Updates for church family & friends

Church family and friends-
As I write to you today, life continues to change by the hour. America has seen more change in one week than possibly in our entire lifetime. The old cliche has become a neon sign; “change is the only constant.” With that tired cliche, I want to remind you of the only constant of all time, God the Creator. The church has a hope that goes beyond physical health and material wealth. The world will begin listening more in these days where both of those false hopes crumble in front of them. I want to share more on this in the video devotions and messages in the days to come. Below are 6 updates to help you stay connected:

1. More people are asking about and desiring to become “partners” with this family of believers in this season. Our leadership and deacons have been meeting via web conferencing to make sure all of those who are partners with this church family will be connected to a deacon or other leader to check on them and care for them during this time of isolation. If you have been attending and worshipping with this church family but haven’t joined as a partner, I encourage you to do so if God is calling you to. This will provide a support and care system that you may not be aware of, especially in these days. To become a partner there are a few prerequisites between you and the Lord: You have repented (turned from sin) and believed on Jesus as your only Savior. You have or will be baptized by immersion in obedience to Scripture to symbolize your death to yourself and being raised to live in the power of the resurrected Jesus. You desire to live in a way that will bring honor to Jesus and His church according to Scripture. You are committing to partner with this church family through worship, serving, giving, praying, fellowship, and discipleship. We want to love and care for everyone but it is harder to stay connected and care if you haven’t partnered with this family. This isn’t a ploy to grow membership, this is clear desire to serve and serve alongside you in these days of uncertainty in circumstances. Please reach out to the church if you haven’t joined and want to partner with the mission. Many people attend regularly and love this church family, but haven’t joined. Now is a good time as we care for the household of faith- “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.” Galatians? ?6:10? ?CSB?. Email us at: partner@fbcnewtampa.org or partner@wiregrass.church

2. Chris Fields has faithfully served and led the children’s ministry since July of 2018. The church and the children’s ministry has grown in healthy ways. Chris made a decision to step down as Children’s Director this week. While the church and I did not desire for her to step away, she entered into this decision with prayer and seeking what she felt was best for the church and God’s direction for her. While my heart is heavy from this, I trust the Lord will continue to guide us and her as we seek God’s will. I am so thankful for Chris and her amazing family as they serve and love others in great ways. Chris shared with me before she ever took the role of director that she didn’t know how long or how temporary she would be able to serve. With her amazing heart and incredible skills, I was thankful to have her lead for whatever length of time she was able! I am also grateful for the qualified ladies in this church family who already serve and minister to our children. We are already praying and planning for next steps when we resume gathering in the weeks ahead. Make sure to send Chris a word of encouragement for her ministry and love shown to this church and the children.

3. We will continue streaming online services at 10:30 AM on Sundays. You can connect on the current church website (fbcnewtampa.org) under the live broadcasting tab. There are links for Facebook and YouTube on that tab. You can also go directly to Facebook and look for First Baptist Church of New Tampa. Like, follow, and share on Facebook. You can also go to YouTube and search for Wiregrass Church New Tampa (future name!) and this will be a channel dedicated to the church.

4. We are also praying and planning for a brief, daily devotional on the same website links. These devotionals would be given by a few different people in this church. We will call the daily devotionals “7@7”. 7 minute devotion and prayer at 7 PM each night during this time of distancing. We will let you know when it is up and running.

5. If you are new and weren’t familiar with the name “Wiregrass Church,” this is the new name we affirmed as a church almost 2 years ago as we began planning for a relaunch. We have been working behind the scenes for a new website, app, media resources, and other tools and systems to prepare for the relaunch. With the rapid changes in life and how we are living as the church in the last week, we have begun using the new name in some situations ahead of the planned rollout. We didn’t want anyone who is newer to this family to be confused. I am so thankful for your faithfulness in giving even though we cannot physically meet in this season. More people are utilizing the online giving option on the website and your individual bank with the online bill pay. Thank you for your obedience, generosity, and love.

6. As you have any needs during this season, let us know. We have people who are ready to deliver to your door if you are sick or have immunodeficiency concerns. We want to be a lighthouse of hope and light in these uncertain days. We love you and we love your soul in a way the world cannot.

Hebrews 13:8-
Pastor Carl