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FBC COVID-19 Statement
March 19, 2020, 10:00 AM

 

Dear Church,

After much prayer, discussion, and consultation, FBC Buffalo felt it necessary to make a public statement on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in which we all live and are attempting to navigate. Throughout Scripture, God has instructed his people to live lives free from fear and to trust wholly in his sovereign decree. Let it be known plain and clear that we, First Baptist Church Buffalo, MO are in no way fearful of this virus. God is completely sovereign over these circumstances, and although we lack total control over the spread of COVID-19, we look to our Sovereign Creator, who is in complete control. He is the One who foresaw this virus before the foundation of the world. God knows who will or will not be infected with the virus, just as he knows the eternal outcome of every one of our souls. All that to say, while trusting in Almighty God, we also desire to be wise and cautious as we take seriously the ramifications of an outbreak of such a virus. While trusting God, we also desire to love our neighbors. There have been many lengthy, thought-out discussions as to how we can exhibit love for neighbor while also honoring God.

 

As Pastor, Deacons, and Lay-Leaders, we have been given a great honor and significant duty to protect the flock God has provided us. We recognize that these positions have the responsibility of caring for the church spiritually as well as physically. There is a challenging balance to that charge in times like this. It is obviously important that during this time hospitals remain open and function at a high level in order to care for the sick. Although we, as a church cannot function along those lines, we do view ourselves as a hospital for sick souls, and therefore feel that it is important that we function at a high level. In a time of fear and panic, we desire to maintain as much normalcy as we possibly can. As of the writing of this statement, there have been 24 cases of those testing positive in the entire state of Missouri, with many individuals either fully recovered, or currently recovering, with one death. We praise God for protection over our state. To our knowledge, our church body is in no immediate danger, but for precautionary measures we have elected the following measures:

 

-We will be following the Buffalo school district (R-I) and suspending normal worship gatherings for the next two weeks. We have elected to suspend our Sunday School meetings, suspend our Sunday morning worship service, and mid-week services.

 

-In the place of Sunday School, teachers will be given a packet informing them on ways to continue to minister to those in their classes. We encourage all Sunday School teachers to call members of their classes weekly and email potential material to members of their classes.

 

-Our Sunday morning worship service will be live-streamed on Facebook at 11 a.m. each Sunday. It will be posted to YouTube, embedded in the church website, and individuals without internet services will be sent CD audio copies of the sermon.

 

-Pastor Dave will post handouts to the church website that will allow members to take notes during the sermon, and those handouts will include family discussion guides.

 

-Wednesday night mid-week services will be conducted online, in the form of a Bible study each week at 6 p.m., and it will follow the same posting procedure as the Sunday morning service.

 

-We are contacting members in high-risk categories to see what deacons and other leaders can do to help them stay socially distant during this time and have their needs met.

 

-We are encouraging members to be prayerful in giving online and through mail by mailing their tithes and offerings to: P.O. Box 1908 Buffalo, MO 65622

 

As leaders, we feel that it is our duty before God to make this decision. As of now, we are under no mandate to cease from gathering, but if we were, our stance is that it is not the state’s role to make that decision for us. We are aware that many faithful Pastors and other congregations across the nation have made a similar decision to cease gathering for worship for a time in order to prevent further spread of this virus. Some congregations have continued to meet. That is their decision to make for their congregations. Our position is in no way a condemnation of these Brothers.

 

We continue to actively monitor this situation, but for now we desire to function with the above situation as our new normal. Throughout history, it has always been the faithfulness of Christians carrying cultures through times of widespread disease. We desire to do the same. May God allow us to be a city on a hill to our communities. Our culture is incredibly fearful of COVID-19 and is struggling to hold back from all-out panic. Now is the time for reformation and repentance. Now is the time to lead calmly and peaceably, not fearing the virus, and trusting wholly in God. Now is the time to exhibit love for God and love for neighbor through our daily lives, attitudes, behaviors, and activities. Now is the time for the Gospel to go forth and to build Christ’s Kingdom, one soul at a time. The world is watching and listening. Will you join us?

 

Soli Deo Gloria,

 

David Van Bebber (Pastor)                            Wes Rash (Chairman of Deacons)

John Dull (Deacon)                                        Troy Smith (Deacon)

Casey Rash (Deacon & Youth Director)         Buster Carter (Yoke-fellow)

Cray Allred (Education Ministry Director)       Angie Rash (Missions Director)

Becky Rash (Assistant Youth Director)         Chantel Carter (Worship Leader)



Comments

03-19-2020 at 11:33 AM
Stephen & Cheryl Peterson
Thank you so much for the update. Not being ones to panic, but in trying to use wisdom and discretion; this seems to be the right course of action. We will continue to pray for our church, leaders and our nation.
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