Grace and Peace be with you, Church. I wanted to write an update to you about how you (the church) are continuing to minister in this difficult time, as well as encourage you to “let your light shine” (Matthew 5:15-16) to those around you.
The most prominent part of the week for most churches is Sunday morning. I’m prepping like normal, and we will be living streaming the service, but our doors will open as long as we can continue to do so from the church. The doors will be open from 10:00 - 12:30. Sunday School is canceled, we won’t be serving food, there will be no handshake time, there will be no children’s ministry, but some of us will be here to stream and will be going through what is essentially a normal service and won’t turn you away if you want to join us in person. We do ask that you exercise Godly wisdom in making that decision! We also do not know what actions the state or federal government will continue to take to attempt to minimize the spread of this disease (COVID-19).
This week, we will begin live streaming our services. We have added several new sections to our website (http://www.thefountaincc.org); the most prominent, at the top, is where you can click to watch live video. The video itself will likely be on either Facebook or YouTube. This week, we will be using an ipad. Next week, we will have a better camera that will continue to be useful after things return to normal, and we will always continue to stream services in the future. It will have better quality video and will tap into our sound system for the best quality audio possible with our current system.
On the website, there is now a link to our YouTube channel. It’s long been my goal to have an active YouTube ministry to help us reach beyond our walls and our town, as well as to better connect with a more digital generation, but now we have to do so. Please go and subscribe, and check out the content that is already there. More comment will be coming quickly to the platform.
Small group leaders were given independence in how to respond to the pandemic. Almost all have decided to cancel, for now. Sunday School, youth group, Awana, Wednesday men’s studies, Monday women’s study, and Thursday’s Berean Watchers study group are all currently on hiatus. You will, however, see more short devotionals from me on Facebook, as well as additional resources posted there and in our Facebook group. I realize that not all of you are on Facebook, but this would be a great time to join. It may even be a bonding moment with a younger family member to help you through it. It’s a great way to stay connected with everyone, without seeing them in person — something that may be necessary in the coming months.
Carrie and I have ramped up phone calls to check on you, and we are available to bring things to you if you need it. I’d wager that we are currently both working more than we were before this outbreak. Kevin is connecting with teens and focusing on personal growth. I have given him some assignments to work through that I have called “YouTube seminary.” It’s a playlist that you can access on our YouTube channel. Chuck, as always, is also reaching out to others and organizing our music for the live services. Please let us know your current contact information if you haven’t received a call from one of us, as a few numbers we have tried to call are not working, or we are getting no response. My cell phone is 937-825-2878. If you need me, please call me. James 5:14-16 reminds us that if you are sick, or have an issue, don’t wait on us to find out; please let an elder know. We are human, too, and are unfortunately unable to read your mind, but we are there for you! If we don’t answer, or it takes a bit to call you back, we are likely on the phone with someone else or meeting a need in our own family. Just give us some Grace, but we will get back to you.
We are making plans for an alternative Easter event, which will include a drive-thru for tacos. We will continue to track current developments and place updates on Facebook, and, when possible, through e-mails and phone calls, as well. Try to communicate with one another, to make sure the word gets out.
This has been a time for important updates for our website, internal files, and paperwork as well. Some things that we didn’t have time to do prior to this are getting done between phone calls.
We still support our missionaries, one of which just had a baby, but I can’t provide more details, for security reasons. As you know, when you factor in designated giving, our church gives well over 10% to outside missionaries and organizations — locally, nationally, and globally. Sheila has worked to prepare food baskets from our pantry, in connection with Love INC, and is working on keeping our bills paid, while Judy and Caroline are still connecting with our missionaries.
I am thankful that several of you have already reached out to me regarding offerings. We still need your support, both to continue now, as well as to be prepared to relaunch in-person services when this is over — and it will be over. Trust God for that! If you visit our website, http://www.thefountaincc.org, you can click the small blue circle with a white symbol in the lower left corner. Clicking it will give you access to online giving through the program we use, “Rebel Give.” From there, you can set up recurring gifts or give one-time gifts, and if you do it from your bank account (as opposed to a credit card), there is no fee. You can still mail in your offering to:
The Fountain Christian Church
1023 N. Chinowth
Visalia CA, 93291
You are also welcome to drop it in the mail slot in the front door to our office, if one of us is not here working.
We encourage you, as individuals, to make good use of your time. While physical contact is limited, social distance does not mean social disengagement. We are still called to be salt and light.
Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
The simplest way to be salt and light right now is to use be patient with one another. (Ephesians 4:2) Worship God with your mind (Luke 10:27) by reading and learning, check on one another with phone calls and PRAY! (Philippians 4:6)
May God Bless you