UPDATED MARCH 14, 2020
March 14, 2020
Dear First Baptist Church
I hope you’re well and trusting and rejoicing in our Lord Jesus today, even in the midst of a sobering series of events as our nation responds to the Covid-19 Coronavirus which is now a pandemic. The Elders met Thursday night and actually made a decision to try to hold our services and at the same time offer a livestream option at our website for those who decided not to come. However, events have progressed even since our meeting Thursday night, and therefore the Elders have decided to move our services exclusively to online streaming for two weeks.
Brothers and sisters, Christians should never be motivated by fear, not when we serve the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. But there’s a crucial difference between fear and prudence, and in this case, love for our neighbors compels us to join our nation’s extraordinary efforts to minimize contact between people in order to slow the spread of this virus and “flatten the curve” of the pandemic. We are not cancelling our services because we ourselves, as Christians, are afraid to get sick or even afraid to die. God forbid! “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Rather, we are canceling because we believe it is imperative for us to be a part of our society’s response to this virus that, at best, will be serious for the most vulnerable, and, at worst, could put even more people at risk by creating a severe and sudden spike in demand on our health care system. So don’t be afraid or fearful, brothers and sisters. Read God’s Word, remember God’s promises, help those who are needy, and trust in God. He is sovereign overall, and he loves you dearly.
Now let me give you some more information in a few categories:
LIVESTREAM OF First Baptist SERVICES
For the next two weeks, we will be live streaming the morning service on Sunday at 8:30 am at https://www.facebook.com/firstbaptistpaso. Shortly after the service has ended, you will be able to find it on the home page of our web site: https://fbcpaso.org
Please do not come to the church building for the services unless you are specifically requested to attend. This is important. Even if you are quite convinced that all this is “nothing to worry about” or “overblown” or “fake news,” or even if you feel that conscience compels you to come, please don’t come. We’ll be happy to talk with you over the phone about your concerns, but please do not come.
EVERYTHING IS CANCELLED
Until further notice, all First Baptist Sunday School classes, Bible Studies, Children and Youth events, Home Groups, the Band of Brothers’ Meeting on Wednesday, and other events are canceled. No events of any kind will be happening at the church building, and no events under First Baptist’s name will be happening anywhere else, either.
We need your help on this. I’m advised that most of our church’s giving is done through physical checks and cash that are placed in offering plates each Sunday. If you are one who normally gives by check or cash, please mail your tithe and offering to the church office at 1645 Park Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446. Or you may wish to begin to give through our online giving platform. https://fbcpaso.org/give
One of the most important things we can do is continue to communicate with one another through these next couple of weeks. Official church communication will take place by email. You can keep up with needs and prayer requests from fellow church members.
CARE FOR EACH OTHER
The staff and elders will be discussing systems and mechanisms by which we can be in touch with one another and care for each other as a church. By far, the best way for that to happen, however, is to remain in close contact with the members of your Home Group. Set up text threads if you haven’t already, check in on one another, and meet needs as you are able. We’ve asked Home Group Leaders to let us know if any of those students, especially international students, need assistance, and we’ll move to help those folks as efficiently as we can.
Brothers and sisters, thank you again for your help and understanding in these matters. These are not easy decisions, but we think they are the best way for us to love our neighbors in a critical time. And again, just like we’ve said before, don’t be fearful about this. Be prudent and wise, but not afraid; there’s a profound difference between the two. The fact is, this fallen world has always been a dangerous place. We as Christians know this, we have always known this, the Bible teaches us to expect this, and there is a wonderful fear-smashing confidence in knowing that our God is sovereign over it all. So let’s live our lives, let’s be wise and careful, and at the same time, let’s rest in the hands of our sovereign Lord, who is working all things together for the good of those who love him. Please do reach out if you have questions or for any other reason.
Pastors Mike & Gus and the Elders of First Baptist Church