Dear Church Family,
WHAT HAS BEEN DECIDED?
The elders met for a special meeting yesterday afternoon and have decided to officially close our church building and cease all physical assembly of our Church in every ministry capacity for the time being. This is effective immediately.
The elders reached this decision after prayer and much discussion. We believe this is first and foremost, an act of “loving our neighbor” both inside and outside the church. Second, we believe this is in keeping with the spirit of Romans 13:1–7 and what the CDC/WHO, President, State, and Local officials have variously requested in social distancing including avoiding groups of 10 or more people. Thirdly, we understand this to be a matter of wisdom in the care and stewardship of the whole congregation.
WHAT SHOULD BE OUR PERSPECTIVE?
This is not a time of panic or inordinate fear. This is a time of deepened trust in our good and sovereign God and increased care and concern for one another. This is also a time for sharing the unfailing hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ to a weary and worried world (cf., 1 Peter 3:15).
Times of pressure can lead to one of two results, fracture or greater unity.
The disunity of fracture can result when strongly felt convictions (one’s opinion) becomes more important than loving and caring for one’s neighbor who may disagree (cf., Romans 15:1–7). Greater unity, however, can result when we put the gospel good, wellbeing, and spiritual state of others over our own (cf., Romans 15:2). People are interpreting current events differently but the greatest good is the advance of the gospel in and through us. Our task is to strengthen one another in Jesus and His perfect love which casts out all fear. Make every opportunity a gospel opportunity.
Rapid growth in Christlikeness is often the fruit of seasons of trial, testing, and suffering as we trust the Lord more than what our minds think, hearts feel, and circumstances reveal (cf., Romans 5:1–5). Let us regularly encourage one another to these good ends, especially for many of us, as digital ambassadors for Jesus.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
God has set upon us all a unique Providence and we are moving into a season of church life none of us have ever experienced. We trust His fatherly hand in guiding us and know Jesus will faithfully and fruitfully continue to shepherd us by Word and Spirit. We also pray without ceasing.
The elders are scheduled to meet again this Thursday evening and will continue to pray for and discuss how to best shepherd the church with the word in this season. Our goal with the remainder of this week is to provide a sermon Sunday morning. This will not be a live stream, rather our aim is to push a video out via our normal sermon audio means. More details will be forthcoming. The elders are committed to the wellbeing of the church, especially spiritual wellbeing. Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of us.
Coralee Norris and her team will be serving as the contact point for the physical needs of our church. If you have a need or can meet a need, especially if it is immediate, please reach out to her as a database is being coordinated in service to our church.
Your faithful and generous giving as an act of obedient worship is still a key means by which God advances His gospel in and thorough us. Staff, missionaries, and operations still depend on your giving. Some of you may be wondering how to continue your regular giving to the church. First off, donations can always be mailed to the church at Flagstaff Christian Fellowship 123 S Beaver St, 86001. However, if you have not yet considered online giving, we would encourage you to take this opportunity to consider this method of supporting the church. Through our myFCF system, you can make a one-time gift or set up repeated scheduled giving. You login to myFCF, click the “Give” link on the left, and then set up your online giving. We can accept credit cards or direct withdrawal from a checking account. Direct withdrawal is the preferred method as it costs less to process. Thank you for your faithful support of the church through giving.
WHAT CAN I DO?
In one sense, God’s unique Providence is putting each one of us into a forced Sabbath. Life has been disrupted. Based on current models, it appears life will continue this way beyond 2 weeks.
Take this time to rest, read a good Christian book, play board games, engage in devotions with your household, pray through the church directory, and more.
If you are alone, please reach out to a friend. Conversely, if you know someone who is alone please reach out to them.
If you know of those who do not engage in technology, please reach out to them and provide them with this update.
Take this time to appreciate the gift of the local church and how precious our time together is. Christianity is necessarily embodied because God the Son became embodied as Jesus. Digital solutions can never replace being together as a church family. Yet God has given us this time away from one another. Let us avail ourselves of digital means to connect while praying and longing for a return to our corporate gathering to sit under the Word preached, see and taste the Word in the Lord’s supper, and minister the Word to one another in prayer and conversation.
If you suspect you or a loved one may have contracted COVID-19, you should immediately reach out to your health care provider, alert an elder, and read the updated information on drive-thru test sites in Coconino County at this link. The information line is 928.679.7300
Our hope is not in our circumstances, it is in Christ. Let us take heart and live wisely and winsomely for Jesus. You can find last week’s sermon, “Teach Us To Number Our Days” on Psalm 90 here.
By God’s grace, I will be communicating with you again in the coming days.
Confidently in Christ,
On behalf of the FCF elders