In the last few days our country, like many others around the world, has found itself in the midst of a crisis.  The Corona Virus Pandemic is now effecting every area of life including health, entertainment, transportation, groceries, social interaction, jobs and the economy, and yes even the church.  This is an unprecedented event in our lifetime and at First Baptist Church Madisonville we are all doing our best to understand the situation and adjust to the changing environment.  In the days ahead we will need your help and flexibility as we navigate our way through this crisis.

This is our plan for dealing with the crisis at this time.  Of course things have changed almost daily, sometimes hourly, so we will try to keep you informed via facebook and email.  Here are some things you are probably wondering about.

As of March 15th  “CDC recommends that for the next 8 weeks organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the US.” On March 16th President Trump recommended to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.  Therefore unless things change WE ARE CANCELING ALL SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES ON CAMPUS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.  This  includes Sunday morning worship service, Sunday school, all on-going programs like Wednesday night supper AWANA, Tribe, Crossover, Prayer meetings and other activities.  This also applies to special events like our choir’s Easter Cantata, Easter Egg Hunt, the Bunny Breakfast and Resurrection Run.  Our Daycare will also be closed following the school’s schedule. The only thing we will continue is FOOD PANTRY (see below). If things change before May 17th we will reassess the situation and communicate the new plan.

At this time we are planning to broadcast Weekly Worship Services Online Sundays at 10:30am on our Church Website and our Facebook page.  We were able to do online services last Sunday and even with some technical difficulties (which are being addressed) we have had over 1,100 views!  This will be an opportunity for us to still have church together and to share the experience with others online.  We are also looking at the possibility of posting some mid-week Bible studies and other online resources as well.  So keep an eye on our website and Facebook and Instagram for those.

We will also be broadcasting our service over the Radio on WGSM 104.7 at 10:30 each Sunday morning for those living in Madisonville.  Be a part of these services and encourage others to join us too!

During this time it is vital that you continue to give your tithes and offerings faithfully.  We still have bills and staff to pay, a facility to maintain and ministry to do.  There are three easy ways you can continue to give:
1) Give Online on our church website at fbcmadisonville.org/give/
2) Mail in a Check to our church office at 139 College St. Madisonville, TN 37354
3) Drop Off Tithes At The Church Office using our new Mail Drop Box in the front door of the office.

This is the perfect time to take advantage of RightNow Media our huge online digital library of faith-based videos for every age group that you can access whenever you want—on your phone, iPad, computer, or smart TV at home.  To Access This Resource simply click here and click the red button that says “Get RightNow Media” and follow the instructions.  Then enjoy thousands of videos that will build your faith and help you right there at home.

During this time we want to encourage our members to look after each other.  We do not advise people to make personal visits or send cards and letters (as this may spread the virus), but We Encourage Everyone To Call And Check On Others from your Sunday school class or small groups and check on older members and those who are at higher risk and may need assistance.  When you call to check on others ask if folks need supplies or someone to pick up medications and those kinds of things and then have a word of prayer with each other. If there are needs you are not able to meet please let our staff or one of our  deacons know about it.

At the time of printing We Plan On Keeping Food Pantry Open Each Saturday Morning From 8:30-9:30am.  We will however, plan on operating as a “drive by pick-up” food pantry.  Those who need groceries can pull up to the back door and we will bring food out to them and have a short prayer with them as they pick up.  This is the only ongoing program we will continue to do on campus.  However many of our workers are in the at risk age group and do not need to get out and be around others.  We will keep volunteer numbers to 10 or less per week but We Need Younger Volunteers to step up to help with this ministry during this time.  If you can help from 8:00-9:30 call the church office or text or call Bobbie Cartwright (her number is in the Church Directory).  Let’s keep this vital ministry going for those who need it most.

Through this crisis if you Need Help getting groceries or medicine or if you have a Prayer Request you can Call The Church Office at 423-442-4544 and leave a message with your name and phone number and your need or prayer request. Or you can email our staff (email addresses are listed on the website and the back of our weekly newsletter, The Proclamation).  Once you leave a message or email, a staff member or one of our deacons will get back with you as soon as possible.

For the next few weeks communication will be important.  At the beginning of each Sunday Worship Service (online and on radio) we will give a brief update on announcements and ministry needs.  Also we will continue to mail our weekly newsletter The Proclamation (unless we go to a state-wide or nation-wide quarantine at some point).  We will be sending out Email Blasts with similar information and important updates so make sure our church office has your correct and current email address and remember to check your spam or junk folders.  We will also be posting things on our Website and on Facebook.  It is crucial for you to read your Proclamation, check your email and Facebook for these updates.

Also in light of current events, depending on advice from government officials, the Church Office may be open normal hours or our staff may be working from home.  If we have to work from home the office phone will be forwarded to our staff and of course you can contact any of us through emails and cell phones.  Please stay in touch and stay informed!

One final thought… It is important to remember our world has changed, but our God has not!  Scripture says in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”  Although our circumstances may change, our plans may change and our world may change, our God is the same yesterday, today and forever!  None of this surprised God.  He is still on the throne.  He is still in control.  And He still loves you with an infinite, unchanging love!  No matter what comes our way in the weeks ahead God is still with us and He will see us through.

In The Meantime Continue To Love God, Love People and Follow Jesus.
—Pastor Chris