Dear FBC family,
I want to take a moment to share with you what we are doing at First Baptist Church Thousand Oaks to respond to our Ventura County and State health officials as they combat the spread of the coronavirus.
First, let me remind you of what Scripture teaches us. Psalm 121:1–3 says, “I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! 3 He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.”
This is a time of high anxiety and potential cynicism, which is striking at the heart of core issues we deal with as people. Our health, our finances and relationships are being deeply impacted by the surprising daily developments. But remember, God is not surprised! God is sovereign. He is our help. He knew this would be happening and He is not daunted. He is the God who “watches over you and will not slumber.” Knowing this, we can step into this new reality and opportunity with the confidence that He has gone before us and is working all things together for good.
With our constantly changing circumstances and now the new “shelter in place” order, we are all dealing with a new reality that is disconcerting for everyone. In these fluid times, our church is seeking to honor our County and State health officials and learning new ways to serve as the church.
After prayerful consideration the Pastoral staff has decided temporarily suspend meeting together for Sunday morning and all weekly services. We will, however, have a message posted on our media page at 10:20am on Sunday mornings and we encourage each one of you to gather with your family and engage with the sermon together.
In this time, while the form of church has changed for a time, the nature of the church has not. We can actually be the church even more now. As the body of Christ, we can be modeling and motivated by the Good News of His death and resurrection for us. Just as Jesus extended love and grace without judging or shaming us, so we can extend the same to others, no matter where people are in either anxiety or cynicism. We encourage you to be practicing social distancing and Health Department protocols for cleanliness, but also use every opportunity available, such as making phone calls or using social media, to share the love and hope that is offered by Christ.
Lastly, we want to remind you that your ongoing tithes and offerings are critical during this time. Our mission to serve our community by meeting needs and introducing others to Christ will only continue to grow and we are unable to do that without your continued support. For the time being you can mail in your tithe, however, we are also working on setting up online giving, which should be available by next week.
Please know that I, along with the Pastor Jack, Pastor Enoch, and the staff are praying for you. It is unknown how long this circumstance will last, but we are prayerful for a God glorifying outcome. If you need to contact us for any reason, or if you need assistance, please let us know. We are still here and ready to see God move.
Praying with you,
Pastor Andrew Garcia