Updated March 19, 2020

Our hearts go out to all those impacted by COVID-19 – this includes not only those diagnosed with the virus, but also their friends and family, those whose jobs and schools have been impacted and so many more.

A special thanks to each member of our church family for your prayers over the last few weeks as we seek the Lord's wisdom on how He would have us as a local church body respond to the current health challenge.  After prayerfully considering our options with the deacons and trustees and staff of our church, we will be making some changes to our worship schedule through the end of the month. While my personal opinions of the crisis may differ, it is out of an abundance of caution and care for the health of our members and others who attend our church that we will proceed with this schedule.  As believers, we must allow facts and faith to inform our responses to life’s crises—not public expectations or panic. Because the situation is changing on a daily basis, we appreciate your flexibility as further changes may become necessary:
  • Sunday School classes will not meet until at least April 5th.
  • Junior Church will be postponed until at least April 5th. 
  • We will live stream each service at its regularly scheduled time (Sunday 10:00 a.m., Wednesday 7:00 p.m.). Services will be live stream-only for now. We will still have music and preaching during this time. You can access each service on our website under the "Sermons" tab.  All services will be archived for sharing with friends and relatives at the same web address.
  • Sunday evening services for the next two weeks will be replaced with an open house prayer time from 5-7pm. Feel free to come to the main auditorium for prayer and encouragement. Staff will be available if you want to pray with them. We are praying specifically for:
    • Revival of God's people
    • Return to God as a nation
    • Repentance from sin and a turning to Christ
    • Rest in the Lord and in His promises
  • There will no choir or choir practice until at least April 5th.
  • We will not have scheduled Saturday outreach until April 11th. We still want to be a good testimony and witness in our community. Please continue to give out tracts and witness to those you come in contact with. People are hungry for fellowship and may be more open than ever to the message of the Gospel. Anyone can live stream our services!
  • Cornerstone Clubs will be postponed until at least April 8th.
  • Please continue with your financial commitments to our church as we have commitments to our building payments, missionaries, and staff. We offer online giving through the website. You may send offerings through the mail. Or you can also bring offerings to the church office during the week or drop them off during our Sunday prayer time.
  • Please continue to pray for our church family and staff.
 
Why are these changes necessary?
  • Because of our respect for authority. (Romans 13:1-7; I Peter 2:12-17) My own opinions do not fully line up with either our national or local response to this crisis. For some reason, though, God has neither equipped nor chosen me (or you) to lead our nation through such a time as this. I have been given the responsibility to lead John Roy, his household, and Cornerstone Baptist Church through this time. While I am extremely reluctant to take these steps, I cannot in good conscience lead us to pray for our President and leaders, while ignoring their most passionate guidance. Once they ask us to put their word before God’s, we will alter our steps. Until then, we need to make every attempt to trust their leadership and the God to whom they ultimately answer.
  • Because of our testimony in the community. (Matthew 5:16; I Peter 2:12, 15) By meeting as a whole church, we would exceed the recommended maximum people gathered in one place. That is the very scenario considered to accelerate the spread of this virus. Our community is scared and looking for answers. If the outbreak were to spread exponentially in the weeks ahead, gatherings as large as ours will be obvious culprits. That is not the testimony we desire.
  • Because of our love for our neighbor. (Mark 12:31) Loving our God passionately is the first and great commandment. Loving our neighbor as ourselves is next. Based on the current understanding of this virus, our meeting in a large group puts our neighbors at risk. We do not want to be responsible for others losing loved ones or suffering unnecessarily because we were unwilling to adjust our own schedules and accept some temporary inconvenience.

Foundational mindsets
  • We are still a church. The reasonable and unreasonable steps in our culture haven’t altered who you are as a church member. We are simply making temporary changes in our church life for the reasons stated above. Let’s keep our church alive by still participating in everything possible. Bring your family by the church to visit during the week. Don’t let isolation alter your relationship with your church. Fight for Cornerstone Baptist Church in your heart, emotions, and with your support.
  • Guard against subtle change. Without due diligence temporary change will quietly influence permanent change. Without deliberate diligence, what was normal two months ago may feel like an inconvenience when things return back to the new normal. There is a roaring lion desiring to break the routines and convictions of committed believers. You will succumb to that if you don’t guard against it.
  • Treat the Lord’s Day with the same respect. You will come out of this much more intact if you take steps to treat the Lord’s Day as close to normal as possible. This would include same service times, reverence, worship, etc.
  • Fellowship is still biblical. Get together with other members. Don’t take social isolation further than is warranted. Part of that subtle change could be a tendency to become a social island.
  • Our plan will be dynamic. As circumstances merit and our knowledge increases, we will alter the plan as needed. This is simply a starting point for handling scenarios that none of us have faced before. They will inevitably change and hopefully improve.
  • Don’t be a stranger. The offices will be open regular hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday-Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Feel free to stop by and visit, if for nothing else, to stay connected with this place we all find so special.

These plans begin immediately and will be in place until further notice. The Sunday morning service will be a trial run of live stream-only with the congregation consisting only of those responsible for holding the service, so members should not show up to attend services. There could be elements missing from that service that will be added after this trial run. If you have difficulties with the live stream, call the church office at (602)867-2700.

We plan to send emails throughout the week to encourage our congregation, convey vital information, as well as pass on some requests for prayer. Please feel free to email me at [email protected] or call the church office if you have questions. We have a great God and the current crisis means we have an opportunity to make His glory shine through our response. Let’s honor Him and help each other. We will come out stronger on the other side.

For God’s glory,
Pastor John Roy
Cornerstone Baptist Church

Philippians 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.