Elders’ Update on Sunday Services
City Bible Church Members & Attenders:
In the last few days, the leadership of City Bible has been diligently praying, researching, seeking counsel, and discussing how to lead our church in the midst of the COVID-19 situation. We had an emergency meeting last night to decide what to do for this upcoming Sunday.
The Plan for This Sunday
As leaders we have three biblical principles that have governed our discussions; our desire was to make a decision that would honor all three.
- Our priority to corporately gather (Hebrews 10:24-25)
- Our willingness to honor & submit to the government (Romans 13:1-7)
- Our desire to love our neighbor (Mark 12:31)
- Yesterday, our Governor upgraded his recommendation to cancel gatherings of 250+ people to a full mandate.
- Along with that, the Mayor of Sacramento is proposing to cancel the permits of all 250+ attendee events in the city.
- Currently at CBC, we have over 600+ individuals on a regular Sunday.
- From Saturday to Wednesday Sacramento Unified School District is cancelling all events due to extensive cleaning. It will be extremely challenging to find another location last minute.
After much prayer, discussion, and counsel… In respect for our government officials, the restrictions of the district for this weekend, and out of an abundance of caution, we believe that the most loving thing for our church family is to focus on moving our corporate worship service online for this Sunday.
We do not take this decision lightly. Out of love for our neighbors, the testimony in our community, and our willingness to submit to the government, we believe this is the best decision to stay faithfully balanced between the 3 principles listed above. We do not believe that the government is calling us to violate God’s Word, but to take a precaution for this short period of time. This is only a temporary plan for City Bible Church.
Since we are a Grace Community Church plant, we sought counsel and approval from Grace Community elders in L.A. Grace Community will only be live-streaming their service for the rest of the Sundays in March (no on-campus meetings), their action further solidified our decision to move forward.
So here is a basic description of what this means for this Sunday:
- Starting this Sunday we will be moving to an online service at 10:00am. The link will emailed to you, posted on Facebook, and available through the CBC website. We encourage you to watch with your family, gather with your Community Group, or even invite another family over (if you are healthy). We will have our typical order of service (including singing). Once again, the Hiram Johnson campus will be closed for this Sunday.
- All equipping classes will be cancelled on Sunday.
- Regarding Community Groups, they will continue as usual for now. But the leadership is planning to meet on Monday to discuss this. Of course, we encourage all of you to use “best practices” when interacting with others (i.e. good handwashing, covering all coughing, staying home if you are feeling unwell, etc.).
- As of now the school district’s cancellation of all events is only for this weekend until Wednesday (for cleaning). In the coming weeks, if the district allows for us to still meet (under 250 people) at Hiram Johnson, we will send out a sign-up list and those who desire will be able to attend on Sunday morning. With the balcony open and a limited amount of people in attendance (180-200), there should be more than enough space for the 6 foot rule. There will be no Sunday School or nursery if this was to be an option for future Sundays. We will also be considering other options to have a hybrid approach, meeting of 200 in a physical space & live-streaming to the rest. Please keep praying about this for the coming weeks.
We understand that the spread of this virus is a fluid situation, so we ask for your prayer and patience as all of this unfolds.
Faith Not Fear
In this season our priority as believers is to walk in faith, trust the Lord, and fight the temptation to become anxious.
We read in Philippians 4:5-7
“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Paul reminds us of this truth because our tendency is be anxious. Yet God’s concern in the midst of this trial is for us to cling to Him and trust in Him. In a time when people are fearful and worried, it can be a powerful testimony for them that we put our hope in the Lord (1 Peter 3:15).
Like we learned last Sunday from 1 Kings 19, we worship a sovereign God whose rule extends over every area of life. We can be confident that He works all things out for the believer’s ultimate good & God’s glory (Romans 8:28).
Charles Spurgeon famously said, "All the dogs of affliction are muzzled until God sets them free.” May we live by faith, not fear as we take every thought captive for God’s glory.
If you have any concerns or needs, please reach out to those in your community group, or feel free to reach out to one of your pastors. We love you and want to serve you in any way you can.
We pray that the Lord will continue to strengthen you and provide you opportunities to show love to your neighbors through this season. In a world that is consumed by fear, we have the Gospel! Praise the Lord for the privilege to be the ones who get to share that message at a time like this.
For the King,
Pastor Vlad Burlaka
(for the Pastors/Leaders)