Dear beloved TMC,
As we continue to monitor the path of COVID-19, as well as God’s path for us in and through it (Ps 70:10-20), we want to have some additional communication with you concerning our operations as a church in the coming days.
Whenever God enables us to safely meet again, it’s our hope as elders to launch, not too long thereafter, another arm of pastoral care and discipleship for the church (see Ezek 34:1-10 & Jn 10:13; Jn 21:16; Heb 13:17). We’ll simply refer to them as pastoral visits. We’re spiritually optimistic concerning you, that every member will find this encouraging and edifying for our faith in Christ. Details will come as a launch date draws nearer.
For the time being, in order to shepherd you well during a season of social distance, we’ve thought it a providential time to begin a virtual foretaste of that pastoral aim. We plan to reach out to each of you via phone to check up on you and pray for you. We have alphabetically divided up our membership among the four elders to this end. Derek has Ackerman-Conley. John has Fabian-Henderson. George has Jenkins-Massey. I have Marshall-Wells. Hold us accountable! And please pray for us in this as we seek to steward our office well for the good of your souls and the glory of Christ.
A Call to Fast
We think it’s a good season for the church to be fasting together. Of course, for various reasons, some may not be able to fast from eating food. Charity given. For everyone else, we’re calling the church to fast during lunch on Thursdays for the foreseeable future. Extreme circumstances provide opportunity for us to exercise relatively neglected spiritual disciplines, like fasting. So let’s turn our hearts and hungers to the Lord together, asking Him to end this virus, protect those on the front lines, heal those infected, save the lost, revive the church, strengthen us, and swiftly enable us to gather again with joy around His Word and ordinances.
Our Church and the Community
We have been sought out by the Pickens County School System for the use of our parking lot in the distribution of lunches for students now without. Should they need us, we’ve offered to help.
Further, while the clothes closet has been closed off from the inside, the Risling’s have stepped up to bring that service outside to those who continue, now more than ever, to be in need. They are packing up resources and distributing them to any who show up, as well as taking them to the homes of those who regularly visit for vital supplies. Can we just praise the Lord for this self-sacrificial service that so beautifully reflects the heart of God! If you’d like to come alongside them in this ministry, please reach out to George or myself.
Small Group Gatherings
As of right now, all small groups, minus the youth’s gathering, are still full-go. That includes men’s and women’s studies and prayer. This past Wednesday, we met in the parking lot to pick up prayer guides. We then drove through our various neighborhoods to pray for them. Women’s study in Philippians will meet this Monday evening from 6:30-7:30 on the basketball court at the church facility. The next men’s meeting is not until Saturday, April 11. A charitable word to the wise: if you prefer not to attend these at this time, we understand. If you think you might be sick, don’t come. If you come and practice social distance, that makes sense. We get it.
What About Giving?
We praise the Lord that many of you have asked how you might continue to financially give cheerfully and faithfully to the ministry of the Gospel through TMC. That’s a good sign of grace in your hearts (Exod 35:30-36:7; Lk 21:1-4; Acts 4:32-37; 2 Cor 8:1-9; Phil 4:10-20)! We understand the economics of our situation. We encourage you to provide for your families (1 Tim 5:8), while continuing as you’re able to reflect the cross in your support of our Gospel ministry.
To that end, George has been working tirelessly to set us up for online giving. It’s not quite ready yet, but we hope it will be by next week. Once it is, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, you can mail your gifts to the address of our facility, 827 Old Greenville Hwy, Clemson, SC 29631. Finally, if you’d rather drop it off, one of the elders will be at the facility from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday.
Live-Streaming Corporate Worship
We will be live-streaming sermons starting tomorrow, Sunday, March 22. They will be recorded too, so that you can watch and/or listen to them at any time.
However, our desire is that we will all tune-in together at the stated time. Even though we’re not gathering physically, we’d like to be gathering mentally.
We want to keep our rhythms of grace as a church body, and we think it will be helpful for the church to know, ‘as I’m reading this call to worship, singing these songs, praying this prayer, receiving the Word preached, my siblings in Christ, TMC, they’re doing it too. We’re doing it together!’ Don’t waste your Lord’s Day mornings. If anything, use this time to accentuate them for your soul’s joy in God’s glory. Rid yourselves of things that distract (no, not your children!), rediscover methods of readying your hearts for corporate worship, and roll them over for when we begin to gather physically as one again.
The plan for tomorrow, then, is to have a bulletin to you on Slack that you can begin to work through around 11 a.m. The sermon will be live-streamed at 11:20 a.m. A link will be provided across all our media platforms for this event. Ideally, at 11, read the call to worship, sing the first two songs, pray, sing the next two, then tune-in to the live-stream. Maybe have it ready to click, or go ahead and have it opened so you don’t miss the beginning. Afterward, sing the final song.
If you know of anybody who does not have internet or cannot operate it, so long as you and they are healthy and have been relatively ‘quarantined,’ trust the Lord with prudence, and extend an invitation for them to worship with you. Lastly on this, again, let’s just praise the Lord for His servants! George and Marshall have been working late into the evenings to generate this service for us. I thank God for them. I’d invite you to also.
I’m sure we’ve missed something. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask them. We’re here for you.
“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith,” 1 Tim 1:5.
Brian (on behalf of your elders)