We are certainly in uncharted territory in our world today. Coronavirus and the rate at which it spreads are cause for concern. Our President has called this virus the "unseen enemy." While we as Christians use that kind of language to refer to a different enemy, it communicates the gravity of our current situation.
On Monday, March 16th, the Whitehouse released a document titled 15 days to slow the spread dictating that American citizens "avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people."
What does this mean?
All ABC in-person events will be closed from in-person meeting for 2 weeks (The next 2 Sundays and weekdays that follow, March 22nd and March 29th). This includes:
All Small Groups and Bible Studies
Additionally, we are cancelling our Annual Easter Egg hunt.
On April 1st, Your Elders will meet to reevaluate and make determinations for what will happen in April. However, we want you to know that we are preparing for the possibility that this could be our mode of operation for the weeks and potentially even months ahead of us, depending on the updates from our government.
Why are we doing this?
Scripture encourages the church to obey governing authorities (Rom 13), to act with wisdom (Matthew 10:16; Luke 16:8), to look out for the marginalized and the weak (Rom 15:1-2), and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mt 22:39). In light of God's Word and the information we have available to us, we believe that the best way for ABC to show Jesus-like love & value for the people that are at-risk from the coronavirus is by cancelling all gatherings for two weeks. This protects not only the people "at-risk" (like those over 60 years old) but this action also protects people not at-risk from becoming coronavirus carriers (many times asymptomatic) inadvertently endangering at-risk people. We do not act in fear, but in love for at-risk people groups. And perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
So, no more church for two weeks?
Not quite. First, let's remember that church is not a building. Just because we won't be meeting in a building together for two weeks doesn't mean we won't be church for two weeks. The word church comes from the greek word ekklesia which means "a people called out." The church is a people who believe in Jesus & are called out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
Even without meeting in our building for now, we are still a church and we will still gather together as a church. Here's how:
ABC Online Worship Services
At 9:50 on Sunday morning we want you to come worship with us. You can do so at abcbartlett.org/church-online
The web page tells you how to interact step-by-step, but here's how it works
Before 10:00am on Sunday you will be able to use a chat room to say hello to folks and let us know you're here, just read all of the directions on the web page.
At 10:00am you will be invited to scroll down and begin worshipping - each step is laid out for you in order.
At 10:30am the livestream of the message will begin. - this is one of the steps of the worship service
After the service, you will be invited to partake in a video discussion group which you will be able to access at the bottom of the worship service page: abcbartlett.org/church-online
If you're worried about using the technology - you can visit the worship service right now and test things out. Just click the web link: abcbartlett.org/church-online
If, after visiting the website, you are still unsure of how to use it, please call Pastor Alex anytime during the day on Thursday or on Friday morning before noon to ask questions. You can reach him at (224) 575-1678.
2 Special Technology notes:
The service is easiest to engage with on a computer instead of a mobile device (although you can still use a mobile device)
If you use Google Chrome as your web browser, use a different browser like Microsoft Edge or Firefox, some of the elements of the online experience do not work with Chrome.
Bible Studies and Small Groups
Many groups have already started working on ways to meet over the phone or online. Instead of providing one uniform way for groups to do this, we are leaving these methods in the hands of your group leaders. Over the course of the next week. expect some direction from your group leader as to what your gathering will look like.
If you're not in a group, but would like to be in one, you can sign up for groups here:
Remember, you can give online.
You can set up a one-time or monthly giving via our website abcbartlett.org or go directly to the "Give" link to continue to support the financial needs of Alliance Bible Church ministries. Without your financial support, we would not be able to continue ABC ministries. Thank you in advance for giving. It is an act of worship:
"[Your generosity] is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else" (2 Cor 9:12-13).
Can I Still Meet With People?
Just to be clear, we are not commanding you not to meet with people, but encouraging healthy social distancing. Please follow CDC guidelines for personal hygiene, health, "when to go out & not go out" advice, and medical and safety tips. The cancellation of ABC in-person programs for two weeks is simply a reflection of our desire to love God and love our neighbors.
We are here for you too.
Reach out to you small group leader, a pastor, or one of our elders if you need support or prayer.
Here is contact information for the Pastors and Elders:
Pastor Alex: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastor Don: email@example.com
Garth Xander: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Mileusnich: email@example.com
Phil Jupp: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nik Poferl: email@example.com