Greetings to our West Side Baptist Family—

I want to take a few minutes today to talk to you as your pastor about our current situation and how we as a church are adapting as we navigate the next few weeks and beyond, together.

Based on the guidance given by the government and medical professionals, we have made the decision to cancel all on-campus church activities through April 30th. This includes Sunday services and Wednesday night activities for the rest of the month as well as any of our special events (Membership/Church Business Meeting, Walk-a-thon, and Work Day). The only people that will be meeting is our Praise Team on Wednesday Nights.  All future updates will be made on a week to week basis.  You can check our website calendar to see if events are being held or cancelled.  You can also call the church, email us, check Facebook and all other social media for information.

This is a decision that we did not make lightly, and the work of the church certainly has not stopped. Our offices remain open and our office staff is available if you have any needs or questions.

Hebrews 10:25 instructs us to not give-up on meeting together and while we will not be meeting together in person, our pastors and deacons are working on finding ways that we can stay connected using technology. As always, our Sunday service will be streamed on the internet.  You can worship by watching on our Facebook page or on our YouTube channel.  We are also having our Sunday School teachers come in and record their lessons as well.  These will be available to watch and interact with during the usual time of 9:15 Sunday morning.  There will also be a lesson for the kids and the youth!  Each of our age groups will not be forgotten.  Please stay tuned as to which service we will be using so you can take advantage of these great opportunities.

We want to be sure we can stay connected to our church family, especially now, and we will be using email as our primary source of communication, as well as posting to our website and Facebook page. If you do not have email, all important announcements will be shared either via US mail, or by your deacon.  If you have a prayer request that you would like added to the Prayer Sheet, please let the office know and we will add it.  The Prayer List will be emailed out on Wednesday.

There are several ways to participate in stewardship and giving with options such as online giving, mailing your offering to the church or placing your offering in the white mailbox located just outside the Office side entrance door to the Education Building.  Please drop these offerings off during business hours as the box will be checked every 15 minutes.

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please let us know. Maybe you are homebound and need someone to go to the grocery store for you or you have some other similar need. We have church members who have volunteered to assist those with needs like this. Please give us a call so that we can help.  Our main office number is 796-2027

Philippians 4:6-7 says Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.

  1. Don’t give in to worry or fear

As a Christian I believe strongly that God is in control, on his throne, wide awake and at the ready to take care of his children. He answers prayer. He cares about you very deeply.

Jesus is leading us to have a faith that overwhelms fear.  We can step aside from the panicked frenzy around us. To put it more plainly, as Christians, we never need to freak out over situations that freak everyone else out.  Refuse to be ruled by the tyranny of worry and anxiety. Instead, pray continually. Pray about every need you have for provision and protection and then trust God to handle things according to his holy and loving nature.

  1. Prepare Wisely

In the current case of coronavirus, people in positions of influence and authority such as leaders and scientists with the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are offering us ample information about what is happening globally and how to prepare for it.  So prepare. Have an adequate supply of food, medicine, and supplies (because that’s wise).  Wash your hands, more than usual. Stay home. Check in on loved ones. Avoid unnecessary travel. And stay tuned in to what is really happening.

  1. Love your neighbor

And THIS is where Christians we can be used!  This is where we have the opportunity to prove our faith and let our light shine so that the world may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. So while “social distancing” is wise to a degree to slow the spread of disease, there may come moments when our assignment is to face the risk and approach our neighbors in need.  As followers of Jesus, we believe that wrapped in every tragedy is an opportunity to show love and compassion for those who are hurting. And love always requires setting fear aside in the best interest of the gospel’s advancement.

Let’s BE THE CHURCH in a time when it is truly needed.

I love each and every one of you and have been praying that God keeps you safe and uses each of us for His glory!

Pastor Ray

#wearewestside