Dear Bayless Baptist Family,
As you are checking the latest headlines and wondering all this will mean for your life and family, I pray that the grace we have in Jesus provides you more reassurance than ever before.
During this crazy time, it is especially important to me that you know that I am here for you as your pastor, and your church is here to help. Our church is committed to doing whatever we can to provide a safe environment for you and your family, and while God has not given us a spirit of fear, he has called us to love our neighbors and to contribute to the welfare of our community. This means that exercising caution is not merely wise, but is a tangible way of demonstrating our love for others.
Given the most recent developments regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the St. Louis region, our leaders at Bayless Baptist have decided on the following course of action:
1. Sunday Worship Gatherings Will Move Online
For the next several weeks, we will worship ONLINE only and not meet for worship gatherings at our Bayless Baptist building. Our service will be available for you to watch on Sunday morning at 10:45 a.m. at https://bayless.online.church, and (utilizing appropriate caution) we encourage you to invite one other family/neighbor/coworker to join you as you worship at home. Perhaps even share a meal together afterwards and utilize the discussion guide we will be providing you as well. In a time of uncertainty and fear, we can be a light of gospel hope.
Bayless, let’s not forget that church is not a building, but a body of believers. We are a family and each one of us makes up the church. So as a church, we now have an opportunity to gather online to study the Word, sing praises to our great God, and to give towards God’s ongoing work and mission in the world…together!
We would also love to provide resources to help you minister to your kids in this time. You can find some free lessons and activities designed to help your kids trust Jesus in the face of worry and anxiety at Family Time Training.
Please note: until governing officials give the "all clear," all mid-week activities including Bible Studies, Community Groups, Young at Heart, and Member's Meetings will not be meeting as scheduled. Keep checking our website for updates, but again, we encourage you to continue to connect in other ways during this time (see below).
2. Maintain your regular giving.
It’s our joy to continue to give to God’s mission even though we aren’t together physically. This is an important part of our worship rhythms each week, and it is more necessary for our work in the community than ever before!
You can give online HERE with a debit/credit card or by simply setting up an automatic bill pay through your banking institution and setting it up to mail regularly to the church address: 8512 Morganford Rd., St. Louis, MO 63123.
You are also more than welcome to send in a physical check to the church address, and if you would like us to send along a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope for you to do so, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Continue to Connect in Other Ways
Again, we want to strongly encourage caution, particularly if you are over the age of 65, are immunosupressed, have other serious long-term health conditions (e.g. heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, etc.), or have any concerns that you might have contracted the Covid-19 virus. Love for neighbor also demands that we submit to the recommendations of the CDC and our governing officials.
However, even if you are self-isolating, you don't need to feel isolated! We are made for community, particularly face-to-face community, and bad things happen to us and others when we are cut off from fellow believers. There is something right and good to long to be together in-person once again. Trust me, I am as well! But we can also praise God that we live in an age in which we can stay connected with others without putting each another at risk.
Friends, be comforted that your leaders will be following up with our regular attenders consistently over the next few weeks using as many means as we have available. But that being said, don't underestimate the role you can have in another person's life right now. Practically speaking, here are a few ways you can do this:
a) Call others daily.
Your friends, family, and neighbors need to hear your voice right now. Text isn’t enough. Make a list of 1-3 people you can give a quick call to each day just to check up on, encourage, and pray with. They need it.
b) Video chat weekly.
During this time we need the Word more than ever, and there are several user-friendly applications which can allow you to study the Bible and pray with others from your Bible Study or Community Group.
One of my favorite apps is Zoom which allows you to set up a virtual conversation with as many people as you want, so long as the conversation is under 40 minutes (if it goes over, you can simply restart). All you need is a computer or phone with internet access and a camera. CLICK HERE to download.
I also recommend Marco Polo, which is essentially a video "walkie-talkie." Using this app, you can record and send video messages to one another, and all you need is a phone with internet access and a camera. CLICK HERE to download.
c) Connect with your neighbors monthly.
4. Our commitment to you.
Again, we are actively discussing the best ways to love both our community and our people in this time. But during this crazy time, it is especially important to me that you know that I am here for you as your pastor, and your church is here to help. Since I won't be able to see you at church on Sundays for a while, our leaders are going to be trying to call someone from your family every few weeks just to check in. But in the meantime, please let us know if you need anything at all.
You can also expect to receive periodic emails and texts from me over the next few months just to encourage you and to point you to the hope we have in Christ during this weird time. If you are concerned that we may not have your current contact information, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
We recognize that this is a dynamic situation with constant new information and updates. If we have to communicate any last-minute decisions or changes, we will provide updates on social media, via email, and on our website (www.baylessbaptist.org).
While we do not know what will happen as this situation changes, we do know that we can, and must, pray. As we look to the days and weeks ahead, would you join us in prayer?
- Ask God, in His mercy, to stop this pandemic and save lives -- not only in our communities but around the world, particularly in places that are unequipped medically to deal with the virus.
- Pray that those who are called to address this crisis (particularly medical professionals, law enforcement, and governing officials) to have the wisdom to direct us in the best courses of action for prevention and care.
- Pray for those affected by the quarantines and social distancing that God would meet their physical, financial, emotional, social, and spiritual needs.
- Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom in this moment of fear as the foundations of what we know are shaken, that others would realize how fragile life is and how real eternity is, and they would see their need to turn to God.
- Pray that local churches would lead the way in exhibiting a spirit of trust in God and love for others.
- Pray for our overseas missionaries, that they would act as God’s ambassadors, continuing to offer the hope of the gospel.
- And finally, pray not for a spirit of love and unity in our congregation over the coming weeks and months, but that we would be proactive and creative in loving others.
As believers, we are called to run toward tragedy and not away from it. Faithful Christians have done this throughout many generations, even during pandemics. Let’s be faithful in this moment to be the hands and feet of Christ caring for the sick and pointing people to our ultimate hope in him.
Rest in these words today:
 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
Bayless Baptist Church