Category: News

A Plan of Regathering for TMC

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:5

By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you (His disciples) have love for one another.

John 13:35

In humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:3b-5a

Finally, [family], rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11

We begin this way because we always want to lead with the Bible. And we want the Bible to lead us. And particularly during a season of so much disagreement and polarization, we think it fitting to set before us the supernatural affections that ought to mark us as God’s people in Christ. We may not all agree on regathering at the stated time or the steps taken to do so in a safe and thoughtful way, but we must all agree to love and serve one another, to be others-centered, considerate, charitable, and gracious in Christ. His presence and glory are displayed in us.

So what an opportunity to display it in Spirit-ual unity. We need to be mindful, as the old Puritan said, ‘of how much Satan hath gained, and Christ’s interest hath sensibly lost, by those unhappy divisions and alienations amongst brethren, and fellow-laborers in the work of the Lord.’ Even in our day, one has remarked what a shame it would be for the church to regather only to socially distance again for lack of grace and charity. So the Puritan adds, ‘Love and union bring every believer’s gifts and graces into the common bank, and instead of monopolies, they drive a free and open trade, to the great enriching of the church.’ Against the adversary then, let’s have Christ be famous among us for our self-sacrificial love and unity.

Date for Regathering

As it stands today, we plan to regather for corporate worship in our sanctuary on Sunday, May 31.

We have not reached that decision without several hours of counsel with one another, with you, and with other pastors in our area. To be clear, some sibling churches are waiting another week or two but, as best as I can tell, for more pragmatic rather than substantive reasons. On the flip side, some churches have already begun to meet as early as a week ago, May 10.

One thing that should be noted is that some of those churches waiting another week or two are a) already regathering in parking lots and/or b) are much larger than we are at present. The size and generational dynamics for TMC are different. We are smaller and, relatively speaking, we are younger. Words for our more at-risk members will follow below.

Your pastors are in full accord about this regathering date, but will add the caveat that, should more solid information come out concerning cases in our area between now and Saturday, May 30, we will be sure to make you aware of any delay in regathering for corporate worship. Again, the goal right now is Sunday, May 31.

Details for Regathering

What follows details our commitment to regathering safely:

Sanitization. Amy has already cleaned her way through the church facility, sanitizing major touch points. Give her her due praise! A couple of notes for you: one, the cafe will not be operative this summer. Two, if you bring your own coffee and/or breakfast, you are accountable for sanitizing your area. This will keep Amy and others from unnecessarily having to put themselves in the path of your germs. Three, musicians, before you leave service, do your best to sanitize your touch points. Four, if possible, if we could have a couple of deacons and/or anybody else willing to stay after service and sanitize the building, that would be quite helpful. Five, there will be hand sanitizer placed throughout the building.

Seating. In order to be more spaced out, we will be temporarily removing seats from the sanctuary. We will also require families to sit together throughout the service. Finally, in order to mitigate the spread of a virus that can be asymptomatic and, yet, live on certain things for up to and beyond two weeks, we think it prudent to assign seating during this season. This way, hopefully, if a carrier attended service the week before, someone else won’t sit in their seat the next week and contract the virus. So on May 31, find a seat, mark it somehow, and make it yours until further notice.

Sermon outlines. These will be placed in the rows to mitigate many hands going to one place.

Service length. In an attempt to decrease the likelihood of germ-sharing, we will shorten corporate worship. Temporarily, we will move back to four instead of five songs. We will not have a time of offering in service. We won’t be passing the box. The offering boxes will be left at the front of the sanctuary. You are free to worship in giving by simply dropping your offering in that box before or just after service. I will also continue to make myself available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, in order to receive any offerings you’d like to bring at that time. Lastly, we will do our best to shorten the length of sermons. Please pray for me!

Meeting and greeting. There will be no ‘meet and greet’ during service until further notice. As far as hanging out with one another (which we love and commend), this needs to be done outside the church’s facility. In other words, as you arrive on Sunday mornings, fellowship outside as much as you can. After the service, don’t hang around in the sanctuary. Move the fellowship outside. We will be sure to include this in the announcements each week.

Welcome, hospitality, and masks. It is our recommendation that every non-infant person, member and visitor, attending our service for corporate worship wear a mask. It was brought to my attention by other pastors that singing, in particular, could project the viral spores up to 13 feet! So again, to prevent this possibility, we recommend wearing masks.

Those leading in teaching, praying, singing, etc., will not wear masks while serving in these ways. If you serve on our welcome team, you need to wear gloves, as well as a mask. You will also need to offer a mask to any visitor. The church is doing it. We’d appreciate our visitors doing it for the sake of the church. We have placed an order on disposable masks. We hope to have those by May 31. In the event they are slow coming to us, go ahead and plan to have your own. I think they even have some Clemson-branded bandanas now! Until service actually begins, we do also suggest keeping the front doors of the sanctuary open, both to minimize touch points and to allow for outside air within the facility.

Online services. We will continue to visually record the call to worship, pastoral prayer, and sermon. We will not be live-streaming the service. We will put what’s been recorded in a playlist and post that to Slack and Facebook as soon as possible. With this in mind, a word to our more at-risk members (60+ years of age and/or immuno-compromised):

We love you. We completely understand if you are hesitant to regather. We completely understand if you refrain from regathering for a time. No one will think ill of you. No one will judge or shame you. As we await a more suitable time of return, we will commit to praying for you, keeping you ‘in the loop’, and attending to the care of your souls.

You will not be forgotten or neglected. Your elected leaders will see to it! And we are confident the whole body will follow suit! Church, what an opportunity to get creative, to expand our arsenal of Christian hospitality, service, and care; to think beyond the Lord’s Day gathering to how we might extend fellowship and relief to every day to every one of our members; to be the church.

Common sense. Beloved, wash your hands a lot. If you or anyone in your family happen to get sick, stay home. Don’t ‘brave it.’ Love the church by staying home. What’s written just above applies here also.

Families with children. Our plan for the children is a bit more phased. For at least the first few weeks of regathering, corporate worship will be family worship, like those fifth Sundays. Again, families will sit together, parents and children. As far as infants go, we will not be having nursery until further notice. Our suggestion is that dad or mom keep infant in the cafe area. This will keep infants from swapping germs, ideally restricting them to their parents. We will broadcast the service to the television in the cafe area for viewing.

We know that this might be the most difficult service of all, but it will help the service, confine the germs and, Lord willing, only be short-term. You parents are awesome! We love you! Our hope, then, is that after a few weeks, as we head into mid-summer, the older kids can begin to resume normal activities during corporate worship. At first, this will be done outside on or around the basketball court. We will be working with Amy to make sure this can be done safely, securely, profitably, and with parent approval. While children are in service, we will also continue to put together packets to profit their heart’s attention.

Small groups. As we begin to regather for corporate worship, we will begin to regather for our small groups. Again, if you’re uncomfortable with that, we understand. Grace to you. But as the days grow longer and hotter, there will be greater opportunity for resuming these studies outside if deemed most prudent.

Final Thoughts

In the event that one of our members contracts the virus, we will of course suspend all gatherings for at least 3 weeks. Let’s pray that doesn’t happen. Let’s pray that our merciful Father will preserve us, soul and body. Let’s pray He does this for our benefit and His glory. I trust you’ve missed corporate worship, gathering with the body, as much, if not more, than I have! Thinking about regathering, even if strangely still for a time, makes me extremely excited and grateful to God! I praise Him that He’s kept us safe to date! I pray He’ll keep us so in the days ahead. Will you join me in that? I know you will!

Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

It’s with great love and hope and expectation in the Lord that we write these things to you.

TMC elders

Maundy Thursday

Beloved TMC,

We’ve arrived at Maundy Thursday! I wanted to let you know the plan for Easter Sunday. We had planned to do live music and preaching with the help of Zoom, but with increased restrictions amid the pandemic, as well as the desire to make our service to you as smooth as possible, we’ve decided against that plan. We will pre-record the sermon and create the Youtube playlist for you as we did last Sunday.

We do, however, want to have a time of virtual gathering Easter morning. It is likely that we will continue this moving forward in an effort to see each other and pray together ahead of our participation in ‘corporate’ worship. To this end, we will have a church-wide Zoom meeting from 10:30-10:50 a.m. or thereabouts.

In order to facilitate this, we will create break out ‘rooms’ that keep the groups to a more conversational size. Consider it an opportunity to greet and pray together in view of worship. Additional details will be forthcoming. For now, take a mental note, frequent Slack, and get excited about more interaction this coming Sunday.

A few other items for your consideration:

  1. Is there anyone in the church body without the means or know-how to participate in this kind of on-line activity? Reach out to them and see how you can be of help in equipping them for this. If that’s not possible, reach out to them by phone or email and be the community they would otherwise miss.
  2. We all have unbelieving family and friends (and enemies). I’m sure we also know a fair amount of disbelieving, disassociated believers. How can you connect them to Christ this Easter Sunday? How can you promote the Gospel ministry of TMC for their benefit? Maybe, you can share the playlist from this coming Sunday and e-chat with them about it afterward. Maybe, you can share the blog posts planned for later this week and follow up with them. You can certainly reach out to them and ask how you might pray for them, or if they’ve given any thought recently to the vital veracity of Christ crucified and raised. Whatever it is, let’s create ways to get Christ to souls and souls to Christ in these days.
  3. Would you pray for me and your elders and deacons? I know I need it. I need ‘a closer walk with Jesus.’ I want to know, as Paul told us in Philippians, His resurrection power. I want to be more like Him in His death, more for Him in my life. My spirits are down of late. So, more than anything, I long to feel the fact that He is above! I desire the peace, the courage, the joy, the Christ-centered-ness that comes from the knowledge that Jesus is risen! And not just for a day, but increasingly in all my days. For this, I and we covet your prayers.

As always, 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)

Reflections and Updates

Dear saints,

While there hasn’t been a lot of time to spend in reflection amid attempts to faithfully adjust to this season as a family and a church, I did happen to squeeze out a walk today and, with it, the following reflections:

I miss our physical gathering

At the same time I thank God for the means He’s given for us to continue having edifying face-time, I feel compelled to say what I hope you all are feeling—virtual’s not the same. In an church age when virtual church is all the rage, I’ve grown stronger in my conviction that such a rage only betrays an impoverished ecclesiology (understanding of the church). We are the church most brilliantly when we gather or assemble, face to face, in that foretaste of heavenly fellowship.

As I mentioned at the outset of last week’s sermon, there is an incarnational blessing to be had in Christian worship, communion, and ministry that simply cannot be had through a set of screens between shepherds and sheep that hardly know each other. Just think about our normal gathering on Sunday mornings. How many graces occur that we simply take for granted until they’re no longer occurring for lack of gathering—how many holy smiles, hugs, encouragements, alignments, affirmations, assurances, how much heightening of prayer, of music, of truths sung, preached, received, and discussed?

It’s significant. I hope you feel it. I hope this season is refining your ecclesiology, the importance of the gathered assembly of Christ in your life. Learn by social distancing to long for corporate worship on the Lord’s Day (Heb 10:24-25), like a festival of resurrected souls after a week out and amongst the spiritually dead.

I’ve been floored by the service of your elected leaders

Your deacons and elders and staff (and others) have worked remarkably behind the scenes in an effort to serve our joy and confidence in the Lord in this strange time. George and Marshall have put in hours to make sure we maintain a regular diet of the Word preached. With George, Derek and John have done an exemplary job, much in secret, of managing the TMC household to peace and edification.

Bronson and Amy have made sure that the facility and a host of other things having to do with our day to day operations have received due care. Rodney and Stephanie have continued to give up their Saturday mornings to preserve the ministry of our clothes’ closet. David Conley has kept an able-eye on the songs we sing in this season. Shane has been steadfast in keeping our grounds well-manicured.

And I’ve spoken to others who, more distanced from the church’s life by this present trial, have expressed their longing to find ways to serve her still! It’s a beautiful thing for this needy pastor to see. No better air to breathe than the one that’s filled with the aroma of Christ, the church aromatic in self-sacrificial service.

Your generosity has been overwhelming

In my initial letter concerning our direction in view of this pandemic, I challenged us from 2 Corinthians 8:1-9. There, we find a church undergoing great distress, impoverishing trials, who were yet doing what we might not expect given the circumstances. Their extreme poverty plus their extreme joy overflowed in a wealth of eager, cheerful, self-sacrificial generosity. Paul calls it a work of grace. Christian giving, rooted in what Christ has done for us, as well as our love for Him and His people, is supernatural in nature. It’s a grace in which we’re called to be excellent. And to date, you have been excellent! Let’s continue to excel in this grace of cross-beholding generosity. A thought in practice:

No need to dive into the details, but our government has approved a stimulus package in light of a sharp economic recession. As I’ve maintained, if the pandemic has crippled your familial income and any stimulus monies you receive can offset that loss, by all means, offset it. Provide for you family (1 Tim 5:8). A challenge, though, (not original to me) for those who are essentially fiscally unaffected. Trust the Lord, and receive it to give it (Acts 20:35; 2 Cor 9:6-15) to those entities that need it.

As one example, I have a pastor friend with five children and another in the womb who was just forced to resign his post by members of the church who rebuffed at the biblical ministry he was bringing. And then, even in the pursuit of a normal job, this pandemic hit. They could use the support.

I’m sure you know of others in the service industry, etc. who have lost their jobs. They could use the support. Or you could simply donate it to the church’s ministry of the Gospel, entrusting it to the body, in the vein of a mercy fund, for the alleviation of needs in the church and/or community. But the point is, provided financial solvency, it’s hardly the time to receive for self, but to give to others (1 Jn 3:16-17).

It’s as good a time as any to recover family worship

Sadly, family worship, assumed in the Bible, cannot be assumed in the church today. For various reasons, gathering together as a husband, wife, and kids around the Word and prayer and song is no longer a prioritized item on our daily schedules. But it should be, at least a couple times a week. One wonders the difference it would make in marriages, in families, in the lives of our children, in the life of the church, in the success of the Great Commission for generations to come if we were to recover a passion for the ministry of the Word in our homes.

In my home, I’ll let you know this happens about 2-3 times a week, not including the Lord’s Day where we gather with the body for corporate worship. These times are very informal. In fact, it often looks counter-intuitive to learning. That’s okay. Try to tame the wild things, but don’t get discouraged if you can’t. The simple act of attempting to sit the Word in the midst of your day and family teaches. As far as teaching, we just completed the Psalms. It only took 3 years! But it builds. We and our kids retain more than we might imagine at first. Keep it at.

As far as practice, we pull out the Oreos. I open to a text. I read said text. I then ask each child, very simply, what stuck out to you in the text? What do you think is God’s main point? If application rears its head, we do that. But the tangents are equally valuable. It’s amazing what the Lord will bring up for conversation. Address it. Follow the rabbit trails, then bring it back to the text for prayer. Pray.

And if you have time and attention, Youtube a song or two. Sing. It takes 15-20 minutes, but has an abiding impact. If you’d like to talk more about this, I’d love to have that chat and offer further resources for equipping. When we can’t gather together for worship, it’s a good time for families to do so, and the church will prove stronger for it!

Church life updates

In that initial notice to the church, we said we’d be suspending services through Sunday, March 29. That’s tomorrow. You may now assume we will be suspending services until further notice. Lord, let it be sooner rather than later! Small group studies will continue to meet, assuming all acts of prudence.

Lastly, we tried live-streaming the sermon last week. The feedback we’ve received from you suggests that’s not the most user-friendly or edifying experience. So we will return this Sunday to pre-recording the sermon and posting it on all our social media platforms by 11:00 a.m., pending the internet’s cooperation.

The goal remains the same. It’s our desire that we continue to gather together mentally for corporate worship, that we keep our rhythms of grace as a church, that while we’re apart, we’re yet with each other, around the Word, before the throne, in heart and spirit. So I’ll be sending out the bulletin today for ‘service’ tomorrow. Please make every attempt to assemble with and as the Body at 11 a.m. for this ‘family meal.’

Longing to see each of you, healthy and healthy in the Lord.

Brian (on behalf of your elders)

A New Week

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.

Pastoral Care

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)

Urgent Letter to The Mount Church

Dear beloved TMC,

As I’m sure you’re aware, our world is in the middle of a pandemic. There is a coronavirus called SARS Covid-2 tragically making its way through the global population, producing in the infected the disease now known as COVID-19. It is a respiratory disease. As of March 11, it’s spread to more than 115 countries, resulting in 126,300 cases (N).

Of these cases, 90% have produced only minor conditions. Almost, 4,700 people have died worldwide, mostly outside of the US. The New England Journal of Medicine projects a 1% mortality rate when all is said and done. For comparison, the now ‘common’ flu has a mortality rate of 0.1%. It also has a vaccination, whereas this strain of the coronavirus does not. It is mostly acute in it’s aggravations amongst the elderly and the immuno-compromised.

Coronavirus is transmitted through small droplets of liquid from coughs or sneezes, and by touching things these droplets have touched. It enters the body through the mouth, nose, or eyes, and has an incubation period between 2-14 days. The longer incubation period is particularly troubling. It gives folks license to move around for nearly two weeks without any symptoms when, unfortunately, they’ve been carriers of the virus to, potentially, anyone they’ve been around.

For this reason, the informed powers that be are calling for social distancing. The idea, well-proven by graphs from the Spanish flu of 1918, is that the sooner the general populace takes appropriate precautions, the greater likelihood that the virus will be relatively contained and lives spared. The other consideration in this is that we only have so many hospital beds and ventilators in the US. If by negligence, we let the virus spike, hospitals will be overrun, and the fallout will be devastating.


After consultation with other area pastors, we will be canceling corporate worship in our regular meeting space through the end of March. That includes tomorrow, Sunday, March 15, Sunday, March 22, and Sunday, March 29. Know that we are closely monitoring the situation, so that if at any time the situation changes for the better, this decision can and will be amended. Likewise, if it continues to worsen, we will have to extend this suspension. At the present hour, however, this route seems to be most wise and charitable to one another and our broader community.


Your elders will be meeting this Tuesday to further address our response as a church to this pandemic, hopefully, with greater light being shed upon it in the coming days. More immediately, in consideration of the age of those who most consistently serve in our Clothes Closet, it’s deemed best that this service to our broader community also be suspended indefinitely. It also seems to be wisest to rescind our participation in DNOW, as well as cancel our discipleship quarterly scheduled for the evening of Sunday, March 29. We will also be suspending the non-church specific women’s study on Tuesday evenings.

Here are some further, initial thoughts in light of this two-week suspension of corporate worship:

  1. The suspension of corporate worship is not the suspension of ‘church.’ It’s the suspension of the church’s larger corporate gathering, but we, as the church, will continue to exist and act as such, however creatively during this suspension. In other words,
  2. We will make ways to gather, to hold community, to pray together, to hear the Word preached, to disciple and care for one another in such a way that, Lord willing, we can reconvene without having skipped a beat in our Gospel life and ministry together. Praise God for electronic means of grace! We will seek to at least record sermons to be sent out to the body on the Lord’s Day.
  3. Even in the event of a suspension of corporate worship, we will likely still continue our smaller group gatherings, our men’s and women’s studies, our youth gatherings, and our mid-week prayer meeting, again, applying the love of precautionary measures. Let’s just be prudent, discerning, and charitable with respect to and in these gatherings. Take exceptional measures of love, especially in exceptional times. During this time, these studies will occur as regularly scheduled, but be moved out of homes and into the church building.
  4. Use any time away from the priority of corporate worship (Heb 10:24-25) to do what we should always be doing—reconnect with other priorities that we might’ve neglected, i.e., family worship, loving our spouses, missional parenting, biblical Christianity over against the more cultural version, etc.
  5. Rest assured that your elders and deacons will be in regular communication about needs within the body and how we can best provide the holistic care each one of us needs in Christ. Again, most immediately, be advised to wash, wash, wash your hands with soap and water—for at least 20 seconds! It’s not in the Bible, but in this case we might even say that ‘cleanliness really is next to godliness.’ It’s hard, I know, I’ve tried, but work on not touching your face. Disinfect objects and surfaces regularly. And for a season, try your best to avoid close contact with people who are ill.


In view of these uncharted waters, I do also want to briefly bring the Word to bear upon it:

  1. Neither fear, nor be anxious (Lk 12:22-34; Phil 4:6-7). Church, at the end of the day, God is in control of every viral spore in the universe, as well as every hair upon your head. Jesus upholds the universe by the Word of His power (Heb 1:3). All coheres in Him (Col 1:17). More, He is for you. And when He’s for you, many things may be against you (Rom 8:35-39), but no thing ultimately (Rom 8:28, 31, 39). If you’re in Christ, the worst this virus can do is kill you—and deliver you to God’s ‘tearless, painless, graveless’ Land (Rev 21:4). But you can trust that that’s in our God’s Almighty hands. He’s ordained all our days. He’s not threatened by this. Take heart, comfort, and courage in Him (Isa 41:10).
  2. As this ought to keep us from collapsing all our care upon ourselves, let’s understand how great an opportunity this is to be the God-glorifying salt and light of Jesus to one another and to our broader community. People are scared. They are anxious. Many, maybe even of us, may struggle to stay afloat as schools and businesses close their doors. But their will be struggles. Bearing in mind all the prudence mentioned above, let’s step into those struggles and bear one another’s burdens. Call it the Galatians 6:10 principle. As we discover any member in need, insofar as we can, let love fill it. As we then discover any neighbor in need, insofar as we can, let love meet it. Maybe it’s providing childcare, maybe a meal, maybe counsel, maybe community, maybe room and board, maybe all of the above but, as biblical Christianity has historically done, let’s step into need with the cross-bearing, self-sacrificial love of Jesus.
  3. Related to this, let’s take opportunity by tragedy to obey the Great Commission (Mt 28-16-20). People are going to have questions. In conversations with some, there’s already an openness to the sort of talk that lends itself to the Gospel. That door will open wider if and when the trial grows and we are yet distinct from the world in ultimate hope, in grieving with hope, in helping others to our own hurt, like Jesus. Let’s walk through it in the vein of Colossians 4:5-6.
  4. Let’s pray (1 Tim 2:1-4). Let’s pray that our God would quickly end this pandemic, that the spread would be slowed, that the sick would be healed, that hospitals would be able to serve at capacity, that medical professionals would be given grace in the best application of their craft, that others would find a suitable cure at miraculous speed, that the racism against Asian-Americans, recently revived because of this, would be quickly quenched in favor of love, and that this global trial would yield it’s God-ordained fruit. That many would be saved from their sins, and that the church global, but particularly in the US, and even our own local body, would be awakened and revived out of any spiritual stupor that’s hindered our zeal for the glory of Christ and universal faithfulness to His Word and Gospel.
  5. It’s likely to be harder to worship God in giving. Provide for your families, no doubt. But don’t let fiscal tightness or the suspension of corporate worship tighten up or suspend the heart for giving to the church’s ministry of the Gospel. Let’s take the Macedonian church as our example (2 Cor 8:1-9)! Then, further, continue to discern needs in the area that you might be able to meet. In the coming days, I plan to reach out to other churches and community centers to learn of ways in which we can be of help to those who are hurting around us.
  6. Apply Job’s faith. ‘Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive calamity?’ Both types of providence are gifts from God, however distinct they feel to us. Remember God’s purpose in what we’ve been covering—it’s to show that saving faith will endure the greatest trials because God Himself has given it and He sustains it. And that this brings Him glory, displays it before all the cosmos—that He is truly enough for us! See the breath that is our life, the vanity that is so much of our idolatry, and get back to using our ‘breath’ according to it’s divine purpose—in treasuring our eternal God in Christ by the Spirit above all else!


Heavenly Father, we pray for wisdom from above in these days. Help us to know how best to proceed as Your people, how best to live for Your glory. Give us a great degree of charity towards one another as we make difficult decisions that impact our typical rhythms as a church. Enable our hearts to swell with cross-beholding love for one another. Make us rich in grace towards outsiders. Bless our efforts at impacting our community for it’s greater good, as well as it’s greatest good in Jesus. End this pandemic. Accomplish Your purpose. Draw near to the distressed. Be present with Your people. Save the lost. Build Your church. Edify The Mount, refining us to more brightly reflect Your glory in this world. We ask this and so much more, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

As you have any need, know that I will continue to frequent my office at the church building, while continuing a steady presence on Slack, Facebook, and my phone. Love to each of you in our risen and reigning Lord until, in His mercy, we’re able to gather together as a whole body again in the worship of Him,

Brian (on behalf of your elders)