Uniting the People of God in This Area
Bessemer Baptist Association
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
To Go...To Serve...Together

A Word From Dr. Cosper

As we look at the coronavirus pandemic we are faced with many decisions.  In the midst of decisions to be made we wonder if things will ever return to be the same.  The days we are now living are unprecedented for our generation.  One of the challenges of the coronavirus is that it has caused each of us to pause and evaluate our priorities in life.  

THE NEW NORMAL OR THE EMERGING NORMAL

People are wondering what the future will look like.  Peter Drucker had an interesting response to that question: “Trying to predict the future is like driving down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.”  Interesting response.  But we know who holds the future and Jesus will get the glory!  

Social distancing through stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders have resulted in the closing of our churches.  We long for the time of gathering together as the family of God and worshipping together.  

One of the results of church closings has been the innovative ways of sharing the Gospel.  I complement each of our pastors for being open to this new normal or emerging normal for communicating the Gospel to their church families as well as to those who are logging on to your services who are not members of your church.  Churches are having greater response through the live streaming than they were prior to the pandemic. 

 I pray that through your innovative ministries you will reach more people than ever before.  As you preach God’s powerful and inerrant Word and prepare to give an invitation for people to register online their decisions, you will also be prepared to celebrate their decisions.  What will it be like to receive members in this type of context?  This celebrative context shows me that God is revealing to us a new normal or emerging normal.  I pray that as churches are reopened, that you will continue to assemble together and live stream your churches.  The choice is not either/or but both/and.  May God bless your church with a great harvest in 2020!

PREPARING FOR WHAT’S NEXT:  A GUIDE FOR ALABAMA BAPTIST CHURCHES

As you prepare to reopen be aware of the suggested seating capacities.  Prior to the pandemic, seating capacity was 80% of the total seating capacity.  According to Dr. Thom Rainer that percentile of measurement has been reduced to 60%.  The contributing factor to this change is that people will still want to practice social distancing.  This will create a need for some churches to go to multiple services.

The Alabama Baptist State Convention has provided a document on its webpage (ALSBOM.org):  PREPARING FOR WHAT’S NEXT: A GUIDE FOR ALABAMA BAPTIST CHURCHES.  Associations are providing a link to this document on their webpages.

The Alabama Baptist State Convention recommends some simple words that might guide your thoughts as you plan and prepare to reopen:

  • Reopen in a MEASURED way.  Use caution and be aware of and follow the recommendations of national, state and local leaders and agencies.
  • Reopen in a PRIORITIZED way.  Determine what your priorities are regarding which services and ministries you will provide immediately, with a desire to add ministries as possible.
  • Reopen in a FOCUSED way.  Focus on the Great Commission.  Focus on the spiritual, physical and emotional well-being of all.  Focus on making much of Jesus!!!

Each of us anticipate the day we can reopen.  But may we practice this simple formula:  SAFE AND SOON!!!

 

I want to say a special thank you to each of our churches for a job well done!!!


God loves you and so do I,

Barry F. Cosper, D.Min.