Mid-Week Musings from Lead Pastor Todd Malone
We still TENTATIVELY plan to reopen on May 24. I look forward to removing “TENTATIVELY,” but we are making sure we don’t make a promise we can’t keep. The reopening will likely be just the Worship Center. We are trying to nail down how many services will be necessary and what time the service(s) will occur. The online services will continue so anyone who is high risk can (and should) stay home.
Who is this “we” I keep talking about? The staff or a subset of the staff meet every week. Some of us meet multiple times a week. Part of those meetings include updates on what we can or cannot accomplish given the resources available to us. In addition, the Elders have met every Tuesday night since the quarantine started. The Trustees met at the end of April and discussed reopening plans. The Trustees then empowered the Executive Committee (the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Deacon and Elder Boards, the Executive Pastor and the Lead Pastor) to vet the final plan. In other words, we have multiple people with diverse backgrounds and opinions weighing in on the plan.
The Executive Committee will meet again in the next few days. The Elders will meet next Tuesday. Our goal is to send out the plan on Wednesday, May 20.
For the record, all meetings have been online. No social distancing guidelines were killed in the making of our meetings.
PLEASE HELP US PLAN by filling out a survey. It will guide us as we plan facilities setup, schedules, etc. Follow this link to take the survey…
Sermon Reflection and Prayer
Romans 6:1-14 is about WHO you are as a Christian. We are dead to sin and alive to God. In last Sunday’s passage, Romans 6:15-23, Slade took us through WHOSE you are. We are no longer slaves to sin; now we are slaves to righteousness. Embracing sin goes against who we are and the purpose God gives us.
That leads to our prayer focus for this week. I invite everyone to prayerfully consider how you are tempted to embrace sin in your attitude toward others. Satan is using the coronavirus to fracture the church around the world. Well-informed, compassionate people differ on what to do next. Those differences make their way into Facebook, families, friendships, and Christian fellowship. This is a reminder to all of us. Satan tempts every Christian to fracture unity. No one is immune from that attack. We must be in diligent prayer, asking God to show us where we have embraced sin in our attitudes and interactions with one another.
Romans 14 gives us freedom to disagree with one another. But it does not give us freedom to break fellowship with one another. We are to assume the best about the people who disagree with us. Specifically, we are to assume they hold their positions out of love for and a desire to serve the Lord.
Ephesians 4 commands us to maintain the unity that the Lord gives us. Jesus, in John 13, makes clear that our love for one another is the way the world will know we are His followers. The Bible’s master plan for evangelism is not door-to-door outreach or evangelistic programs. It is the love between Christians that the world sees… in our families, in our church services, in our meetings with one another, on Facebook.
Frankly, our unity is a higher priority to God than who does or does not wear masks, what buildings are open and closed, what programs resume and when. When we put these debatable issues ahead of unity, we grieve the Lord. But when we respect one another in our differences by replacing sarcastic, passive-aggressive comments or posts with humility and openness to other opinions, we give the world a picture of what it is like to live under the rule of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes compassion moves us not to do something we have the right to do. When the world sees Christians showing such sacrificial compassion, they get a glimpse of Jesus’ sacrificial love. Please pray that the world will be drawn to Jesus by how FBC loves each other – even in our disagreements.