Updated: Jun 27, 2020
Pine Grove’s “reassembling” to date Since March, I've been meeting or communicating with our Deacons and Brother Jim several times each month to discuss phasing in different parts of our traditional activities. Here is our progress since May:
- In early May, we safely restarted in-person 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning worship assembly in the sanctuary. - On June 7, we safely restarted in-person 10:00 a.m. Sunday School as one big gathering in the sanctuary. - On June 10, we safely restarted in-person Wednesday evening Bible Study assemblies as one big gathering in the sanctuary. At each assembly we have social distancing by household, and we are very deliberate in cleaning / spraying disinfectant between Sunday & Wednesday activities. My thanks to our Safety Team for their leadership in following proper protocols.
Today's local current COVID-19 situation
In the last 10 days we've seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in Henderson County. The TN.gov website reports 27 cases in our county, and other sources report 28 cases. This is a concerning, but not alarming, spike in cases. Henderson County’s numbers are still very low when compared to Madison County and the two major metro areas just 100 miles west and east of us. We should all continue to offer prayers of thanksgiving, and prayers of comfort for people who are being impacted by the virus in many ways, here and in other areas.
Celebration, Caution, & Prayer
The first weekend of July is our nation’s Independence Day weekend. Many of our citizens will travel out of town, and others will attend area fireworks shows. Visitors from other areas may come here to celebrate. If people come in contact with a contagious person, and if proper guidelines are not followed, we could see another spike of COVID-19 in the days after the holiday. Please join me in prayers for our leaders and front-line teams, that this will not occur.
Reassembling: Staying Our Course
Exercising caution and continuing to look out for our more medically-vulnerable members, we’re going to “stay the course” and hold off on further stages of reopening until well after the July 4th weekend. We will continue to provide online broadcasts through Facebook and our website at https://www.pinegrovebctn.org/services
I’ve been reviewing our financial documents. We’re very grateful for the gifts we received by mail or which were dropped off in-person after suspending worship in March. Our tithes & offerings for March and April were down considerably (as they were at nearly all churches). When we resumed on-site worship service, many members brought saved-up tithes and offerings as acts of worship, giving us a very wonderful May offering total. Please remember that for safety reasons, we are receiving tithes and offerings using a special box in the foyer of the church. We are also accepting checks by mail: Pine Grove Baptist Church 16811 Highway 22 N Wildersville, TN 38388
If we simply compare offerings from March/June 2019 to offerings of March/June 2020 we see a discouraging picture. However, we also had fewer expenses during these months which helped our "profit & loss" situation. Most every church accepts the need for budget items to be adjusted moving forward, and for planning ahead. Our mighty God “owns the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalms 50:10) and He is never without resources. All that is, belongs to Him. Not long ago, we were blessed to sell some trees from our campus for lumber. We’re also blessed our Finance Committee has guided our church to make longer-term investments. We serve a Lord Who sees what is coming and can meet our needs in advance. We can (and do) trust Him in all things, and we are grateful to Him for His provision.
Continuing to help evangelism & missions
Despite struggles, you will be happy to know Pine Grove continues to provide important support to missions and evangelism, supplying gifts to the Cooperative Program and the Beech River Baptist Association.
Electronic outreach continues
We expanded our “reach” by broadcasting messages online when the virus struck in March. This week's Wednesday Bible Study broadcast has already been seen, all or in part, by 100 people on Facebook in less than 48 hours! Our website traffic continues to grow, and 60% of our web visitors this week are seeing our site for the first time. I’m exploring several online giving options and hope to have more to share about this in July.
We also began our Church Text Messaging in recent months. With this tool, we can contact everyone with a single Pine Grove text message (without being troubled by seeing everyone’s replies)! To sign up, visit: https://app.flocknote.com/group/419198/addToGroupFromOutside
Each local church makes its own decisions in these areas. We have exercised wisdom and caution, but our Lord is mighty and we have not allowed ourselves to be paralyzed by fear. We have done some things to reassemble earlier than many churches, yet we have delayed in other areas because of safety considerations. We will continue to protect our people as we make decisions about reassembling.
May our Lord continue to bless you, and may we be grateful that if we are in His Kingdom, He will continue to safeguard our salvation!
- Pastor David Skorupa Hebrews 13:20-21