June 2020

These have been trying days for us all. We have experienced something that no one in a century has with COVID-19. Now, coming back from such a massive shutdown will need to take place slowly.

 

That shutdown started for us in late March. Without knowing what the future held, we entered PHASE ONE of live-stream services on March 29th. We have worked hard at improving on the live-stream process, while at the same time seeking to keep up with our people through various forms of social media aimed at different ministry groups from children to senior adults. We will continue to keep you informed through various postings to social media throughout this crisis.

 

Last Sunday, May 31st, we entered PHASE TWO of our comeback plan. Phase Two has given us the opportunity to come back to church in greater numbers. Since “Drive-In Services” can house family members in one vehicle and since those vehicles shelter those whose health is more fragile, we will pursue Drive-In Services for the Sundays of May 31st through June 14th.   They involve a lot of equipment set-up, and the parking/security team guides parking as vehicles enter and exit. The FM transmission did not work as well as we had hoped, but by the 11:00 Contemporary Service our amplification system had been adjusted and worked well.   Rain, of course, will shut us down as we cannot afford to get the electronic equipment wet, but we are posting the Sunday service online at 11:00 A.M. that we are presently recording on Thursday evenings.

 

PHASE THREE will be a “Soft Re-opening”  of our on-campus facilities that will begin on Father’s Day, June 21st. Because we will be indoors, social distancing measures will be both more demanding and more important. We will need more space available so we will follow the following Sunday morning schedule: The CLASSIC SERVICE will be at 9:00 A.M. in both the Sanctuary and the gym, with different bands/leadership at each location.  The CONTEMPORARY SERVICE will be at 11:00 in both the Sanctuary and the gym, with different bands in each location. The sermon will be live-streamed into the gym at 9:00 and 11:00.   Reservations for seating will be needed for all services and can be made through our website or by calling the church office.    

 

Our final phase, PHASE FOUR, will occur at a date not yet determined.  In that phase, we will resume on location all of the services, studies and activities that were a part of our church life before the COVID-19 Pandemic.   

 

Our MISSION TRIP to Cowley, Wyoming, scheduled for July 18th – 24th, is a “go” according to Water of Life Church Pastor Johannes Slabbert. VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL is also scheduled to happen virtually that same week of July 19th-23rd. Please pray for both of these evangelistic events.

 

You will also find in this month’s Witness information about our giving during this crisis. You continue to give most generously to both our budget and to our Generations Following Student/Young Adult Building Campaign. Though we are behind in our budget giving as would be expected, we are actually not more than about two weeks behind. In addition, we are very close to the $1,050,000 mark needed to break ground in our fund-raising campaign! That’s wonderful giving in the midst of a world-wide crisis!   

 

June is going to be an ANOTHER DIFFERENT month! We’ll begin it in “Drive-In” services and end it with a “Soft Reopening” of our church!

I Love You, Garth

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May 2020 Witness

In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. As he made his rounds, he could either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years. Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station.

 

When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, “Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable.” He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson’s amazement, the engine roared to life.

 

For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work. And so it is in our lives. A loose connection to God will keep us from being filled with the power of His Spirit. Keep your connection to God tight during these difficult days and you will find that a supernatural power is yours!

 

One of the good things that has come out of the Corona Virus pandemic is the improvement of our video and on-line ministries. In seeking to keep our church family united during these days of sheltering at home and social distancing, we have developed a ministry called TO GATHER TOGETHER. That has been the theme under which we have been worshipping virtually with live-streamed services since Sunday, March 22nd. It is also the theme of our weekly postings giving you information and devotionals from various staff members.

 

Our MISSION TRIP to Cowley, Wyoming, scheduled for July 18th – 24th, is a “go” provided that the airlines are flying at that time. VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL is also scheduled to happen that same week of July 19th-23rd.   

 

Besides our live-streamed worship and Sunday School, we will also be live-streaming our annual NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER SERVICE on Thursday, May 7th, at 11:00 A.M. A number of pastors in our Lamar Christian Ministerial Association will be meeting in our worship center to share that patriotic service with you that day. The theme is “Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth” from Habakkuk 2:14 which says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.”

 

You will also find in this month’s Witness information about our giving during this crisis. I am so proud of you for your most generous giving both to our burdget and to our Generations Following Student/Young Adult Building Campaign. Though we are behind in our budget giving, we are actually only about two weeks behind. That’s very good in the midst of a world-wide crisis!   In addition, we have recently crossed the million dollar mark in our fund-raising campaign!

 

Of course, everyone’s question is: “When will our church reopen for public services again?”   With Corona Virus details changing every hour, perhaps it is easier to say when we will not reopen. We will not reopen before the Public Health State of Emergency expires on May 13, 2020. Please continue to listen to our various social media postings for updates concerning our reopening for public services.

 

May is going to be an ANOTHER DIFFERENT month! So, STATY SAFE and WORSHIP with us VIRTUALLY!! 

 

I Love You, Garth
 

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April 2020 Witness

A man was walking along the street one day when he saw a black cat crossing the road.  He thought to himself that he was going to have bad luck that day. Worried about seeing the black cat, he asked his friend what was going to happen to him. His friend replied, “That will depend on whether you are a rat or not.”  In the same way, knowing who we are in Christ will conquer fear in our lives!

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and altered every aspect of our society, including our churches. Locally, it began to turn our world upside down about the middle of March. Sunday, March 22nd, was our first live-streamed service for the primary purpose of offering our church family the opportunity to worship with us by way of our website (www.fbcbarnesville.com), Facebook, or our FBC app. The week before that, we began our efforts to stay connected with our people through postings on various channels of social media. Those who do not have the devices that give them access to those channels can receive a free weekly DVD of our Sunday morning services and Sunday School lessons.   Simply call the church office and make that request.

Everything we are doing during this time of crisis falls under the title of TO GATHER TOGETHER. I want to thank our church staff for their tireless efforts in working to stay connected to our people, as well as ministering to others in our community during this stressful time. We are committed to observing Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s order of not having more than ten people in a worship/teaching/fellowship space at any time. That, of course, means that we are having to do ministry differently than we have ever done it before!

Everything from weddings to funerals to Easter Sunday services are likely to be impacted by this crisis. At this writing, there are only two events that we are relatively sure will happen. Our MISSION TRIP to Cowley, Wyoming, is scheduled for July 18th – 24th. We still have 8 seats open for this trip. VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL is that same week of July 19th-23rd.  At this point, we cannot predict whether events that have been scheduled for the months of April and May will be able to take place.

Besides the live-streamed worship service Sunday at 11:00 A.M., I am also live-streaming my Wednesday Night Bible Study at 6:30 P.M. We will also post a series of inspirational devotions called “The Seven Last Words of Christ from the Cross” each of the seven days starting on Palm Sunday (April 5th) and going through Saturday, April 11th. In addition, our other staff members are streaming and/or posting studies and worship services for their ministries.

Allow me to say a quick word about giving. Our church staff is still working full time, and our salaries make up about half of our church budget. Therefore, your regular giving is vital to the continued ministries of our church. You may continue to give online, by bank draft, through the mail or by bringing your tithes and offerings to the church. We ask that if you are bringing your offering to the church, that you call and let us know that you are stopping by. Simply ring the door bell and we will meet you at the door and maintain the 6ft recommended distance. Thank you for your continued support of our church!

 

Should you need any of our staff, I have posted our numbers below:

 

Garth Forster (770) 584-2051                        Greg Burrell (770) 584-3297

Russ Jenkins (478) 365-8719                         Jason Teal (912) 978-1449

Jennifer Zeager (770) 843-3852                    Church Office (770) 358-2353

 

April is going to be a DIFFERENT month, but don’t fear!   Worship with us VIRTUALLY!! 

    

I Love You, Garth
 

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