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BGAV Blog

Important Events for Pastors and Church Leaders

BGAV Coronavirus Virtual Town Hall Meeting This webinar occurred Monday, April 6, but you may click here to view the video!   Executive Order 55, Drive-In Church, and the CARES Act Webinar Friday, April 3 – 10:00 a.m. EDT This webinar occurred Friday, April 3, but you may click here to view the video!      

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Disaster Response Feeding Resources for You and Your Church

No matter who is giving us information, one of the words we keep hearing in describing the COVID-19 pandemic is “unprecedented.” From how it has spread, to the restrictions we experience, to the response possibilities—everything feels new right now. In Disaster Response, we find ourselves at a loss to apply to this situation what we already know how to do well. Most of what we do in disaster response centers on localized, large-scale disasters in which people who have not been affected can respond to help those who can. Everything is designed for a big response: feeding units can provide 15,000 meals a day, shower and laundry units can accommodate dozens of people, and housing people in large groups who can live in community together. But in this crisis, that kind of response would likely make things worse.

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Be Strong and Courageous

We are living in challenging times that have disrupted our routines, regular places of gathering, and fellowship. Going to the store for basic supplies has become an exercise in patience and perseverance. Though most churches have a “shut-in” list, according to the gospel of Facebook, we are all on the shut-in list now. To protect ourselves from COVID-19, we have been instructed to limit our gatherings which means refraining from our place of refuge, the Church, the place where fellowship and encouragement is experienced in the presence of the saints of God.

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Pastoring Through the Pandemic: A Call for Collaborative Leadership

Have you seen the new shirts being sold that say, “The church has left the building?” While my hat is off to the marketer who thought up that phrase, I think they are off by a couple thousand years. You and I know, theologically, that since Jesus came, the church hasn’t been a building; rather, it is and has been the Church of Jesus Christ, and those who follow him faithfully don’t go to church, we are the church.

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God is Our Refuge and Strength

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). That’s the verse I’ve been quoting in this time of crisis, as the whole world practices “social distancing” in an effort to “flatten the curve,” and those of us in ministry close the doors of our churches and seek new ways to be faithful. It hasn’t been easy.

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Childrey Baptist Church Reaches Out with Drive-in Worship

About two weeks ago I was talking to a group of pastors about the coronavirus outbreak and what that might mean for churches. Rev. Jerry Stanfield from Childrey Baptist in Nathalie, VA, was in that meeting. We talked about live streaming options for worship, including Facebook Live. A pastor commented: “Most of my people don’t have computers or WiFi.” I then remembered another option. At a church I used to serve, they offered a live Nativity every year with persons sitting in their cars, listening through their car radios, and watching the scenes on the hill above. They used an AM radio transmitter that transmitted only in the church parking lot.

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Care Calls: Tips for Providing Meaningful Help to Others in Crisis

During this time of “social distancing” and quarantine, we have to find new and creative ways to care for the body of Christ. One suggestion I’ve heard is to have a small group intentionally connect with everyone in the church or to be sure to check in on those most isolated. Much of what we train our Disaster Response Crisis Care Team to do in order to care for those affected by disaster can be translated well into “care calls” to those in need of support during this time. Below are several important things to keep in mind as you reach out to others with care during this time of crisis.

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Take Heart, God’s Beloved!

Some years back, I visited with a parent whose teenaged daughter had died amidst tragedy. As one might imagine, her heart was broken. Yet, I was surprised by her positive attitude. I asked her how she could be so positive under such painful circumstances. Her answer astonished me.

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BGAV Offices Temporarily Closed; Staff Working Remotely

BGAV leadership has been closely monitoring COVID-19 and the recommendations of healthcare officials. In order to provide for the safety and welfare of our staff and community, the offices of the Baptist General Association of Virginia are temporarily closed. All staff is currently working remotely from home due to COVID-19. BGAV staff is consistently monitoring voicemail and email as we continue to offer support and resources to our churches, so feel free to contact us by phone or email. An update will be posted when the building reopens. We are thankful for your flexibility as we navigate these days together.

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BGAV: Walking with You

Posted: 3/17/20 at 4:00pm. Written by John Upton. BGAV Family, It goes without saying that we are in the one of the most surreal moments we could ever have imagined. Yet here we are, and now we turn our attention toward how to be the church and God’s people during a time of national and global crisis. First, I encourage …

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A Message from John Upton, BGAV Executive Director

I have been receiving a large volume of inquiries from church leaders concerning COVID-19, asking for suggestions. The BGAV is not a professional health organization, so we are not qualified to give advice regarding the disease. What we can do is share links to professional health resources and share how other churches have chosen to respond. We want to assure you that we are closely monitoring this rapidly changing situation and are in communication with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), both of which have issued specific interim guidance for faith-based organizations that can be accessed here.  Please, at a minimum, follow their recommendations. Also, I encourage you to have your leadership meet and make a decision regarding church activities based on the welfare of the most vulnerable in your church and community such as older members, children, those with health issues, and neighbors. Watch closely the decisions of your local school systems and follow the recommendations of the Governor’s declaration of emergency. The BGAV is doing the same regarding all its events for the next couple of months. 

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BGAV Churches Collaborate, Bringing Kingdom Moments

Rustburg Baptist has been doing their firewood ministry since 2004, according to our records. They were doing this as a church vision and wondered where all of the wood would come from. They worked hard to get wood to families who use wood as their only heat source. They met once a month from September to March on a Saturday to cut wood and send it out to families who needed it. John and his wife, Ruth, would spend days taking wood to families, and sometimes that was 150 miles a day. Jimmy Cole also would deliver wood during the week.

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Are You Missing the Point?

Today I heard a man talking about surviving a tornado in Tennessee. His family and dogs were going down into the basement, when one dog went back upstairs, so the man went up to bring the dog back down, then the tornado hit. He threw himself down on top of his family to shield them. He later said that bricks came whizzing right through the doggy door! Then it was over. When they got up, the immediate area was intact, but the rest of the house was gone. The event was so overwhelming that he could barely speak about it. Looking at the video, all I could see was a door and a couple of feet of wall around it. From my perspective, it was an example of how God can preserve someone when all else is blown away.

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