March 25, 2020 Update

March 16, 2020

Hey There Faithbridge Family!

Pastor Jeff here with a few words of encouragement, update and next steps. The first thing that I want to share is a huge thank you to all of you for your flexibility during this highly unusual and unpredictable time. It has certainly disrupted our lives and has stretched all of us outside of our normal routines and comfort. There may be some of you who are concerned that we are overblowing this and others who might be concerned that we are not doing enough. Wherever you fall in your thinking, I would encourage and challenge us all to approach this not from opposing views, but rather from the perspective of opportunity. Specifically, that this would be an opportunity for all of us to both experience and demonstrate the love of Christ to others in ways that may not have been available should the virus had not shown up on the global stage.

I want to reassure us all that what is happening in regards to the virus is not a surprise to God. Not at all. And with that in mind our confidence remains firmly in Him and not in anything else. He knows the number of our days, He knows our thoughts, He KNOWS. Our faith and hope should, as always, be firmly rooted in Christ and His great love for us regardless of our circumstances. The words of Job ring as true today as they did when he first uttered them, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Though He slay me, blessed be the name of the Lord.” And of anyone in history who had his life completely disrupted, inconvenienced and turned upside down, it was Job.

Let me bring you up to date on where the leadership stands as it relates to our response to the virus and doing our part to minimize and mitigate its potential spread. The decision has been made to suspend all programmed activities as it relates to the church for the next couple of weeks starting on Tuesday, March 17. This means that all regularly scheduled activities throughout the next two weeks will be postponed. This also means that our service will be held online only for the next two Sundays, March 22 and 29. But more on that in bit. 

As it relates to the church office, at this time the office will remain open and maintain normal operations. During this time, we would ask for your continued patience and flexibility as we do our part in leading well through this challenging time. We desire to honor Christ and His mission for us to the best of our ability. There is still work to be done, but it will look a little different than it has, at least for a season. We’re not sure what it will look like once we get to the end of those two weeks, but our commitment to you is to provide you with as up to date information as we possibly can.

As far as next steps, it is our desire to embrace this new normal to the best of our ability. As I mentioned earlier, we want to look at this as an opportunity. With that in mind, for our service over the next two Sundays we will be gathering together online only at 10:45 AM. The services will be a full service complete with a time of worship through singing and of worship in the Word. I know that it might be a little weird and unconventional, but I would encourage you to use this as an opportunity to invite another family or two to gather with you in your home for our Sunday service. This would be especially helpful for some of our members who may not have access to our Livestream broadcast for those who do have access to invite them over. It will also provide an excellent opportunity for you to invite someone from work or a neighbor to join you for service and to then stay for lunch.

Many of you are likely wondering about what to do with your kids. Have them join you for the service! We will do our best to engage your kids through singing and teaching. We will also have bulletins and a kid’s bulletin, just like a “normal” Sunday available for you to pick up in the office this week or you can find them online. Additionally, as it relates to our worship through giving, you are welcome to bring your offering to the church office during normal office hours or you can use our online giving tool through our church website

This past Sunday we had record viewership of our Livestream broadcast. It is a blessing to be able to utilize technology in this way that allows us to remain connected and to worship together. Perhaps one of the lessons that the Lord is wanting to impart to us is that the Church is not a building or a specific location. Rather, for those of us who have placed our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, we are members of His Body. We are the Church. Wherever we go, whether we are corporately gathered together on a Sunday at Faithbridge or we are scattered throughout Park Rapids and beyond, we are the Church and as such we represent Jesus. So, let us work together, as His body, to love God and to love others in Jesus’ name!

Grace and peace, 

Jeff Lange

Lead Pastor

PS — Be prayerful for national, regional, and church leadership. Please pray for families adjusting to school closures, as well as teachers and medical professionals. They’re not at fault and likely doing the best they can and are as affected as are the rest of us. Also, pray for the stop of this virus and its progression. And, pray for the opportunity to share the hope that you have in Christ with those who might be afraid or even angry.

PPS — for the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 and how it relates to us here in the Park Rapids area, check out these two links.

The Minnesota Department of Health

St. Joseph’s Health

PPPS — please be mindful of best practices if you plan on going out. Make sure to wash your hands. If you have a cough or sneezes, please consider others and stay home until you’re better.