The Christian life is lived every moment at the intersection of complete trust in God and living in wise, faithful obedience. We cannot use faith as an excuse for inactivity. We cannot live as if everything is up to us and God is absent. Covid-19 is an especially difficult case of the intersection of faith and responsibility because it is hard to assess what is true. The range between the best and worst case scenarios is vast, and no one seems certain what is likely to play out. It seems that the same kinds of precautions we take to stay healthy in general will work with Covid-19, but the uncertainty is unsettling to many people. Gregg County’s first confirmed case intensified the unsettling uncertainty. We want you to know how we are exercising wise responsibility.
Proactive Action Steps
- Prayer. This is the most powerful thing we can do. We live confidently in the face of sickness and struggle because our well-being is in God’s hands. Please join us in praying for those who are affected by this illness, as well as their caregivers and those who are working around the clock to minimize the impact of this virus.
- Diligent cleaning and care for our facilities.
This is part of our normal practices, anyway. The staff is on especially high alert that this cannot fall through the cracks. We already have hand-sanitizer available throughout our facilities. We will make sure this is the case each Sunday morning.
- Watching symptoms.
The more severe symptoms of Covid-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. We encourage staff to stay home if they experience these conditions. This would also be wise for FBCers in general. We have many people who fall into the demographics who are most severely affected by the virus. Please be considerate of them if you have these symptoms. The CDC is currently recommending that you remain at home until at least 24 hours after you are free of a fever (100 degrees F) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- Planning for the worst-case without expecting it.
We do not anticipate needing to shut down the office during the week, but we have asked staff to prepare in case they need to work from home. We will follow Longview ISD’s lead in determining if, when, and how long we would need to close the office. It is very unlikely that Sunday mornings will be shut down. If it is, we are prepared to have service together online.
- Maintaining a ministry mind-set.
One of the marks that should separate us from the world is sacrificial other-centeredness. That does not mean unnecessary risks. It does mean being willing to pray and care for those who are sick. Please let the staff know if you hear of anyone (FBCer or not) affected by the virus. We want to do what we can to help.
Local health authorities stated that “the immediate risk of transmission in Gregg County remains low, as there is no evidence of community spread at this time.” We want to care for our church family in all respects, including the physical well-being of our community.
I am pleased to hear that the risk is low. However, our confidence is not based on the assessment of the local health authorities.
Psalm 46 reminds us that God is our refuge and strength, and our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, let us not fear, but with confidence use this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus through our prayers and our care for others.
~ Pastor Todd Malone