Current statement from first free leadership on Covid-19 - March 18,2020

Dear Friends


It is hard to put into a words how difficult and challenging the COVID-19 virus has been for everyone all around the world.   I turn 61 in April, but I have never experienced anything as disruptive and physically and economically disastrous as this problem has become.  Have you? 


How should we as believers in Jesus Christ respond?


I want to tell you a story.  A professor of mine told me once about a visit he had with a former student.  The student was struggling deeply with life and felt like he had no purpose any more.  What my professor told him I need to remember every single day.  What he told the graduate was essentially this... "No matter what we can possibly experience in life...  it will NEVER NULLIFY what Jesus did at Calvary".  


What does this say to us as a church family?   Our peace and joy is not dependent on good health around the world.  The stock market is not the source of real security.  The glorious gospel is that no matter what happens in life... it will never separate us from the love of God toward us in Christ Jesus our Lord!   Because that is so we can walk in newness of life.  Because of this we can have God's perspective on the Coronavirus.  Because this is true we do not need to be hoarders but channels of blessing to our family, friends and neighbors all around us!  Because of what Jesus DID you now belong to God.  God is now your Heavenly Father.  You are His dearly loved child.  You are free to be a blessing to others!  Go and live in the joy of the Lord!


Now let me try and answer some questions about how we at First Free will be going forward for upcoming days.


Will we be meeting for church services?


No.  In fact all ministry gatherings at the church building have been cancelled. This includes all Amplify, Youth Group and Men's and Women's ministries and circles.  


Will there be a live stream online for us to participate in a worship service?


We will be prerecording a service to be broadcast on Sunday morning for you to join your hearts with others in worship and learning. The service will be available on our Facebook page (Facebook.com/booneefree) and our new YouTube page.  bit.ly/youtubefefc The video will be available at 9am on Sunday morning or any time after.   


Also we will provide the radio station with prerecorded services.

 

Are there any other resources Pastor Tom and Pastor Tim recommend? 


Yes.  Pastor Tom will be sending out by email study notes for you to follow along with the message.  And these notes provide questions for further application of truth into your life.


We also recommend meeting informally (as safety allows) with a few brothers and sisters to pray together and to walk through the study questions together.  


Pastor Tim will be offering an online bible study for those who want to have fellowship and learning the Word.  More details coming this weekend. 


Will the church building be open during this time?  


During this time the church will be locked.  We ask that people avoid coming to the church, even those with a key. If you have something that is absolutely pressing, please contact Pastor Tom, Pastor Tim, or Gudula ahead of time (if possible) to make arrangements to enter the church.


How can we continue to give financially to the church?


You can certainly mail in your check or use the online giving that is on our web site.  Thank you for your faithful giving.  


The mailing address for the church is 1407 Kate Shelley Dr., Boone, IA  50036


The link to online giving is: firstboone.com/online-giving

   

What other needs do we need to be aware of?


During this time of hardship some families are going to be struggling financially.  If the Lord leads you to give extra to the Deacon Fund that money would be so encouraging to those in need distributed by the deacons.  Thank you so much!


Brothers and Sisters, you are dearly loved of the Lord and all of us at First Free!   Keep your eyes on Jesus!  He is the author (He inaugurated your Christian life) and the finisher of your faith (what He began in you HE will carry on to completion!). Keep walking in Jesus!  Colossians 2:6


Please at any time, 24 hours 7 days a week... if you are in need do not hesitate to call me or Pastor Tim.


Tom - 515 608 0694

Tim - 712 229 9413


God bless you.  If you have any questions about anything, or have needs, please let us know!


with love in Christ Jesus, 

Pastor Tom Mason

Our Response to Coronavirus and Health concerns - March 13, 2020

To our First Free Boone family,


As your church elders, we pray and love you dearly in Christ. With the conversations and concerns about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) filling our media and affecting our planning and decision-making, we want to serve you and help you as much as we can to understand, speak, and act in a Christ-honoring way.

First, we want to point you to the Word, which reveals to us both the sovereignty and heart of our loving God. He is not surprised or alarmed, nor is He shaken at all by this. He is in control and calls us to trust Him and not be dismayed or fear. Our hope is not in medicines, doctors, supplies, economics or elected leaders. All of these are gifts of God to us for our benefit and discernment. But our hope rests, in this life and in the life to come, in Christ’s finished work on the cross! He has overcome death, disease, isolation, and the main sickness all men and women are plagued with - sin. The fatality rate for our sin is 100%, and faith in Christ is the only cure.

In the Scriptures we are also reminded 365 times to not be afraid, and to trust in God, calling out to Him when we are in need of help and wisdom. As God’s people, we have a unique opportunity to show our families, friends, and communities that our God is a Rock of Refuge in uncertain times. We want to encourage this hope to be on your lips and fingertips as you interact with others.


Second, as we continue to ask God for wisdom, we want to be proactive in using the knowledge that God has provided us through those previously mentioned gifts of medical and other professionals. We want to be wise under-shepherds who care for the Master’s flock well. In light of that, we want to share with you some of the steps we will be taking as a church leadership team. Some items are just continuation of good practices, others are good advice from professionals, and still others are unique to First Free in Boone. We are constantly evaluating information as it arrives, so we appreciate your prayers and patience, as this will be an ongoing process.


What we are doing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic:


1. We are praying for you and your health.


2. We are working diligently to keep you safe and the church clean.


3. We are continuing to hold services and group gatherings, according to the best practical wisdom we can obtain from the information at hand, as a point of hope and support for our communities.


4. We are encouraging all people who are at higher risk to listen to the counsel of the authorities and not place themselves in large group gatherings, contact with those who are sick, or other dangerous situations. High risk individuals have been identified as those people with underlying health conditions, older adults (60+) and pregnant women.


5. We encourage those with any types of sickness, as always, to stay home for the safety and health of yourself and our other church attenders. This is especially true now, so if there is a question, please default to coming when you or your family members return to good health.


6. We plan to stream our Sunday morning worship service online via Facebook Live that will allow you to participate in the service at home should you feel the need to or fall ill. We are also looking at alternative methods of viewing the service after the livestream as well for those who do not have Facebook. Remember, you can always listen to the service on the radio at 11am on KWBG 1590AM


7. If we notice that someone is not feeling well while at church, we may kindly address it with you and ask that you leave until you are in good health. We love to have you present with us as much as wisdom allows.


8. We will be collecting our offering in a different way by placing an offering box in the foyer with an usher assistance to help. This will be available until the sermon begins when it will be processed as per our normal accounting process. Even better, if you are able, we would prefer that you give online through our secure giving platform: firstboone.com/online-giving


9. We will be making adjustments to our fellowship time between the service and Sunday school hour to provide safer methods of food and drink disbursement while we interact together.


10. We are encouraging you to be in relationship with others. This is a wonderful age we live in where our communication is not limited to physical presence, but we can use the tools of technology to encourage each other, learn together, and pray with each other. If you know of someone who is isolated, please reach out to them in love.


What you can do to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic:


1. Pray for our local communities and our nation.


2. If you are running a temperature do not come to church. If you are coughing or feeling ill, please do not come to church. If your children are not feeling well, please do not come to church. Watch online, open up the Word together, and praise God!


3. Maintain good hygiene practice:
  • Wash your hands often. 20 seconds with soap helps tremendously.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow/sleeve.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content regularly.
  • Stay home when sick and avoid close contact with others.
4. If you are of confirmed good health, look for opportunities to reach out to others in need.


5. Contact us if you need supplies but are nervous about acquiring them yourselves.


6. If you attend church, please replace (for a time) hugs and handshakes with waves. Smiles and laughter are still highly encouraged.


7. Watch your email, the church website, and Facebook pages for updated information, changes or cancellations.


8. Share with others the hope you have in Jesus. There are many fears, much cynicism, and myriads of voices right now. Be one that provides real hope.


9. Please extend grace as we respond as a church. Your leaders have not shepherded through a pandemic before. We will take prudent and necessary action as things unfold and information is given to us. Pray for us.


10. Trust God for new mercies every morning. Look to see what He might be doing in and through you. He will not waste this time. Read the Word, listen to Him, and act in obedience to Him.


Philippians 4:6–7 Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Trusting Christ,
The Elders of First Free