Ministry Update - March 25, 2020
My Dear Church Family and Friends,
The last two weeks has given us many surprises! Things have changed drastically in our community making it impossible at this time to assemble, and we are not certain when restrictions for meetings will be lifted. While we may be facing major changes, I am thankful that God never changes! We are reassured by His words in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not…” Did you hear God’s message? His comfort for us is that even when our world gets turned upside down, we can continue to trust in the unchanging hand of our Almighty God!
The real question is what do we do now? I want to reassure you that although we may be separated by distance for now, we want to stay connected to God and to one another. Although there has been a stay at home order put into effect in Greene County, we are still working to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of our congregation.
Services: We have continued to produce our services online through a livestream format. We are planning ways that we can make our livestream better going forward so that the feed is more enjoyable. The livestream is a great way for unbelievers to be able to hear the message, so be sure to share it with others. If you have internet, but are experiencing problems with the livestream, let us know. If you do not have internet, call the church to ask for free copies of the messages from each week and we will be happy to mail you a CD each week.
Ministry: We want to keep you informed about all that is happening. The primary cheapest and easiest option for our church is through email. We have begun producing a weekly bulletin through email format. I ask you to help us by logging onto our website (www.hillsidebc.com) and signing up for our newsletter. This will ensure that your email address is in our database and we can keep you informed of all that is happening. You can also call the office (417-865-7286) and we will add you.
There are three new ministries we have been able to mobilize during this time. If you would like to volunteer to be a part of one of these ministries, you can do so on our website (www.hillsidebc.com/care-team) or by calling the office.
Prayer Team – Prayer is the most important and needful ministry. Although the Prayer Warrior is not being produced in print version, we have made prayer needs available so we can continue in intercessory prayer. Each week, we will send at least one email with prayer needs that have come through. Would you consider praying for others? If you have a prayer need to submit, you can do so on our website, or by calling the office.
Connect Team – Keeping our congregation connected through the stay at home order is a big priority for us. We need volunteers to be able to call one another and make sure that needs are met, and prayer needs are shared.
Delivery Team – Even with the stay at home order in place, people will still have a need for supplies. This team can still operate under the Greene County guidelines. Our love for Christ shines when are able to minister to one another through this time. I am thankful for all those that have already volunteered.
Kids & Youth: Our Children’s ministry continues via Kids Korner (Tuesdays at 6 pm and Thursday at 1 pm). You can access it through the website (www.hillsidebc.com/kid-s-korner). For Teens, we are offering a time for them to connect through Teen Talk (Tuesdays at 1 pm and Thursdays at 6 pm). More information is available at www.hillsidebc.com/teen-talk. We are striving to share as many resources with parents as possible through our website and encourage you to see if there is anything you can use to help your child grow in Christ. If you don’t have internet, please let us know and we will send you whatever you may need.
Burden Bearing: Many in our congregation and community are already feeling the pinch of layoffs and job loss. The rate of decline in the economy has happened so rapidly that many are not sure yet how it will affect them in the long run. There may be some ways that we can help you and your family during this time. We have some basic necessities that have been donated to our food bank so that we can continue to help others. If you have a need, please call the office and let us know.
Giving: Many have asked how they can continue to give their tithes. We check the mail every day, and we will make sure that any tithes or offerings that come through the mail will be deposited each week. We have also set up Online Giving. You can find it on our website (www.hillsidebc.com/give). If you have any questions just let us know.
Outreach: Outreach is not only a mandate from our Lord, but also a passion for us at Hillside. We have international outreach through our missions works and local outreach through our efforts at the church. I want to encourage you to be faithful to support our missionaries during this time. They continue to need our prayer and financial support. If you are not currently supporting the mission program of Hillside, would you prayerfully consider beginning today? Locally, we continue to love the people of our community. While we are not able to do traditional outreach, it doesn’t remove the call of God on our lives. We have ordered tracts that deal with the Coronavirus to help share the Gospel. Let us know if you would like us to mail you some! We will also be posting sharable tracts for Facebook. The first church didn’t grow because of great organization, but because of their great faith! So, let your light continue to shine in our community, and share with them the hope that lies within you.
Preparation: While we anticipate another month before we are able to meet again, we are preparing the building for that opportunity. Over a year ago, we purchased a cordless electrostatic sprayer that uses chemicals to destroy germs, viruses, and specifically, the coronavirus. We have sprayed the building daily since this outbreak began and will continue to do so. We are also repainting the children’s area to ensure that these are clean, safe environments for our children to return to. We are looking forward to meeting together again and want the building we use to be a safe and clean place to worship. If you have questions about preparations that are going on for the future use of the building, please reach out to us.
Although these times are unprecedented, and many are struggling, I urge you to steward this time wisely. The temptation to catch up on your favorite TV shows and interests is strong. The reality is that this is a great opportunity to make a stronger connection with your family. Intentionally plan times of games, Bible study, prayer, phone calls or walks to invest in your family.
In a similar manner, invest in the eternal by investing this time in your relationship with the Lord. Start with prayer. In our lives, the hurried rush of daily demands often causes us to push to the back burner the spiritual disciplines that create a dynamic relationship with our Heavenly Father. If you are like many, you have found yourself with more time, so invest in prayer. We need prayer warriors now more than ever. Secondly, dive into God’s Word. Open God’s Word to ready, study, and meditate on it. If you don’t know where to start, I encourage you to read through the books of John and Romans.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
My desire is to help our church to Grow Together through this time apart. We are still developing ways we can offer online Bible studies for our members through a video conference style meeting. As this becomes available, we will notify you through email and social media to encourage you to sign up. It will require internet access.
I want to also ask that you encourage others through this time. Many have already begun using this opportunity as a way to minister to other members in the church, so thank you! Make a goal to write one note of encouragement a day and mail it. Then call five people everyday just to check on them. If you live alone, this is especially important. If you have children, allow them to take part in ministering to the needs of others through this format.
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)
I want to leave you with the example of Barnabas. We learn of Barnabas in the book of Acts where we see his life was an important part of the early church. Barnabas was a unique man who served God in great ways. When Saul was first saved, it was Barnabas that took him under his wing and introduced him to the Apostles. The Apostles were full of suspicion because of his lifestyle of persistent persecution toward the believers. Yet, Barnabas encouraged Saul and the Apostles that God had truly done a work in his life. We read that Saul was accepted by the believers and he went on to do great things for Christ. Later in Acts, we read that it was Saul and Barnabas that took the first missionary journey. John Mark accompanied them, but after some hardships we read that Mark forsook Saul and Barnabas and turned back. Later, after Mark had grown more in the Lord, He volunteered to go again. While Saul was against it, Barnabas chose to encourage Mark. As a result of Barnabas’ ministry of encouragement, we see Mark became a faithful servant of Christ so that in his later years, Saul (later named Paul) desired to see him. We can learn a lot from Barnabas through this time. My prayer is that we will have a ministry of encouragement to one another and continue to fulfill the law of Christ.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Thank you for choosing to love and follow Christ. Thank you for choosing to encourage and love one another. Your example during this time of darkness is throwing a light on the glorious Saviour, Jesus Christ so that all men may know that Jesus is LORD to the Glory of God the Father!
In Christ’s Faithful Service
Pastor John M. Bingham