RESPONSE TO COVID-19

May 28, 2020

Good afternoon EBC.

On behalf of the elders, I want to thank you for your prayers, emails, and phone calls. It has been good to hear from you, knowing you care for the church and your leadership. I also want to thank you for your patience, as we plan the reopening of EBC corporate gatherings. We have missed gathering together!

These are certainly strange days, and we have sought to lead biblically, desiring to uphold the glory of Christ, our citizenship in heaven, and the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word. This is a complex and trying time, and there are many factors to consider as we plan our future corporate worship times. As a church, our faith is being tested, resolve refined, unity stretched, and testimony to the world magnified.

As a follow-up to last week’s announcement, we joyfully look forward to Sunday, May 31. This will be the first Sunday morning that corporate worship will be offered since March 8. However, this will not be a “normal” service.

This week, we have been in touch with the Skagit County Board of Health. We have been upfront with our plans, wanting to hear their concerns and recommendations. This has proven to be a fruitful time, as we have maintained a connection to our community, affirmed their work and care for Skagit County, and gleaned insight from them as well. They have expressed thankfulness for reaching out to them.

And so, here is the plan for May 31. We will be having an outdoor service starting at 8:45 A.M. What will this outdoor service look like? We will be following the “Phase 1 and 2 Religious and Faith-based Organization COVID-19 Requirements.” You can see that document HERE.

Much work has gone into fulfilling these requirements (in fact, work continues as I write).

Thus, since Skagit Valley is still in Phase 1, the guidelines that affect Sunday’s outdoor service include:

1.    Limiting the service to 100 people. This means you have to reserve your space if you plan to attend. You can make your reservation HERE.

2.    Tents will be set up in case of rain.

3.    Chairs will be provided, but please bring your own if you prefer.

4.    Rest rooms will be open.

5.    Disinfectant will be provided.

6.    There will be physical distancing of at least 6 feet between family units.

7.    Nursery and children’s programs will not be provided.

8.    Face coverings will be required.

9.    Dress warm.

Will all agree with these guidelines? “Absolutely not.” Are these guidelines ideal? “No.” Will it be raining? “Probably.” But the better (and more pertinent) question to ask as we are faced with these restrictions is, “Are we able to gather together for worship under these guidelines?” And the answer is a resounding “yes.” We will be able to worship together (Psalm 34:3), encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11), lift our voices with one another in praise (Colossians 3:16), come under the preaching of the Word as God’s people (Titus 2:15), be reminded that the Lord is at work in the lives of others (Philippians 2:13), and stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). Though not ideal, if we gather with a humble heart, worship will take place, love will be shown, and we will grow together in humility before our Lord.

The Bible promises that through trial, the Lord refines us, humbles us, and disciplines us unto holiness (Hebrews 12:7). Sometimes that requires the Lord removing from us what is most comfortable. Sometimes it means that our personal preferences are taken away. Both of which are occurring right now within the church across America. But that is what the church needs, for that is what the Lord has ordained (Psalm 84:11). This is a matter of faith—do we believe Romans 8:28? Do we believe that what we are experiencing today is for our greatest good?

And so, as we prepare for this weekend, let us thank the Lord for His loving hand of discipline (Hebrews 12:10). Let us not fight against His humbling ways (Hebrews 12:5). This is a time to grow in righteousness (Hebrews 12:11). The Lord has given us this time to ask heart-probing questions: Why do we come together in corporate worship? Is it to get or is it to give? Is it for ourselves, or is it for the Lord? Do we gather to encourage one another or to feel “good”? Are we willing to “with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3)? Is worship precious only when our personal preferences are met, or can we worship when things are not personally ideal? These are heart probing questions that the Lord has allowed us to ask during this time. May we thank Him for His love for us!

May the words of Psalm 107:1-3 resound this weekend, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary and gathered from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.”

May we come together in thanksgiving because the Lord is good. May we praise Him in this time of flux because His lovingkindness endures. May we remember our Lord’s great gift of redemption and praise Him for delivering us from our adversary. May we gather from east to west and lift our voices in praise, worship, and adoration.

Also, for those who do not attend the 8:45 A.M. service, you can participate in our live-streamed worship service at 10:30 A.M. through our YouTube channel. We recommend that those in the “high-risk” category stay home and be a part of that live-streamed service.

Because new information comes out daily, we do not know how long we will be meeting outdoors. We will give more information about our June 7 service next week.

Again, we appreciate your patience and grace as we navigate these times together. We care for you, pray for you, and look forward to when we can all once again gather altogether in person.

May the Lord bless us, unite us under the cross of Christ, and maintain the bond of peace through His Spirit.

In Christ,

Pastor Patrick

April 7, 2020

Hello EBC!

On behalf of the elders and staff, we are certainly looking forward to the day we can once again be together. Because our Governor has extended the “stay-at-home” mandate, we will not be meeting corporately at the church until (Lord-willing!) the middle of May. But when we do return together, corporate worship will be all-the-more sweeter! In fact, Navor Tercero suggested that this take place when we finally are together again. I think I agree with him.

Until then, here are a few updates to keep in mind as we continue to live for the Gospel while scattered throughout the valley.

Online Pastoral Prayer

The staff pastors will continue to pray on Thursdays at Noon. This can be viewed on our YouTube channel. We have been encouraged by the participation in these times of prayer, and count it a privilege to approach the throne of God’s grace on your behalf.

Good Friday Service

We will have a LIVE STREAM Good Friday service this year. We will trace the Passion Week of Jesus through the Gospels, while worshipping our Risen Savior through song. It will be a special time in the Word and worship.

Easter Sunday

Our worship will continue through LIVE STREAM this Easter Sunday at 10:30 A.M. Prepare ahead of time by reading Revelation 1:9-18 and the breathtaking picture of our resurrected and glorified Savior. We will continue looking at “The Church Scattered,” but from the perspective of what Jesus is right now doing in heaven for His people. Though we are apart, He is at work!

Shepherding

The elders will continue to shepherd you through phone calls, prayer, and email. Please contact your elder or the church if you have any specific prayer requests. Also, please contact the church if you have any special needs that we can take care of. Many have asked to be “on call” in such circumstances. So, if you need anyone to go shopping for you, or to pick up your prescriptions, etc., please let us know.

Devotionals

Our church leaders will continue to provide devotionals for you throughout the weeks ahead. These can be found at EBC CONNECT.

Equipping Classes

Three equipping classes are now up and running via the internet through Faithlife and YouTube. Our Church Leadership 201 is meeting through video conferencing on Wednesday evenings through Faithlife Equip. Our Theology Class can be found on YouTube with new sessions being uploaded on Tuesday afternoons and “Putting its Past in Its Place” is also meeting via video conferences through Faithlife Equip. If you want more information on how to join those groups, please contact the church office.

Resource Recommendations

If you are looking for some Christian resources while we “stay-at-home,” here are some suggestions.

Ligonier Ministries

  • Ligonier (the teaching ministry of R.C. Sproul) has provided teaching videos on Amazon Prime. There you will find classes on church history, theology, Pilgrim’s Progress, etc. Just type in “Ligonier” in your Amazon Prime search bar and see all the results.

EBCMV YouTube Channel

  • EBC now has a YouTube channel. You can view recent uploaded sermons and prayer times. Click subscribe and you can then get notified when we have added more content.

The Book of Revelation

  • Many today are wondering about the end-times. Here is a link to a verse-by-verse study of Revelation.

Resources for Children

  • Free Stream of “The Biggest Story” (thru 4/12/20)
  • Faithlife TV has many videos for kids (All FREE!). Sign in with your Faithlife ID at https://faithlifetv.com/.
  • Grace Community Church (Los Angeles, CA) has created posts on their Children’s page with video and print resources.
  • Be on the lookout for e-mails from Terry and Pam with resources for your kids, as well! Make sure you’re connected to our Sunday School Parents page on Faithlife.

While we are scattered around the valley, please keep praying for your EBC leadership. The elders long to follow the Lord and His Word, and shepherd you well; while the staff is looking forward to ministering to you in person.

May the Lord continue to sustain your faith and keep you faithful to Him.

Pastor Patrick

March 18, 2020

Hello EBC,

The elders have been praying for you and trusting that the Lord is sustaining your faith during this very uncertain time. As we met last night, we each expressed our thankfulness for you and our continued desire to shepherd you in love and care. Personally, I missed seeing you in the Worship Center on Sunday morning. It was an odd scene, but made me thankful that the Lord uses His Word for His glory in the lives of His people, even if that means through live stream. I pray that we will be together once again soon!

I wanted to update you on the next two weeks in the life of our church:

First, the elders met last night (3/17) and decided that we will continue our live stream services for March 22 and March 29. All ministry activities/events are either cancelled or postponed for those weeks, as well. Our prayer is that the spread of the virus will decrease and the government will lift the mandatory bans on larger gatherings. But for now, as we join through live stream, we will continue to have times of corporate prayer, songs of praise and worship, and a time in God’s Word. As far as the sermon schedule, here are the next two sermon titles: 

March 22 – Assurance in an Unpredictable Time (Daniel 6:1-28)

March 29 – The Church Scattered: Praying for one Another While Apart (Colossians 1:9-12)

Second, the elders also discussed how to shepherd you with God’s Word, throughout the week. Thus, we are preparing written devotionals and video recordings that we will post on our website, Facebook, and Faithlife Group. These times in the Word will come from both ministry leaders and EBC elders. The following will be some of the topics we will focus on:

How to Move From Fear to Faith

A Dr.'s Perspective on This Virus and How to Respond

How to Bring the Gospel to Your Neighbors

What Does Giving to the Lord look like in Uncertain Times

How Can I Lead My Family in Worship at Home

Modeling a Life of Faith for My Children

{These are just a sampling of what we are putting together}

Third, we have decided to continue our Equipping Classes (Wednesday Night at 6:30 P.M.), but do so through electronic means. The desire is for Herb to teach from a “virtual classroom.” Unfortunately this will mean no donuts, but he will at least be able to field questions that come up during class. We do need to know who will be attending that class, though. Please contact the church (info@ebcmv.org or 360-424-1173) and let us know if you will be a part of it. This way we can make sure all is set and ready to go. We will let you know when this will begin.

I will continue to teach “The Riches of Salvation” and will post that on our YouTube channel. We hope to start this class on 4/1. If you need notes emailed to you, please let us know.

Fourth, as we are scattered apart, we want to remain active in our prayer life for one another. We are asking that you will let the church office know how we can pray for you (You can also request to join the EBC Prayer Requests group on Faithlife). We also want you to keep the church leadership in prayer as well. With Paul we ask you, “Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thessalonians 5:25). Here are a few ways you can pray for us:

Ways you can pray for the EBC staff:

1.    Pray that we will be able to implement online content quickly

2.    Pray that the online content will be used by the Lord to strengthen us as a church body

3.    Pray that we will continue to lead and shepherd for the glory of the Lord

4.    Pray that the livestream services will be problem-free

Ways you can pray for the elders:

1.    Pray that we will remain vigilant in our shepherding care

2.    Pray that we will be biblical in our decisions

Again, we thank the Lord for each of you. We are looking forward to worshipping together once again.

I pray 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 for our church – “23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”

In Christ,

Pastor Patrick

March 14, 2020

Hello EBC family,

In this unprecedented time in our country (and our church), I want to begin by affirming Hebrews 6:19, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.” Our hope is in Christ. Our soul is secure. Our future is guaranteed. What joy there is in trusting a good and sovereign God.

I also wanted to express an appreciation for the support we as elders/leaders have received from many of you over the last few days. I also want to thank you for keeping us in your prayers as we seek to honor the Lord by following His Word, and shepherding you as best honors Christ.

As you know, EBC will be only live-streaming our Sunday morning worship service this week. This is not out of a fear, but out of a respect for our government officials (Romans 13:5), as well as care for our church family (Philippians 2:3-4) and the community (Galatians 6:10). Yesterday, our governor added an additional ban on public meetings over 250 people. If we had split into two services (as was the plan), most likely one of those services would have exceeded the 250 person limit. We want to be a part of the solution to slow down the spread of this virus, allowing the health care workers to do what they need to do, and help prevent the overload of hospitals and ER rooms. We want to be a part of the health solution for our community.

And please know, this livestream option is meant to be only temporary. We take Hebrews 10:25 seriously. We are currently looking for ways to follow the government’s decision, while still being able to gather as the body of Christ. Creative ideas are being discussed and we trust that we will be able to gather together soon.

Back to being a part of the solution for our community. More than social distancing, we need to be people of prayer. Prayer for our government officials, community leaders, health organizations, community, and the world. We serve the Most High God, the maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 115:15). I am reminded of Colossians 1:17, that Christ “is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” In the wisdom, goodness, and power of God, He has sovereignly allowed this pandemic. He is still King and is still good. Even in this, He is working every sickness and every response for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

How then should we respond? Where should we turn? The answer is simple, yet profound. We must respond in prayer, turning to the Lord for our assurance, hope, and comfort. As an application of this, the elders of EBC will be contacting those who are on their shepherding lists in the coming days. We want to know how we (as your shepherds) can pray for you, what needs you may have, and how we can help you.

We will also be contacting the Neighborhood Group leaders, encouraging them to reach out to their NG’s and see how you can serve one another, as well as reaching out to your neighbors. Again, this is not a time to live in isolated fear, this is a time to live with Gospel purpose and care.

If you are not part of a Neighborhood Group, please contact the church, so we can connect you to a group near you. But, please be proactive as well. Look for creative ways to help the elderly in the church, help those in need in your neighborhood, and meet the needs of one another in whatever ways you can.

Back to how we should pray. Yes, the elders will be praying for (and with) you. But we do not need only the elders’ prayers. We need one another’s prayers. And so the following are ways that we can lift one another, as well as our community, nation, and folks around the world, in prayer.


Pray for our Church Leaders

1.    Pray that the leaders would rest fully on the sufficiency of God’s Word in this situation (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2.    Pray that the leaders would be granted wisdom in decision-making (Proverbs 2:6).

3.    Pray that the leaders would be unified in their decisions (Ephesians 4:1-3).

4.    Pray that the leaders would model what a life of faith looks like in a time of fear (2 Corinthians 5:7).

5.    Pray that the leaders would have the energy and strength to shepherd those on their shepherding lists (Colossians 1:29).

6.    Pray that the leaders would find a creative way to gather as a church family, so that this livestream-only solution is only temporary (Hebrews 10:25).


Praying for our Church Family

1.    Pray that we would find refuge in the Lord, that He would be our place of security (Psalm 91:9).

2.    Pray that we would trust in the God of Psalm 121 (spend time reading that psalm and praying through each verse).

3.    Pray that we would look for ways to serve and care for one another, showing the love of Christ and bond of the Spirit that we share (John 13:35).

4.    Pray that we would heed the words of our government leaders who have been charged with our physical protection (Romans 13:5).

5.    Pray for church unity (Ephesians 4:1-3). The following comes from a pastor in China. Heeding his counsel would be appropriate for us here in the States as well.


Colin Clark – “As you may imagine, not all Christians agree as difficult decisions are being made. To give but one example, one Chinese church member might feel a church should not gather on the Lord’s Day during this season, while another might see it as appropriate or even necessary. The former may hold their position as a matter of general medical caution or patriotism or submission to government. The latter may feel that the public panic is overblown and that the biblical encouragement for Christians to gather on the Lord’s Day overrides the government’s directives not to do so. It’s not always immediately clear who is right and who is wrong in such cases. But it is clear that Satan would love nothing more than to use such scenarios to sow disunity in Christ’s church.

Pray that godly leaders would be trusted, that we’d assume the best motives in our brothers and sisters, and that we’d act with charity and clarity as we’re making decisions without much modern precedent.”


6.    Pray that we would soon meet together corporately.


Praying for the Community

1.    Pray for our government leaders to recognize their frailty and turn to the Lord in saving faith (1 Timothy 2:1-5).

2.    Pray for the leaders to make the best possible decision for the people they have been entrusted to lead (Romans 13:1-5).

3.    Pray that we would show one another love and sacrifice, and by this the community would see that we are followers of Christ (John 13:35).

4.    Pray for our hospital workers, that they would administer the best possible care for the sick, and that spread of the virus would slow down and soon be eradicated.

5.    Pray for those who are ill, that they would be healed from their illness and that unbelievers would come to saving faith in Jesus (John 6:63).


Praying for the Family

1.    Pray that parents would model for their children that Christ is the only anchor and hope (Hebrews 6:19-20).

2.    Pray that we would consider the nature of eternal life, and long for it even more than we have previously (Romans 8:18).

3.    Pray that we would not fear what can kill the body, but that we would fear and reverence the Lord (Matthew 10:28).


Praying for our Neighborhood

1.    Pray that our unbelieving neighbors will be receptive to the Gospel (James 1:19-21).

2.    Pray that you will take advantage of Gospel bridges that may come from this situation. Remember, people are afraid, yet our hope is in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

3.    Pray that you will not isolate yourself in fear, but in faith show care and good works to those who God has placed in your neighborhood (Galatians 6:10).


Praying for the World

Colin Clark offers the following ways we can pray for the world. He mentions China, because that is where he lives, but it applies to other countries as well.

1.    Pray for Chinese Christians, pastors, foreign missionaries, business people, and educators who remain in China to have open doors for gospel conversations in light of this crisis.

2.    Ask God to make the compassion and unity of his church adorn the gospel in these dark days.

3.    Pray that Christians’ faith and hope would give platforms for speaking of Christ.

4.    Pray that the resolve and sacrifice of missionaries would pave a way for fruitful ministry.


These lists are obviously not exhaustive. Other prayers can be offered. But prayer is where the Christian turns. Prayer is the breath of the Christian life. Prayer is the privilege of coming before our Creator, Lord, and Redeemer in faith, not only in praise during this time, but also in petition.

You may have questions, concerns, or needs that you would like to discuss now or in the days to come. Below is a list of the elders with their contact information. Please feel free to contact any of us to discuss these things.


Luke Boswell – 360-395-8077

Kevin Brown – 360-395-5151

Tim Drumm – 936-648-45789

Nathan Fogde – 360-941-1490

Herb Geeslin – 360-420-2615

Jerry Lanting – 360-391-3348

Mike McAllister – 360-424-8708

Gary Moore – 360-391-4013

Dave Riley – 360-770-9815

Jeff Rindal – 360-708-2293

Patrick Slyman – 360-824-2577

Dennis Weems – 360-661-7759


We will continually keep you updated about developments and decisions. We will also be sending out all-church communication, so that we stay in God’s Word together, and apply it specifically to the day in which we live.

May we be people of prayer, and may our Lord be glorified in us, in the midst of such uncertainty. He reigns. And we worship.

In Christ,

Pastor Patrick


March 13, 2020

Emmanuel Baptist Church Family,

As the world around us faces fear and insecurity, there is not a better place to be than at church with God’s people, reflecting on the sovereignty, providence, and goodness of our Lord. We were looking forward to our Sunday services but, in light of the state authorities recommendation to limit gatherings to 250 people or less, we are choosing to not meet together until further notice. We desire to submit to our governing authorities (Romans 13:1) and be good neighbors to others in our community. Though we can’t personally be together, it doesn’t mean we can’t meet around the Word of God. Pastor Patrick will be preaching and Pastor Nathan will be leading music via live stream at 10:30 a.m. on our streaming channel: https://video.ibm.com/channel/ebc-sunday-worship-service. All on-campus ministries and events have also been postponed until further notice.

This is a good reminder to all of us that we live in an uncertain world and our confidence and trust is only found in the sovereignty of God. God reigns over everything and has predetermined that which is good for all of us within His kingdom (Romans 8:28–32). This is also an opportunity to encourage and strengthen the people of God as well as an opening for the gospel in our community. For those of you who may be anxious, remember the words of Isaiah to trust in the Lord: “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3). Our church staff is committed to serving you, so our church offices will remain open Monday–Friday during the regular hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and we encourage you to come by or call (360-424-1173) if you have any spiritual need.

Since giving is an important part of our worship and ongoing ministry, we are encouraging you to drop off your offering at the church office Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., or by mail, or give online.

Join us on Sunday via live stream in your homes as we continue to be encouraged and equipped by our pastors from the Word of God.

Emmanuel Baptist Church Elders