Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In recent days, Pastor Deven and I have been closely monitoring the information and events concerning the COVID-19 virus. We have prayed much and also have been continually communicating with other pastors and church leaders in our area and state. While some of the sister churches in our area and state are choosing to gather for corporate worship this Lord’s Day, a number of congregations are suspending their normal Sunday morning worship gatherings. After much prayer, we also think suspending our regular Sunday morning corporate worship is the wisest and most loving course of action for our church and our community at this time. This is an incredibly difficult decision to make. We have reached it only after prayer and consulting many voices of wise counsel. What this means, brothers and sisters, is that we will not be gathering for worship this coming Lord’s Day, Sunday, March 15. Instead we are exploring other ways to broadcast our Sunday morning service. We will communicate more about this soon. We will also communicate this message in other ways to our members who are less likely to use email. In addition to suspending corporate worship this Sunday, we will also suspend all other church activities. This means that until further notice we are also suspending the following:
- Sunday School
- Wednesday prayer meeting
- Youth Bible Study
- Southwest Indiana Student Fellowship
- Plainfield Health Care Outreach
There are a number of factors and events that moved us to this decision. Earlier this week, Indiana University announced that it is suspending all classroom instruction. Other colleges, universities, institutions for higher learning in our state have followed suit. On Wednesday evening, the SBC’s flagship academic institution, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, announced that it is suspending all on campus courses and transitioning to safer online class alternatives for the remainder of the semester. Our convention’s other five seminaries are each taking similar action. As you also likely know, public schools in Hendricks County and other neighboring counties are suspending all regular classes.
The global and national concern has obviously impacted our decision as well. On Friday, President Trump declared a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Brothers and sisters, we share this with you, not to stir up panic, but to help you understand just how seriously we are considering this critical issue.
Here are some of our deepest pastoral concerns concerning COVID-19:
1) The symptoms of this virus can remain mild—and even undetectable—for two weeks. As far as we are currently aware, no one in our church family has contracted this virus. Even so, it is critically important for us to understand that the symptoms of COVID-19 can lie dormant for many days before appearing. In light of this, we need to recognize that a member or visitor might show no present signs of COVID-19, and yet unknowingly expose people in our congregation to the virus upon entering our building.
2) This virus is overwhelmingly most threatening and devastating to senior citizens. All the information coming from the CDC and our nation’s leading medical professionals indicates senior citizens are the people at greatest risk for COVID-19. Plainfield Baptist Church has a significant number of faithful older members who statistically fall under the age demographic that is at greatest risk for this virus. Our sincere pastoral concern for these precious elderly members makes us reluctant to risk exposing them to a virus they are statistically most vulnerable to according to the counsel of our country’s leading health experts.
3) As Christians, we have biblical and moral obligations to consider the physical wellbeing of our non-Christian friends and neighbors. Not only do we not want to run the risk of exposing our members to this virus, but should someone in our church carry the virus, we also don’t want to endanger our non-Christian neighbors who we might come into contact with. Postponing our corporate gatherings right now is an act of love and concern for the physical well being of non-Christian neighbors who don’t yet know Jesus and his saving mercy.
So what should we do during this troubled moment?
On Thursday, Ronnie Floyd, The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee President, along with other SBC entity leaders, called upon the members of our convention’s churches to unite for a “Day of Prayer for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Pandemic.” Last night, President Trump called on our nation to a national day of prayer this Sunday. So how should we pray during this time? Pray that God would show his mercy on our world and nation in eradicating this virus. Pray also that non-Christians would see how this virus exposes the frailty of life and certainty of death in this fallen world. Serious as it is, this virus is not the deepest thing that threatens people. Pray that the Lord would move his Church to share the hope of the gospel to our non-Christian friends and neighbors in these days.
- Rest in the peace of God’s sovereign care for us
This disease is a serious matter—and our God is in no way threatened by it. King Jesus is sovereign and He sits on his throne. Remember the promise of Romans 8:35 “35 Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Rom 8:35).
We are currently exploring online giving options for our church at this time. You and your family can also mail a check to our church’s physical address:
Plainfield Baptist Church
1575 Reeves Rd
Plainfield, IN 46168
I love you and am continuing to pray for you and your family in these days. I will leave you with the words of our Lord Jesus: “Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
In HIS grip,