March 17, 2020
Dear TVC Family,
We hope and pray this email finds you well as we are adjusting to the daily (sometimes hourly) changes and updates regarding COVID-19. The elders met this morning to discuss how TVC should respond as a church: How do we love one another and our community during this time? We find ourselves with a tremendous opportunity to not just grow in Christ, but to love like Christ and to live for Christ!
As you may have heard, the CDC recommended an 8-week ban on all gatherings of over 50 people. Yesterday, President Trump recommended avoiding social gatherings involving groups of more than 10 for the next 15 days. God in His sovereignty has a desire for order and He has placed authorities in our lives to help maintain order and for our good (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17). The information and recommendations proved helpful as the elders talked about plans moving forward, but we wanted to have a better understanding of what is happening locally. God has blessed TVC with a few people who work in the medical field and who are "on the front lines" of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful for their insights and perspectives on what is happening locally.
Based on the information we have at this time, the elders have decided to cancel in-person worship services for the next two weeks (thru March 29). We believe this to be a prudent and appropriate decision that both loves our church family and loves our community as we faithfully seek to fulfill our God-given task to shepherd the people under our care (1 Peter 5:1-5). The elders will meet again on Monday, March 30 to re-evaluate the situation and will provide you with another update.
In addition to the worship services, the elders have decided to cancel the next two weeks of Christianity Explored. Jeff Norton will be sending out information to you which will include links to the videos and some pages from the leader's guide to help facilitate discussion for the material each week. We want to encourage you to continue the study—yes, the group discussion time is a helpful piece of the class, but there is much truth that can be learned and applied without the discussion. Please take advantage of the Facebook group and email as a way to ask questions and draw others into the conversation.
Finally, regarding GGCs (Gospel Growth Communities), the elders ask that you use extreme caution and discernment in deciding whether or not to meet. If you feel comfortable having people in your home or going to another person's home that is okay, but we want to be sure we are exercising caution and not putting others at risk. There are still a lot of unknowns about this virus and new information is reported every day. Remembering that God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self control (2 Timothy 1:7), we must live in a way that is fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit, radically loving, and exudes self control. All this means that sacrifices will need to be made as we seek to put others before ourselves.
Pastor Phil will continue preaching through the Book of Jonah in an online format and will be preaching from Jonah 4 this Sunday. We are working on the specifics, so we will communicate more information on this in the next couple of days.
We want to encourage you with the following ways we can actively love one another during this time:
- Please communicate with one another. Although we are being encouraged to practice social distancing that does not mean we need to stop communicating... emails, phone calls, and text messages are God-given ways we can stay in contact with one another. We need to remind one another of the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16) and importance of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).
- Please check in with your neighbors. There will be many who may be scared and hurting... an email, phone call, or text could go a long way in helping ease those fears and open up doors to share the hope of the gospel in the days and weeks ahead.
- Consider small ways to serve others. If you are running to the store, please do not hesitate to ask a TVC family member or a neighbor if there is anything you can pick up for them. You can simply put the items by their front door for them to pick up.
We count it a privilege and great joy to not just serve you but serve with you during this unprecedented time, as we partner in the work of the gospel in the Twin Villages and our neighborhoods.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Phil Nicewonger, Pastor
Breck Holladay, Elder
Grant Sorterup, Elder