Dear IARBC Pastors & Churches,
I have been reading through the New Testament and this morning came upon this:
“Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” (2 John 12)
In our 21st century context, we might say “digital, internet based communication” instead of “paper and ink”. And though I am thankful that in the midst of recommended & mandated interaction with people, closures of businesses and cancellations of social gatherings, we will miss and long for meeting “face to face” once again.
These current conditions that require us to limit social interaction and cancel gatherings of 10 or more people have necessitated the cancellation of the typical gatherings of our churches and other special ministry events. This is especially hard to take as the church, the “ecclesia”, is a “called out assembly”. Being made in the image of God, we are wired to be social creatures, and as the redeemed people of God, we are wired to assemble with our local church families.
But God is still in control. He still provides. He still directs our steps. And He still desires for us to minister to one another, albeit in different and creative ways.
In that regard, as we are to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18), I am thankful that we do have the means to communicate with one another through technology, and minister to one another in different and creative ways.
In the spirit of these changes to ministry, here are a few things for you to consider:
1) 2020 IARBC Annual Conference (April 20-21 at Community Baptist Church, Ankeny)
* We will NOT be meeting physically at Community Baptist Church for our 2020 IARBC Annual Conference.
* We ARE planning to have the content/information/business, etc. available in digital format (website & email).
– We still have elections and business to accomplish.
– We still believe that our theme: THRIVE – Building Healthy Churches is timely and needed.
– We still believe in the value of the planned content, which was designed to continue our efforts in church revitalization.
So…it is currently our plan to transition the conference to an online event (e.g. pre-recorded content and live video conferencing). We are working out the details for this arrangement and hope to make them available some time soon. Please pray with us! We are working together and seeking God’s direction so that even though we will miss the in-person fellowship and worship, we can still encourage one another in the work of the ministry, and continue to be be a blessing to the pastors and churches of the IARBC. If you have questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Communication with our church families
Our churches are using various formats to stay connected. There are more, but this is what I have heard:
* Live-streaming (I will forward an email from Brotherhood Mutual that may be helpful).
* Video-conferencing for smaller groups/meetings (zoom.com, GoToMeeting.com, GoogleMeet.com).
* Personal & group video-texting (Marco Polo…Sandy heard about it from her co-workers at Faith).
* Putting offering checks in the mail still works (Sandy & I do that as we are often away from our local church).
* Some of our churches have added on-line giving on their websites. Usually a cost, but very convenient.
4) Need some help or ideas?
* If you could use some direction in any of these areas (communication, offerings, etc) please let me know. I may be able to answer your question, or refer you to a pastor who can.
* You can reach me directly at: email@example.com or (712)-790-0304.
5) What are you doing to communicate or encourage ministry among your church family?
* How are you communicating?
* How are you doing/encouraging ministry?
* I know you are busy, and that not gathering does not mean that you have all sorts of time on your hand 🙂 But…if you have something helpful to share, please drop me a quick email if you could. Thanks!
This health threat is real. The fear (for some) and uncertainty is real. But it is imperative that we trust God, walk with God, and continue the work of the ministry as best we can with the Lord’s help and for His glory. We must be alert for ways to serve one another, and for opportunities to advance the gospel. It is imperative that we stay connected and help one another. There is great value in helping one another in our local churches, and as a fellowship of churches. We are in this together.
I thank God for all of you, and your partnership in the gospel.I continue to pray for all of you.
God bless and have a great weekend.