March 21, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I pray that you are all well in Jesus Christ. Lord willing, it is my aim to keep in regular contact with you to inform you about how we can work together as a church to make needed temporary adjustments related to COVID-19. Beloved church, we have nothing to fear in illness and death, because we know that God will bring us safely to Himself (Philippians 1:21). This said, we seek to preserve life in the desire to see the church built up (Philippians 1:24-26), and so that our non-Christian family and friends might trust in Jesus Christ (Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3:8-9; 1 Timothy 2:4).
We also desire to help our community by honoring the reasonable and temporary request of government authorities to not gather (Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). This request to not gather impacts schools, businesses, events, and people of all ethnicities, religions, and creeds. The recommendation for gathering is currently limited to groups of ten and under. There are also recommendations related to social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus. Some cities are now implementing lock-down strategies. The number of cases of coronavirus increases daily, and given the changing nature of this situation, there are regular updates by leaders in our community related to group meetings and social contact.
Gatherings Suspended Through April 12, 2020
Through April 12, we will not be gathering for any official RBC meetings with groups of any size. West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) has closed all of their facilities through Sunday, April 12, 2020. (1) Brothers and sisters, sadly we will not be gathering on Resurrection Sunday. The closing of the school building does not mean a church is unable to gather in a different location; however, the reasoning behind the closure is sound. Due to the health emergency, it is unwise for us to meet as a church in a different location. This continues to be a very fluid situation. I will continue to evaluate the recommendations being made by public officials and seek counsel from like-minded pastors.
Ways to Connect During This Time
I mailed a letter and an updated RBC member directory to everyone in the church on Monday, March 15. Please use the member directory. Pray daily for each other. Reach out to each other to check-in, pray and encourage. Utilize video chat technology (FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts) to connect virtually. Very thankfully, the Lord has given us tools to connect with one another during this season!
I plan to lead singing, praying and preaching Sundays on Facebook Live at 10:00am. If you have the ability, please join us. I plan to post the audio of the sermon in the sermon section of our website (http://redeemerdsm.church) and on our iTunes podcast page (https://apple.co/2Wy7hMr).
I plan to continue to lead the men’s and women’s Wednesday night Bible studies from 7:00-8:30pm on Zoom. If you use a computer with a camera, we can all see each other’s faces and participate in praying, reading the Word, asking questions and contributing edifying observations and thoughts.
I plan to utilize Zoom for a Sunday evening prayer time as well, beginning Sunday, March 29 at 6:00pm (our normal evening service time slot). I will plan to email an invitation with the appropriate links to join when I get Zoom set up.
I am intentionally not calling these online forums “services.” Our church services cannot be replicated online and will not resume until we are able to gather together.
Giving Tithes and Offerings
I set up a way that you can continue to give without having to mail a check to our P.O. Box. You’re still welcome to mail tithes and offerings to the P.O. Box that I mentioned in the last letter, but if you prefer to give electronically you can go to the following website:
If you would prefer to give by text, you can text any amount to 84321 in order to give. When you text an amount, you will receive a text with a website hyperlink. Once you click on this link, simply type, “Redeemer Baptist Church,” and the address we meet at, “1601 Vine St., West Des Moines.” You should see our church logo pop up. Click on the logo and follow the prompts. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Resources for Encouragement
I have been posting daily devotionals on Psalm 91 at the RBC church blog here: https://redeemerdsm.church/blog/. I hope these are an encouragement to each of us during this humbling and challenging time. I have also been posting some older resources from our website on social media, including sermons and blog posts. I also want to encourage each of us to pursue the daily discipline of prayer and reading God’s Word as well.
All of This Is Irregular
All of these steps are merely modifications to adapt to this uncertain season in which we find ourselves. When this darkness lifts, we will continue to emphasize the public physical gathering of the congregation and we will not continue to utilize live-streaming or Zoom. I long to be with you all face to face again. We do not want to use technology in such a way that neglects the biblical priority that we have embraced in our covenant of physically gathering with each other (Hebrews 10:24-25). We are utilizing these online tools temporarily to encourage each other in the gospel while we must isolate for the glory of God in the preservation of the lives of our loved ones and neighbors.
You all remain in my prayers. Please let me know of any way that I can particularly pray for you. Further, seek ways to encourage each other in the gospel, and prayerfully consider how the Lord might use you to be an encouragement to your neighbors to trust in Christ.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.”
1. See their website here. Last accessed March 21, 2020: https://www.smore.com/9vjwa