An Important Update From The Elders at Five Points
Dear Five Points family~
Everything in life can change in an instant. And things can continue to change throughout the day. As we face the current COVID-19 pandemic, news of closures, bans, market fluctuations, and medical updates can make what we knew and thought yesterday irrelevant. We do not know what tomorrow, let alone the next hour, will bring.
So I want to begin with a few truths that will never be irrelevant, no matter when you find yourself reading this. There is a God who does all that He pleases and accomplishes all of His purposes. He works all things for the good of those who love Him. This God purposed to redeem a people from sin and death for His glory. The Father planned from before the foundations of the world this redemption. The Son accomplished this redemption through becoming man, living perfectly, dying substitutionally, and rising victorious from the dead. The Spirit applies this salvation to all of God's people so not one of them will be lost. Our heavenly Father reigns over all in loving sovereignty, Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power, and the Spirit comforts, encourages, and strengthens His people by exalting Christ and conforming us into His image.
Therefore, we do not fear. It's not that there is nothing to fear, but rather as we fix our minds on all that is true, our fears fall into proper perspective. It's not that there is nothing to worry about, but rather as we have a heavenly Father who takes care of sparrows, a heavenly Father who did not hold back His very own Son for us, we have every reason to trust Him to take care of us through whatever path He leads us on. And even when our lives come to an end, it is not death to die for those who are in Christ Jesus, for death has lost its sting through Jesus' conquering resurrection.
The elders thank you for your continued prayers as we've sought God in prayer, received recommendations from local officials, and had conversations with like-minded churches and organizations over how we will lead Five Points in dealing with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus) and COVID-19 (the disease). We've also heard from local medical professionals, both in our membership and outside of it. We've carefully considered many government releases and helpful articles. Among the most relevant for our decision-making were the following:
- Michigan Department of Health release
- Gospel Coalition's helpful summary of Andy Crouch's helpful and carefully researched guide for churches
- Flattening The Curve For COVID-19 from the University of Michigan Health Lab
- 9Marks What Should Churches Do About Coronavirus and How Churches Responded In The Past
In light of all this, we are postponing corporate worship this Sunday, as well as all in-person church gatherings (small groups, Bible studies, ministry functions, etc.) through Saturday, March 21. We've begun to prepare not only for livestream services, but to hold worship safely for groups of 100 and less in our building. As soon as we are able to do so, on-site corporate worship will resume. We will continue to keep you informed of our progress in the coming days. Tomorrow, you will receive a service order for personal or family worship in your home. We're also preparing devotionals and will share resources from other churches and organizations to help us plod along together and fix our eyes on Christ until we're able to do so safely again with one another.
You may believe this goes beyond reason, or that maybe this course of action is a drastic overstep. We've considered that as well. In fact, I personally did not believe I would be writing this email today, nor any time soon. So let me briefly state two important elements of this decision. First, the elders are not government or medical professionals. We don't have the competency, skill set, nor all the information our government does to make decisions on our own or to confidently disregard their recommendations. And this is a temporary postponement to join our government and community in greatly loving our neighbors by mitigating the spread of the virus and disease until we have time to prepare and implement protocols to host corporate worship within government guidelines. Secondly, the sixth commandment states: "You shall not murder." This is not only a prohibition of killing, but this is also a command to preserve, protect, and seek the flourishing of all life, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or age. Five Points is a pro-life community, not only for the pre-born, but for all people from womb to grave. This is an opportunity for us to selflessly serve at-risk sections of our population, including those within our local church.
Towards that end, we will be coordinating ministry teams beginning today to help serve our body and our neighbors. This is a time to join together to help each other out with food and necessities, to be a witness to a shelf-clearing, hoarding world that it is better to give than receive, even in uncertain times. As public schools have closed in Detroit, we've contacted Restore Church and Cornerstone Church in Detroit to offer our assistance to their families, especially those whose children's main meal of the day came from school lunch programs. The Five Points office will remain open during our normal hours. The elders will be available to minister personally as requested. If you have a need, please do not hesitate to call or email the office, or notify your small group leader, or a fellow member or attendee of Five Points. We ask you to continue to give from what the Lord has given to you as we will continue to minister and serve. We will send out ways you can assist, minister, and pray as we seek to minister the love of Christ in the weeks to come.
Brothers and sisters, this is not a time to panic nor fear. This is an opportunity for the light of the gospel and the glory of Christ to shine. When shelves are empty, economies uncertain, and the fragility of life on full display, what a moment we have as God's people to live from the abundance we have in Christ, the certain hope we have in His salvation, and the security that is ours through the gracious, loving, sovereign hands of our God!
Grace and peace to you all in the powerful name of Jesus,
Pastor JJ on behalf of the Elders