UPDATE: April 8, 2020
The unexpected impact of the coronavirus has caused countless changes for all of us. As we adjust to life in the midst of the pandemic, we pray you will keep your focus on Jesus.
The worship gatherings at Friendship will remain online only through April 30. Please plan to worship online with us at www.friendshiponthenet.org. You can click here for a complete schedule of online worship, Bible study, and student activities on our website. This is a great time to invite a friend or family member to join us online as well. All other activities on campus at Friendship are suspended through April 30. The only exceptions to this are for staff and/or volunteers whose assistance requires them to be at the building. If our circumstances radically change and we are able to worship safely on campus before April 30, this transition can be made very quickly.
WHAT SHOULD WE BE DOING RIGHT NOW AS CHRISTIANS?
First, we need to remember that God has a plan. Even when we don’t have the big picture, God does. He knows everything and has a plan for both good times and bad. In Isaiah 46:10, the Lord announces, “I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago, what is not yet done; saying, ‘My plan will take place and I will do My will.” When Israel faced captivity, a terrible national disaster, God reminded them that it was all part of His plan, saying, “I know the plans I have for you … plans for your welfare and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). God has a plan in this circumstance as well and it’s for our good. We may not know what His purpose is but we can trust that He has one.
This leads to a second perspective: we must trust in God’s faithfulness. In light of the Babylonian conquest over Israel which destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 BC, Jeremiah the prophet reminded the people of Judah, “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Not only does God have a plan that is good, but we need to trust Him and put our hope in a God who cares for all of us. We need to stay steady in our walk with the Lord, not quitting the race, but keeping on in obedience to Him. We need to keep talking with Him in prayer, listening to Him through His Word, and obeying Him with our lives, no matter what difficulty we face. The Coronavirus has made people fearful of the future. It’s at times like this that people are most open to the message of the Gospel. Let’s give our friends and neighbors hope in Christ who promised this: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful” (John 14:27). This is a message that will surely resonate in a dark world.
If you have a need, please contact the church office and we would be happy to assist.
You are loved!
UPDATE: March 26, 2020
We are excited that many of you were able to connect with the Friendship Family through online worship this past weekend. These are certainly challenging times, but they have presented some wonderful opportunities as we proclaim the Gospel. Although the message is the same, we continue to find new ways to do ministry at Friendship.
Due to the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control and the guidelines set forth by local and state leaders, worship gatherings at Friendship will remain online only through April 12. Please plan to worship online with us at www.friendshiponthenet.org at 10:15 each Sunday. This is a great time to invite a friend or family member to join us online as well. All other activities on campus at Friendship are suspended through April 12. The only exceptions to this are for staff and/or volunteers whose assistance requires them to be at the building. If our circumstances radically change and we are able to worship safely on campus before April 12, this transition can be made very quickly. But for planning purposes, we wanted to share with you the latest information.
During these days when many things are changing so rapidly around us, the writer of Hebrews reminds us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). May we continue to be the Church like never before!
If you have a need, please don’t hesitate to contact our staff in the church office. We are here to serve.
You are loved!
UPDATE: March 19, 2020
Coronavirus. It’s amazing how much fear and panic have been caused by that one word. The world is afraid. This is a great opportunity for us to show others how believers face fear. “Fear not” is the most repeated command in the Bible. So in fearful times, let’s ask the Spirit of God to help us live out this determination from His Word: “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust; I will not be afraid” (Psalm 56:3-4). I pray the world will see us bearing one another’s burdens as we commit to love more than we fear.
With a desire to love our neighbors as ourselves and an abundance of caution for the members of our church and community, March 22 and March 29 worship gatherings at Friendship are moved online. Please plan to worship online this Sunday at www.friendshiponthenet.org at 10:15 am and invite others to join us, as well. We will sing together, pray together, and hear what God’s Word says about freedom from fear, peace over anxiety, and life that conquers death. Needless to say, you don’t want to miss these Sunday gatherings online!
In addition, all activities on campus at Friendship are suspended through the end of March. The only exceptions to this are for staff and/or volunteers whose assistance requires them to be at the building. All other groups which normally meet on Sundays and during the week are encouraged to explore alternate means of staying closely connected with one another.
WHY ARE WE MOVING WORSHIP GATHERINGS ONLINE AND CLOSING OUR CAMPUS?
Our goal in these decisions, as in everything we do, is to glorify God as biblically and wisely as possible. By God’s design according to God’s Word, the church thrives on gathering together face-to-face as we love one another, care for one another, and encourage one another. As much as we are thankful for technology that allows for us to do many of these things online, a biblical picture of a church prioritizes being together in person. This is why Christians around the world gather together every single Sunday at the risk of their lives. If they are caught, they will be persecuted, potentially imprisoned, and possibly even killed. But it’s worth it to them because this is what it means to be the church. These brothers and sisters in Christ have much to teach us about the value of physically being together as a church family.
At the same time, the reasons concerning why we normally gather in person are the same reasons why we are choosing not to gather in person right now. Because the Bible calls us to care for one another and love one another, we believe the best way we can do that in light of the current situation is by not gathering in person. This does not mean, however, that we are closing the ministries of the church. Quite the opposite is true. This is a time for us to be the church like never before! Continue reading below for more information about how we are working together to glorify God as His church and to minister to our neighbors.
HOW ARE WE GLORIFYING GOD THROUGH GROUPS, MINISTRY TO FAMILIES AND CHILDREN, AND OTHER MINISTRIES DURING THIS TIME?
We are encouraging groups across our church to consider alternate means for staying as biblically and closely connected to one another as possible during this time. In addition to the Sunday morning worship livestream, we will provide online Biblical teaching on Sunday evenings at 6:00. Shane will meet digitally with youth on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 for Bible study and to remain engaged with our students. A children’s SS teaching video will be posted to our website each week for children and their parents. All SS teachers are encouraged to make contact with class members and prospects in an effort to stay connected.
HOW WILL WE SPREAD GOD’S LOVE ACROSS OUR COMMUNITY DURING THIS TIME?
In these unprecedented days, we want to be a clear picture of God’s love across our community. We certainly don’t want to isolate people who are in need all around us. Therefore, we are coordinating an effort to provide help to neighbors in need.
We are encouraging church members to reach out individually to people in your neighborhoods who might need help during this time. You can download and print this flyer [Love In Action] from our website to connect individually with your neighbors in order to care for them. Keep in mind that as you distribute these flyers to your neighbors, you are personally assuming responsibility for helping them as much as you can. If you learn of a need that requires church assistance, please contact the church office.
HOW SHOULD I RESPOND PHYSICALLY TO THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
If you are sick with a cough or running a fever, or you have a compromised immune system, we encourage you to remain at home and/or seek proper medical attention. Please also alert your church family so that we can best help and support you. If you are elderly or have existing medical conditions that might place you at higher risk, we strongly encourage you to limit your interactions with others during these days. At the same time, we ask you to let us as your church family know how we can best help and support you.
Regardless of age or medical condition, we encourage everyone to take certain steps to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, flu, and other illnesses, including: washing your hands with soap and water; using hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available; not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; staying home if you are sick; covering your cough or sneeze; and disinfecting objects and surfaces regularly.
HOW SHOULD I RESPOND SPIRITUALLY TO THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is yet one more reminder that we live in a fallen world of sickness, sin, suffering, and death. Ultimately, none of us are immune to any of these things. But that’s why the Gospel is such good news. God has not left us alone in this world of sickness, sin, suffering, and death. He has come to us in the person of Jesus. The greatest news in all the world is that Jesus lived a life with no sin, died on a cross to pay the price for our sin, and rose from the grave in victory over sin and death. Now anyone anywhere who turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus will be forgiven of all their sin and restored to relationship with God forever. That means that through Jesus, we never have to fear sickness or death because we know we have eternal life with God. Times like these remind us all of the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. So let’s spread the greatest news that death has been defeated and eternal life is available to all who trust in Jesus.
In addition to trusting in Jesus and sharing about Jesus with others, here’s some other ways you can respond: trust in God as the Creator and Sustainer of life upon whom we all depend. Pray for mercy for the sick, strength for doctors, insight for researchers, and wisdom for officials. Look for opportunities to love and care for others. Even though we are unable to gather at certain times, stay closely connected to the church family. Participate in worship gatherings online when that is the only option. Faithfully give financial offerings online at www.friendshiponthenet.org or mail them to the church at 146 South Friendship Road, Paducah, KY 42003. Our continued giving to the ministry here will allow us to thrive all the more in the midst of difficult days.
HOW CAN I KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST INFORMATION AT FRIENDSHIP?
Our website will be the primary location for finding the latest information. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can always call the church office and we will be happy to share with you the latest news.
HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE WITH WORSHIP THROUGH THE LIVESTREAM?
Our live stream will begin this Sunday morning at 10:10 with worship beginning at 10:15. If you have a Facebook account, go to Friendship’s Facebook page and you can join the livestream. If you do not have a Facebook account, please go to our church website and click on the Friendship Live slider at the top of the page. This will take you to our virtual worship page so you can worship with us.
We love you and want to know how you are doing. If we can help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our ministerial staff or deacons. Church, this will pass and with God’s help, we will get through these unprecedented days together!