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April 30, 2020

Faith Family, 

     I wanted to share with you my heart as to our next steps as a church in regards to the COVID-19 situation. On May 1, our state begins Phase 1 of the COVID Recovery Process. We praise the Lord for this, especially in regards to our nation’s economy. 

     First of all, I understand that in a church our size, there are strong opinions from one spectrum to the other in regards to this virus and the road back to “normality”. I have strong feelings and some of those strong feelings I am setting aside myself because I would rather be more careful than careless. 

     As pastors, we have never led a church through an international situation like this. Our elected officials have never served through a time like this. Our medical professionals have never served under a situation like this and so I encourage you to pray faithfully for us and be patient with us as we try to make the best decisions during this time. Because this virus is new, there are many unknowns and so there are changes each week. There is much speculation, even from the experts.

I am therefore leaning heavy upon the counsel of those in the medical field because this is a medical situation as well as the Christian Law Association and others in regards to the legal aspects.

     With that being said, if we err, we want to err on the side of safety for the health of our entire congregation. That decision is not due to fear or lack of faith. I can assure you that it is care and love for you and not fear that is guiding our decisions. As far as I can tell, our church family has been able to remain strong, unified, and on mission through this situation. And, it is my prayer that we continue to be a light and testimony in the way that we handle this transition. Every church will handle this transition differently depending upon their size of congregation and other aspects. We want to pray for and support them as they move forward as well during this time. 

     I also want to communicate that I am encouraged that although we are still not able to meet like I would personally like for us to be able to, we are headed in the right direction and over the next month, we should see positive changes in the way that we are able to assemble. One thing God is teaching us is that He doesn’t work in a box. He doesn’t work just within our comfort zones. He is showing us the importance of branching out, trying new things, and not being more committed to our traditions than we are His mission.  

     With that being said, weather permitting, we are planning to have a parking lot service on May 3 and May 10 at 11 AM. During these services, we would encourage healthy families to sit in chairs in the parking lot following the social distancing guidelines (6 feet apart in ever direction). Only families should sit together. If you plan to sit in the parking lot, we ask that you park either in the front parking area or the overflow parking lot to provide more space for the service. If you would like to remain in your car during the service, you are welcome to do that as well and we would encourage you to park in the back parking lot where the service is and park towards the back towards the playground so that those in chairs can see the stage clearly. These services will be on Facebook and YouTube as well for those who are still concerned about getting out.

     If you are 65 years old or older, we strongly recommend that you stay in your car during the service or watch online. These services will be subject to change due to weather or a change in the COVID situation. 

     On the Sunday evenings of March 3 and 10, we will premiere a video at 6 PM on all of our online platforms that will include some of our previously recorded choir music as well as a Bible Message that we feel will be helpful during this season. We will also continue to air our Wednesday Evening Bible Study and Prayer time at 6:30 on all of our online platforms. 

     Thank you again for your patience and commitment to unity during this season! I love you! 

~ Pastor Josh

April 6, 2020

     Faith Family, In response to Governor Lee's stay at home order, we are encouraging everyone to stay at home as much as possible this week. I will deliver several videos this week on the church's Facebook page preparing us all for Easter Sunday. 

     There will be an online Bible study on Wednesday evening at 6:30 on Facebook, YouTube, and the website. We are in a timely series called "Standing on the Promises" You should be able to download a printable handout from the website by Wednesday morning. 

     On Easter Sunday, we will have one online service at 11 AM. You will not want to miss this special service. Be inviting others to join you by way of YouTube, Facebook, or the Website. Make plans to rise on Easter morning with anticipation. I would encourage you to have a breakfast with your family, get dressed, gather your Bible's and notebooks and make this an Easter that your family will always remember. 

     As a pastor, the hardest thing to do is to make the decision not to have services, but God has instructed us that there is safety in the multitude of counselors. The medical field is not my expertise and so I have sought counsel from medical professionals and local officials that I feel are Spirit filled and walk with the Lord. I also believe that the heart of our governor is in the right place. I believe he is for the Christian community and is pro-church. I believe that it is his desire to lift this stay at home order as quickly and safely as possible. I know that there are a multitude of ideas and opinions, so I ask all of us to be patient, use this time to spent quality time with the Lord and your family. Line your heart up with the heart of God and see what opportunities He might open up for you to share hope and the love of Jesus. I love you and miss you. 

~ Pastor Josh

March 30. 2020

     For now, we will continue live online services on Sunday morning at 11 AM and a drive-in service on Sunday evening at 5 PM (weather permitting) until further notice.The drive-in service will be on Facebook Live only.  We will also broadcast an online Bible study on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM on all online platforms (website, Facebook, and YouTube). 

     We encourage you to stay at home and only go out as you have to for essential needs. If you need something delivered to your home, please let us know and our staff will be glad to run and get it for you. We will continue to mail out weekly packets to each home with needed information and updates. We love you and look forward to this being behind us. Until then, I encourage you to redeem this opportunity to share Jesus! 

March 18, 2020

Faith Family and Fentress County Community,
     We have tried to be patient and gather as much information and counsel as possible before we gave an update on our response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic. I have talked in the past few days to many of my pastor friends as well as several medical professionals. I have counseled with our staff and other leaders in our community. The truth is that these are difficult days for leaders when it comes to making decisions. We all have to do what we feel is best for those that we lead. I have been praying much for each local pastor and government and business leader. 

     Every day there are changes to this situation. And you can be sure of this, no one wants to have regular services and meetings with our church family any more than I do. But I have said it many times and I remind you again today that we do not just go to church; we are the church. We have been going through the book of Acts on Sunday evenings and we have seen how the early church responded to adversity. What man thought would slow down the church actually multiplied the church. They turned adversity into advancement! And so, this is a time of great gospel opportunity for the church. And, we want to be looking for those opportunities. 

     As many of you saw, just a few days ago, President Trump requested that we not gather in large groups to prevent the spread of this virus. Local officials also met today after a conference call with Governor Lee. I think you know this, but this is not an attack on our religious liberty. Restaurants, malls, sporting events, concerts, and many more venues have temporarily shut down. March is one of the most exciting months in sports with the NCAA tournament, the Masters, Nascar races, and all of it has been put on hold. 

     But, please know…These decisions are not a reaction of fear. We are not living in fear. ”God has not given us the Spirit of fear. We live under the influence of love, power, and a sound mind.” Everyday we should be prepared and live as if it is our last day. So, the changes we are making come from the counsel we have received and a desire to show our respect for our leaders nationally and locally, and we want to be a part of the unified effort to stop this pandemic in our country.

     Now, every community is also different. We are definitely “off the beating path” here in Jamestown. We praise the Lord that there are no confirmed cases in our county or in our neighboring counties. However, Governor Lee said that our rural communities will be affected in the coming weeks. So, for us, this is the decision that we have come to for now. Please understand, this may change as situations change... 

     Beginning this Sunday, March 22 and up until April 2, we will have 1 gathering a week in the sanctuary… that meeting will be on Sunday morning at 11 AM. We will not have Sunday School and our Sunday evening and Wednesday evening will be live stream and Facebook Live only. There will be no nurseries on Sunday morning and we ask anyone that comes to only use the sanctuary and the restrooms. 
     With that being said, we really encourage all of those that are able to watch our services on livestream through our church website (under the media tab) or to watch on our Facebook page rather than come to the building. If you feel strongly about coming to the building on Sunday mornings, we are leaving that up to you. Remember also that you can listen to our daily radio broadcast on WCLC (105.1) every weekday at 10:30 AM and you can also listen to our extended broadcast on Sunday evening at 5 PM. 
     We will also need to reschedule our upcoming baptisms scheduled for this Sunday and our upcoming revival services. We also will not have the scheduled cottage prayer meetings, but we do encourage you to take those times to pray with your family.
     A fever, or a cough or shortness of breath are the symptoms of this virus. If you are experiencing any of these or you have been exposed to a case or potential case of Coronavirus, or traveled abroad to an area of high risk, you should call your physician and stay out of public places. 

Please be faithful to your giving during this time. The needs of our church and our gospel commitments still remain. Our missionaries are counting on our faithful support. We are working on getting our Online Giving set up in the next few days. Until then, you can mail in your contributions or drop them by the church office. 

     Our deacons and staff want to go the extra mile to serve our church family and our community during this time. We will be checking in on you, but if you need anything at all, please do not hesitate for one second to call us. If you need a grocery delivery, a pharmacy delivery, or anything like that, please call us. If you want us to show you how to watch the services online or bring you some CD’s or DVD’s, we would be more than happy to do that. We want to serve you! 

     I love you and this hurts. But, several years ago, the Lord drove a statement into my heart that I have tried to remind myself of every day… God is God and I am not! His thoughts are higher than ours. His ways are above ours. And, his wisdom is what we should seek. Wherever we are Sunday, I look forward to worshiping together. 

~Pastor Josh Grubbs