Dear First Free Family,
The Elders met on Monday, March 16th and had a robust meeting filled with much conversation, prayer, and business. It was a sweet time of unity as we sought the Spirit’s guidance together and made plans during these difficult and uncertain times.
Nevertheless, we look to the future with hope, despite the chaos around us, knowing that God is good and sovereign in all times. Praise God! With this in mind, here are some important updates and encouragements:
Remember that God is our rock and our deliverer (Psalm 46:1; 2 Samuel 22); and while outwardly our bodies are wasting away, our eternal hope and glory far outweighs our momentary troubles (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Take heart! Jesus has indeed overcome this world (John 16:33). So in these times of uncertainty, be sure to let your light shine before others (Matthew 5:16), and be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to explain the hope you have (1 Peter 3:15).
Scripture encourages us to be people who submit to those in authority over us, for there is no authority except that which God has established (Romans 13:1-7). Consequently, we are adhering to both federal (CDC) and local (IDPH) guidelines for postponing public gatherings and meetings. The Elders are suspending Sunday services, small groups, and other gatherings for the next three weeks (through Sunday, April 5). We will reevaluate at that time and send out further communication.
In the meantime, let’s re-imagine how we do church and small groups. Pastor Jason and Pastor Stu will be posting pre-recorded messages and worship sets each Sunday morning by 10:00am. We will post the link to our website, facebook page, and send it out in an email Sunday morning. Also, you might consider moving your small group meetings to an online format (such as Zoom). The Elders will continue meeting via an online format going forward as well. During the next few weeks, don’t forget the needs of your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those who are the most vulnerable. This is also an opportunity to be intentional about checking-in with your neighbors and to show them the love of Christ in practical ways.
The congregational budget Q & A scheduled for Sunday, April 5th will be held in a virtual format. We will send out more details about this in the near future.
Finally, please remember the importance of tithing during this period of time. We desire to meet the needs in our community, and the benevolence fund is a practical resource that often enables us to do so. Moreover, we continue to have salaries and infrastructure costs to pay. So, please continue giving online through firstfree.com/giving.
Brothers and sisters, before we close, we want to encourage you to “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:6-7). By God’s power, may we go forward boldly, with hope and wisdom.
In Christ Jesus,
Your Elder Team