Letter to Church Family

“Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall
stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” – 
Isaiah 46:9,10

Dear Church Family,

There are some letters (most of them) that I simply delight in writing and can’t wait sending them out to you, and a few others (like this one) that I dread sending out but it is all part of the ministry that God has called us to, so ultimately I praise God for this opportunity as well.

First of all, I thank you for your prayers, patience, kindness, understanding, love and so much more that you’ve showed to God’s people at First Baptist and to those in our community as we’ve been going through this Covid-19 crisis. I am so proud (and I said this for the Glory of God to many local pastors) on how our congregation has handled navigating through this crisis and getting back in the church building. It certainly has not been easy on any of us and it looks like it is not getting any easier anytime soon, but with God, we are more than conquerors. You all deserve a hand and a pat on the back for representing God’s church so well – Thank YOU!

As you all know, this past Thursday, Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-81 to mandate mask wearing in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces, unless alone. This certainly is not something that we like nor wanted to experience as Minnesotans, (I personally don’t like masks and have difficulty breathing when wearing them), but that doesn’t change a bit the reality that we are dealing here with an executive order. Please know that we are not scared by this order or by the authorities nor terrified by Covid-19, but as citizens here on earth part of our duty in representing Jesus and His Kingdom that is not of this world, is also to be law-abiding citizens. Therefore, after talking among ourselves and also talking this over with God in prayer, our leadership team determined (to the best of our ability) our preeminent approach to the Governor’s executive order and to what makes sense for our church congregation, as of now. Let’s keep in mind that 1 Peter 2:13-18 instructs Christians as a testimony to the world we live in, to submit to authority with respect, love, and by the fear of God. Therefore, we are kindly asking the church family to please adhere to the guidelines of the Governor’s executive order by wearing a mask while attending church service and church meetings.  Please bring your masks to church if you have them or pick up a mask at the front door if you need one. The following are exceptions to the rule: 

  1. People with medical conditions that compromises their ability to breath and children under 5 years old
  1. Pastor can remove his mask to give the sermon
  1. The worship team and song leader (Brian Brasher) can lead worship and songs without wearing a mask

Based on what makes sense for our church family and congregation, we are outlining the following operational procedures:

  1. Please wear your mask when entering and leaving the church 
  2. Leave your mask on during the singing of songs (make a joyful noise unto the Lord as best as you can) … Yeah! – 😊
  3. Feel free to take off your mask during the sermon if you so desire.

I also wish to mention that churches around us including in our Association are taking similar measures; many are even much stricter than we are and we have been.  Please also keep in mind that this too shall pass and as we heard even last Sunday from God’s Word, the people are watching us and harmony leads to unity in the church. Let’s keep that up for the glory of God and let’s not allow this temporary and minor issue of having to wear a mask divide our bond of unity and fellowship and the moving of God’s Spirit in our midst. I thank you so much for thinking of others first and putting the interests of others above yours (Philippians 2:4).

Last but not least, I would like to leave you with the following advice that’s been personally helpful for me and I hope it will benefit you also:

  • Pray for God to aid scientists in discovering a vaccine quickly.
  • Pray that our witness as a church will remain strong.
  • Act responsibly (wash your hands, respect the space of others, think of others first, please stay home if you are not feeling well, etc…)
  • Rest in God – “Rest in God alone, O my soul, for my hope comes from Him.” – Psalm 62:5

With much love and appreciation for all of you and great anticipation for how God will carry us through,

God’s servant and yours, along with our wonderful board of deacons,

PASTOR jOHN

The above letter is also available as a PDF.   Click here to download the PDF