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COVID-19 - What is our church doing?

03/16/2020

This article will be updated as needed (last updated 3/18/20 1 pm)

Dear church family,

This week our president asked the entire nation to make huge sacrifices for approximately 2 weeks (15 days) to stop the spread of COVID-19. We take this seriously and support all efforts to minimize the impact of this pandemic through social distancing and by not meeting in groups of more than 10 people. With the understanding that we do not have to be in a building to be the church, the church board and I have made the decision to move all services to an online format for the rest of the month.

Starting tonight, we will be streaming online on Wednesdays at 7 pm and on Sundays at 11 am. This will be a shorter version than our normal services, but will include focused prayer, worship, and the Word. You can access our services on YouTube here or by connecting on Facebook here. If you need assistance in getting the live feed, please contact Bro. Greg Price at 406/671-2167.

We plan to have our next service at the church on April 1. If for some reason the disrupted schedule has to continue for a longer time, we will use additional avenues to stay connected. There are those in our assembly that do not use internet, and we plan to check on them and keep them connected by bringing copies of the service to them.

We will use this time to BE the church rather than just COME to church. Like Joseph discovered in Genesis 50- even if it was meant for evil, we know God is going to use it for good. In times of distress, the church has a great opportunity to share God’s grace and lead people to salvation. Now, more than ever, our world needs what we have. Regardless of the circumstances, God will enable us to continue the work of evangelism and discipleship. We will come out of this stronger than ever, with new ideas of how we can minister to one another and to our community.

Here are a few things for you to consider doing during this schedule change:
1. Continue to pray! The church is available 24/7 for individuals and families to come to for prayer.
2. Check on your neighbors, the elders in our church, and others that the Lord would lay on your heart.
3. Limit media intake, and spend more time in Bible based content- reading, audio, and video.
4. Go outside in the sunshine for a walk or other exercise.
5. Spread hope, cheer, and BE the church.
6. Take advantage of the extra time with your family to strengthen ties at home.
7. Remember that we are here for you, and I can be reached at any time at 406/652-2443.
8. You can continue to give through your bank, online, or by mail to 2939 Colton Blvd, Billings, MT 59102

I love you, and am praying for you. We will remain strong as a church because of your strength as a Christian. We are not just surviving, we are thriving! Remember it wasn’t until the early church was ‘forced’ to change their meeting times that they began to flourish and multiply. Get ready to hear and share the awesome testimonies of God's power and provision that will be happening out of the struggles and inconvenience we now face!

Pastor Sermon



This article will be updated as needed (last updated 3/16/20 2:01pm)

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I wanted to let you know what steps we are taking to prepare for a worst-case scenario.
We want to be prepared should this virus cause serious disruption to “public gatherings” over an extended time frame of weeks or months.

Immediate Steps
• The first thing to know is that we do not have to fear. God is with us and we are confident in His provision, even in the midst of uncertainty.
• That being said, we will take steps to preserve a sense of normalcy in our church community, even in times when we might be physically separated from each other for a time period.
• We have hand sanitizing dispensers in the bathroom and by the announcement board. These in combination with good hand-washing using soap can go a long way to stopping the spread of disease. Please use these regularly.
• If you’re not already, please familiarize yourself with our online giving page. Although there was a time in the past when we could not survive financially without meeting, today we can due to giving technology that allows you to give digitally even in the event of illness or absence.
• Our info on the websiteand on Facebook is updated regularly to keep you in the loop on things happening within the church. Please visit it today and frequently to stay plugged in.
• If you have had a fever or have been ill within the past 24 hours – PLEASE stay at home. You can always join our Sunday 9:30 & 11 am service live remotely on YouTube and Facebook.

Steps During a Service Disruption
Should an outbreak occur in Montana and we be forced or given the option to voluntarily quarantine, we will implement the following strategy:
           • Live streaming – In the event that we’re unable to meet for services, we will utilize technology like Facebook to stream live teaching and preaching.
           • Workplace – For team meetings, we will use Google Suites to communicate and continue to plan together.
           • In addition to MailChimp and Facebook, Instagram and Remind are systems we will use to supplement our email & social media communications.
           • Facebook & Chat Groups – great way to communicate things in a more private venue than posting on social media. These will be crucial to keeping in contact with one another.
           • FaceTime/Google Hangouts – are free tools that can be used to facilitate smaller group/mentoring meetings.
If Outbreak Occurs – Be Prepared for an Extended Home Stay: Families will need their own communication plans and two-week stockpiles of water, non-perishable food, prescription medicines, first aid supplies, pet food, etc.
The Red Cross has prepared an excellent personal preparation plan here.

Again, there is no reason to panic or fear. We simply want to be prepared personally and as a church, and be available to render aid to our community in a time of need.
For now, we plan to continue our weekly services but are monitoring the situation and following recommendations from federal, state, and local government agencies. If and when we need to make a decision on services, we will make that call based on our direct authorities who are knowledgeable and trained to deal with this sort of situation. The media will not be a priority in our decision process. 
We do not believe there is any reason to panic or make any immediate choices to shift our focus in gatherings at homes or at church. If there comes a time where this concern grows, we will consider the creative options available and make sure everyone knows of any service changes. This is a unique opportunity to lean on God and trust Him as we navigate each and every threat which would drive fear into our hearts. Instead, find hope in these verses as we walk through uncharted territory together:
• Psalm 91:5-7: You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
• Psalm 91:10-11: No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
• Luke 11:25-29 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
• John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
• John 16:33: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
• 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Our current situation is no surprise to God, and He is our source and supply now more than ever!
Let’s continue to introduce people to Jesus, and be a refuge for the broken. Miracles still happen, and they still happen here!