing information, it is perplexing, and confusion can be quite stressful. I laugh because now we greet each other in new ways. New terms I’ve never heard before, like, “social distancing”, are now a common part of our vernacular.
We already see so much distance – now we have 6 ft physical distance with groups of less than 10 people. In a world of loneliness, we are facing quarantines and isolation. Elderly people are at risk – the most vulnerable part of our community who gave their lives to raise us and care for us. Now we are more careful regarding crowds and being in public places. It’s tough to deal with every day.
I want to encourage you to hold onto your faith and hold on to God. And to help you understand – believing in God doesn’t mean you negate commonsense. Some try to use their faith as a shield against the virus. I don’t think we ought to ask God to do things we can do for ourselves. Common sense practices are important at this time. My phone has been bombarded with clergy and friends who are in states of emergency and in legal counsel with issues that have already arisen like mandated gathering numbers. The church has not been prepared for that. We are not the NBA, NFL, or IBM. We are not designed with billions and billions of dollars from stockholders to sustain us for this kind of turbulence.
Some churches are struggling already with mortgages and new buildings. Things that don’t wait for a virus to pass. Yet, we weigh all of those needs against the needs to protect the sheep. Above all else, Pastors are called to protect the flock of God. You can never go wrong doing right. How you proceed is very important. The voice of the church does not need to be snuffed out right now. I think we are a calming factor; we are put in a place for strength and ministry. I think that we feed the flock of God and we find a way to do it without jeopardizing the livelihood of our employees, volunteer staff, and still protect the congregation.
We will provide online services and it will not be a repeat of a warmed-over, refried, service we already had. It’s going to be fresh and innovative; what’s going on now, and how we as believers can take a positive stand in the face of uncertainty. In order that you can continue to get the Word. The Word for us is like medicine, it’s our food, daily bread, our sustenance. It is not some kind of optional entertainment you can go to or not go to. The words Jesus speaks are spirit and they are life. The Word of God has have not been minimized by the Coronavirus. If anything, they have been intensified by the virus.
People are worried about their elderly parents. There are people going to work who are nervous because they are physicians and caretakers and health workers. We want you to know we are praying for you and standing beside you. As long as we can, we will find ways to provide ministry to you in whatever format we can. We don’t want to be irresponsible. That is the difficulty as church leaders. I’m reminded of what Elizabeth Warren said – they asked her if her losing the bid for presidential candidacy had anything to do with being a woman. She answered, “Anyway I answer that, I’ll be in trouble. If I say no – millions of women will wonder what planet are you on? If I say yes, other groups will say, she’s whining.” It is the same thing as being a church leader. If you don’t close down your church in a crisis like this, then you are criticized and castigated. On the other hand, if you close down you get criticized as well, and people say, ‘where is your faith? You are caving into the pressure of the world.” Either way, you go, you get opposition! Let me be clear, I’m not whining – criticism comes with the territory and I’m strong enough to deal with it. And you have to be strong enough too – even right down to mom’s deciding what to do with their children.
Because, in all of these decisions we make, it creates controversy. Let me say to you, just because you are criticized, don’t doubt your decisions. Be responsible, reflect on your values and consider your choices carefully. As a Pastor, you have to consider liability suits of negligence. If you are warned and don’t put proper things in place to take care of it, you got a problem on your hands. Some people say – keep the church open – and yet when they come to the service and then get sick, their lawyers are talking to you that week! You’ve got to deal with all of the factors as a pastor. Our team has to rethink gates of entry into your lives and where this virus might take us. Even our customs, our traditions, and even our travel. Our normalcy is disrupted. But we have a God who specializes in settling unsettling situations.
I close with this final Word from God. Isaiah 40:31. | But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
That’s the Word of the LORD for the body of Christ. So be prepared – as you see political figures and larges cities quarantining themselves – be prepared. Put on the armor of the Word of God. Do the best you can with the resources you have. Let each of us add relevance and service to this city. I called Dawn, our mayor, about what we can do to service our city, assist the elderly, and bring food to the needy.
This is the time for the church to rise and show the world we are still the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
God bless you. Have a wonderful, blessed, peaceful day.