COVID-19 Update – March 18
Dear Temple Family,
Your pastors and church staff have been meeting and praying for the last two days about how we can faithfully respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as a church family. As you most likely know, the CDC has recommended gatherings be limited to under 10 people at this time. Judge Jason Brinkley released an order that no groups over 50 should meet including churches. As Christians we are called to submit to the governing authorities. (Romans 13:1-7) Let us remember to thank God for these leaders and continue to lift them up in prayer. (1 Tim 2:1-3)
We believe that gathering as a church family is incredibly important and beneficial for our spiritual growth. (Heb 10:25) However, it seems that will not be possible for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the city contacted us and informed us that we would not be allowed to have our Easter Egg Hunt on April 11. This is disappointing but understandable. Let us continue to pray that we will be able to meet again soon!
I want to share with you what our 6 point response is as a church at this time. Please let us know if you have any questions, ministry ideas, or prayer requests by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Online Services (Temple at Home)
We are cancelling all activities at the church through April 3. We will reassess as the situation changes. We will continue to stream our services online at 10:45 AM each Sunday morning. You can access the livestream here. We will also be live-streaming once a day (Monday through Friday) at 12:00 PM for a time of scripture, prayer, and communication. The plan is for these to last 15 minutes.
2. Member Care
We want to provide care to our members during this unprecedented time. Therefore, we are seeking to prioritize our most vulnerable population. We have created a list of our members and regular attenders who are 65 and older and those who are considered high risk, but not over the age of 65. We are seeking to call each of them once a week to check on them and find out if they have any needs that we might be able to meet. If you do not receive a call, please let us know and we will add you on this list. We also want to strongly encourage all Sunday School classes and small groups to check up on one another and communicate with the pastoral staff any needs that may arise. If you have a prayer request or need, please fill out this form.
3. Community Outreach
We have been in contact with community leaders, other churches, and organizations such as the hospital, daycares, and VISTO to see if we might be able to help. We are simply calling and asking how they might be able to use us to meet the needs of our community during this time. If you know of an organization who needs help, please email us here.
4. Church Administration
We believe that this is a critical time for us as a church to be good stewards of what God has given us. Therefore, we have put a spending freeze on all non-essential spending as a staff. Secondly, we are readjusting the use of our building that we might reduce our energy bills. We will also be reducing the hours that the office will be open from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Monday through Thursday. We are currently working to setup an option that you can call with a need 24/7 that sends a message to one our our staff wherever they might be. We are also encouraging our employees to use technology and teleworking when possible.
5. Discipleship at Home
One of the unique opportunities that this crisis has presented is a renewed focus on discipleship at home. Over the new few days we will be releasing a variety of resources to help you continue growing in your relationship with God and knowledge of His Word. We are currently putting together resources for kids, students, families, and adults.
We are grateful for the generosity of the members and regular attenders of Temple Baptist Church. Every week when we gather, we take an offering to allow us to worship through our giving of tithes and offerings. However, as we are not able to meet, we cannot do this in the usual way. However, we are asking you as members and regular attenders to continue supporting the work of our church through your tithes and offerings. There are two ways that you can do that.
1. You can give by check or cash.
You can bring it by the church office and place it in the secure mailbox. You can also mail your check to the church at 1811 E California St, Gainesville, TX 76240.
2. You can give online.
Simply click here to give online. We have a completely secure way of giving online. You can make a one-time gift or set up a recurring donation that can come out of your bank account at the interval of your choosing. If you have any questions, please call the church office and speak to Pam Nickerson.
If you have not watched this interview I conducted with two of our church members who work in the medical field, please take some time to do so. This a a very serious situation and I want to encourage you to take it seriously by following the recommendations of the CDC such as social distancing, frequently washing your hands, and avoiding large gatherings. As Christians, we should be seek to understand what is going on in the world around us. However, we should not despair. Let us be reminded that the world is not spinning out of control. God is sovereign. He’s ruling and reigning. We can trust Him. May the words of this beautiful Psalm encourage us.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
For His Glory,
Temple Baptist Church