As your beloved pastor, I greet each of you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Today, we are approaching the tenth week of being physically apart and without the privilege of entering and enjoying the facilities of St. John. Governor Newsom stated that churches might reopen in a few weeks, and I assume he will include many guidelines for churches to reopen. Nonetheless, some churches, even in the Bay Area, have decided to reopen this month.
Since each pastor individually must yield to God for direction, I will only express my current position about reopening. Being a pastor for 33 years (over 25 years at St. John), I recognize the importance of revenue, but people’s health means more to me than wealth. The doors of St. John will reopen when it is safe, and we are still committed to being examples of abiding by the law rather than examples of breaking the law. Though we obey God rather than man, we must still respect the laws of man. To rebel against the laws of man is an act of rebelling against God indirectly (Rom. 13:1-2).
Let’s dialogue further. To begin with, I encourage each of us to be safe. Although our state is entering into Stage 2 of reopening, allow God to lead you concerning how you conduct yourself and engage with others.
Moreover, I encourage each of us to participate in our Online Ministries. My staff and I have worked diligently to provide St. John and others opportunities to grow and stay connected. Many of us are benefitting from our Online Ministries, but many are not. These Online Ministries are designed to glorify God and edify each of us, so I strongly exhort those of you who are not participating (yet able to participate) to allow our Online Ministries to be a blessing to you by participating. Through our website (sjmbc.org), needed and updated information is available about Online Podcast Messages, Sunday School, Prayer Meetings, Bible Study, The Lord’s Supper and much more.
Furthermore, because so many people are in need, what are some ways you suggest to help others? “Reaching Others For Christ” (Lk. 14:16-24) is our church theme for 2020, and we are determined to fulfill our mission to the fullest extent. A lot has been done regarding our church theme, but more needs to be done. On the one hand, we are limited because of social distancing, but on the other hand, we have more opportunities now than before because a lot of people have greater needs and a lot of people are more open to receiving. Consequently, I solicit your help as we seek creative ways of “Reaching Others For Christ.” You can begin by immediately sharing with me (via email or letter) your ideas about how St. John can help others in need amid this pandemic.
Lastly, I sincerely thank those of you who have been supporting St. John financially. You have truly demonstrated your love and loyalty to God and His church (St. John). Because of you, even though we are averaging about 65% of our usual income, St. John is still functional. I have shared with us throughout this year that Commitmentand Unity are essential! God is not calling for equal giving, but He is calling for equal sacrifice which means that God wants each of us to do our best.
I encourage everyone (mainly those of us who receive income) to faithfully and generously support St. John financially with our tithes and offerings. You can mailyour Tithes and Offerings to our St. John South Campus (662 South 52nd Street—Richmond, CA 94804), or you can give online through our website (sjmbc.org). Although I do not recommend this next option, if you prefer, you can also set aside weekly your Tithes and Offerings and give the total amount (individual checks, one check or cash) the Sunday we resume corporate worship.
In conclusion, Trust In The Lord, Encourage Yourself In The Lord, Think Yourself Happy, and Think Higher while you Hold On! Remember, when you are Covered By The Blood, by acknowledging that He Is Risen, God Will Take Care Of You.
May God Bless And Sustain Each Of Us.
Your Servant In Christ,
Dr. Kevin B. Hall, Pastor