A Letter From Pastor Brian
How long oh Lord? That is the essence of a question that the church has asked from the time of Pentecost. Since that day, the church has sought to know when the return of Christ will take place. In the future the persecuted saints will cry out “how long oh Lord?”, seeking His vengeance on those who persecuted them for the name of Jesus. Today we ask, “when will we be able to meet together again?”
I wish I knew the answer to at least two of those questions. Obviously the Lord told the disciples that “no man knows the day or hour…” of His return. Presently, I really wish I knew the answer to the question of when we will be able to meet again as a church.
Based on the safety and health concerns related to Covid-19 the Governor of Michigan has mandated a stay at home order through the end of April. On April 24th the stay at home order was extended until May 15th. Beyond the 15th of May all we can do is speculate. President Trump has suggested a three tiered process for the individual states to reopen. The first tier is 10 or less people, then 50, and then 250. The President made it very clear that beyond these three tiers we should still expect some level of restrictions through the entire 2020 calendar year.
As of today, we have not even passed through the first tier (10 or less people) in the state of Michigan. When I consider many of these factors, my best guess (and I mean guess), is that it may be early to midsummer before we are able to meet again as a church in the fullest sense. Even then there may be restrictions on our nursery, Sunday School, and other ministries.
Our current thoughts are that once we can begin meeting in groups of 50 or less, we will attempt to establish our small group ministry again. In these meetings our small groups will be able to share the streaming service together, reestablishing some form of cooperate worship. However we’ll have to take these steps as the situation develops.
I want to thank you for your patience, I know it’s hard. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I long to be with you all. Frankly, I don’t know how to pastor a church under these circumstances, it’s hard. When we entered this season I encouraged you that this time apart would be like a season of fasting, and let me tell you I’m getting really hungry to meet together again.
I want to thank you all for your faithfulness. Each week when I hear an update on the financial commitment of our church, I am so humbled. Let’s face it, it would be easier to simply take a pass on that aspect of personal worship under the circumstances. But not my brothers and sisters at Bethany. No, you are faithful and sincere in your act of worship to the Lord. Additionally, as I have the opportunity to talk with some of you on the phone I consistently hear of how you are looking out for each other. Good job, and thank you! Finally, it is amazing to see how many are using our YouTube channel. If the number of views for each Sunday’s service are accurate, then our Sunday attendance has probably increased throughout this season. Each week I learn of folks from our community who do not attend church, who are now regularly participating via YouTube. There are yet more who view the service because their home church is not able to live-stream a service. This is amazing to me.
At this time, all we can do is take one step at a time. As we take these steps, we must trust and seek the Lord. It is so good to know that He is Sovereign, He is in control, and He will work His will through all of these circumstances.
To God be the Glory!