3/19/2020 - 1:30PM STATE OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE:
Beloved Bethel Family,
The last few days have seen changes take place at breathtaking speed. We are in uncharted waters and facing issues that are unprecedented in our lifetimes. During this time, I want to you to know your staff’s desire is to love, care for, and shepherd you well. We love you, and we are here for you.
Late Tuesday afternoon, we received word that we are not exempt from the mayor’s declaration of a state of emergency, which means we cannot meet in groups larger than 50 people until after April 3. Our staff has worked very hard this week to define for us how we will minister in light of this declaration. While this declaration will drastically alter our regular weekly schedule, it will not stop us from doing ministry. Things will look a little different for a few weeks and I am writing this email to you to describe what our ministries will look like during this time.
First, Sunday Mornings will change.
We are not cancelling services, but rather morning worship will move online, both on our website and Facebook Live, on March 22 and 29 at 10:15am. Anyone with access to the internet should be able to watch a livestream of our service on a computer, phone, or tablet. Our staff has contacted every Sunday School teacher and spoken with each of them about the possibility of doing a Facebook Live Sunday School class at 9:00 or some other form of digital instruction. Please check with your Sunday School teacher to see what they will be doing this coming Sunday at 9:00am. While Sunday School and Worship will look different because we cannot gather, we do not want to skip or miss these ministries.
Second, Wednesday night will have numerous ministries, also digital in nature. Because we cannot meet in person, our staff is going to have digital devotionals you can watch with your family:
- 6:00pm – Children’s Devotional
with Kim on Facebook Live from the BBC Norman Kids-Parents page.
- 6:15pm – College Discipleship
with Garrett and Jennifer on FaceTime.
- 6:30pm – Adult Devotional Bible Study
with Pastor Matt on Facebook Live from Bethel’s page.
- 7:15pm – Student Ministry Devotional
with Kyle on Instagram Live from the Student Instagram page.
We want to encourage you to take full advantage of these opportunities with your family.
Third, while we are going to have the above ministries, several other ministries will need to be postponed until after April 3, including: Core Classes, Sunday night activities, all other Bible studies, Business Meeting, and all committees.
Fourth, our church office will be open during the week, Monday through Friday, but our office ours will be modified to 9:00am-1:00pm. We plan to have at least one staff member here to answer phones and help those in need. If you have questions or need help, please feel free to call the church, even after these hours. We will check our church voicemail regularly during these two and a half weeks. We want to be here for you and minister to you. Please let us know if you need any help.
Fifth, we want to encourage good stewardship to keep our church finances healthy during this time. Our ministries are not “taking time off” during these weeks. They are ongoing, albeit in different forms than usual. We would encourage you to give using one of three different means:
- Online giving at ://BBCnorman.com/Giving
- Mail to 1717 W Lindsey St, Norman, OK 73069
- Drop by during office hours, 9:00am-1:00pm Monday through Friday
Sixth, we want to continue to carry out ministry in multiple ways. We want to encourage you to be involved in as many of these as possible.
- If you have a need, need assistance, or if you do not feel safe getting out, please call the church office at 405-329-3749. We would be happy to pray for you, help meet whatever need you have, and we have people who stand ready to make grocery runs for those who do not want to get out.
- We have asked all our deacons to contact their widows during this time.
- A different ministerial staff member will be doing a 5-10 min devotional at 10:00am Monday through Friday on Facebook Live from our church’s page. These devotions will be focused on Christ as our Peace, Protector, and Provider, and will be available on Facebook if you miss the live event.
- I want to invite you to “Lunch with the Pastor” a Facebook Live event Monday thru Wednesday, March 23-25 and March 30-April 1. These short 5 min devotionals will focus on different spiritual disciplines you can practice during this time, including things like having a quiet time, praying, having family devotions.
Finally, we want to encourage you to serve your church family, your neighbors, and friends during this time. While we cannot meet in person, this does not mean our care for one another must cease. In fact, this time gives us wonderful opportunities to love each other outside the walls of the church. Look for opportunities to share the good news about Christ at home, with friends, online, or with neighbors. If they know Christ already, this will be an encouragement to them. If they do not know Christ, this will be an opportunity for them to hear the good news about Jesus. Call people, especially those in your Sunday School class. Pray for people, especially those with whom you want to witness. Pray for our church. Pray for our growth in the Lord even during this time.
This situation is very fluid, changing from day to day. If our plans need to change over the next few weeks, we will keep you informed. If there is any way I or our staff can help you during these days, please call the church and let us know. We love you! We are praying for you! We want to serve and help shepherd you well through this time!
Matt Brown, Senior Pastor