Ridgedale Church Family,
Across the history of the church, it has been necessary for the church to consider how and why it gathers. Persecution, at times, has led the church underground. We’ve heard stories of Christians in China baptizing in bathtubs, Christians in Africa halting services because of threats of violence against their villages, and much, much more.
At this moment, we face a unique crisis: a fast-spreading and still somewhat mysterious virus called the coronavirus. Health officials, both from the CDC, the Governor of Tennessee, and the President have discouraged large groups from meeting because of the risk of infection from the serious and deadly disease it spreads.
For the first part of January we will not be having community groups (Sunday School) or Wednesday night activities. We will also only be offering childcare for children birth-three years at our 11a service. We understand it may be an inconvenience to have your kids with you in service, but we encourage you to take this time to enjoy worship together as a family. We are planning to resume all activities, both Sunday morning and Wednesday nights beginning January 24th/27th.
We will continue to meet in-person for worship each Sunday. The sanctuary service will meet at both 9a and 11a, with Encounter meeting at 11a. If you do not feel comfortable at this time, we understand and will continue to post our Sanctuary Service each Sunday at 11am on our website, as well as Facebook Live at 11am.
You have been so faithful in your giving during this time and we appreciate that. Many of you have been dropping off your offering at the front desk. However, you will need to mail them in after Wednesday or you can give online at www.ridgedalebaptist.org/give. Thanks in advance for your help!
We’re praying for doctors and nurses and first responders, that they would be able to care well for those who are sick. We’re also praying for those who are working night and day to find a vaccine. We invite you to join us.
There comes a time when “loving your neighbor” involves putting yourself at risk, as the church has historically done during plagues and outbreaks of leprosy. That time may well come for us. But for now, we’re submitting to the recommendations of our civil authorities and praying that the spread of the disease diminishes in the days to come.
Pray for those infected. Pray for those mentioned above who are at-risk. And pray for us as we continue to discuss what’s best for the church.
We will continue to keep you informed of any future developments that might impact Ridgedale Baptist Church and its members. In the meantime, we encourage you to remain calm, to take the appropriate measures to stay healthy, and continue your thoughts and prayers for those directly impacted by this disease.
Ridgedale Ministerial Staff
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we suspending our services and events?
We want to do our part to keep everyone safe in light of the coronavirus. Although we’re still learning about the virus, we already know that large gatherings of people increase the odds of exposure, and that some demographics, like older adults, are especially susceptible. We believe that the best way to love others and love our city right now is to suspend our events, which will help limit and slow exposure.
What events are suspended? How long?
At the moment, we are suspending community groups and Wednesday night activities, planning to return on January 24th/27th. The staff will continue to serve you and our community anyway we can. Please do not hesitate to contact us using the form below.
In your other activities, such as work, errands, and time with friends, please act wisely. Take precautions when sharing food or interacting with higher-risk populations, like older adults. We will also provide notifications through our Facebook page.
Is all this precaution really necessary?
As Christians, we believe that God is always in control. He instructs us never to worry about tomorrow, but to trust him in all things. He protects us from many dangers we see and many dangers we don’t. Our job is to act in wisdom, without fear.
Making a decision about the coronavirus is difficult because the news changes each day. We can never know with certainty what the right choice is. But in this case, we believe the wisest choice is to err on the side of caution. If we gathered together at an event, we would be increasing the risk of spreading the coronavirus – maybe to someone who is already in poor health. We want to minimize that risk.
For more information about the coronavirus, see these pages from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
What will we do to accommodate those who don’t feel comfortable coming to in-person Sunday services?
We’ll be providing online service options until further notice. We will post the worship service on Sunday at 11am at ridgedalebaptist.org/live
You can join a Watch party on our Facebook Page every Sunday at 11am.
How can I combat my anxiety and fear?
Any time we have to take safety precautions, it’s easy to become worried. This worry can multiply when those precautions affect our daily routines. The reality is that we don’t need to be worried – our God is good, loving, and in control. However, here are some practical steps you can take to combat anxiety:
- Just because we’re not gathering together doesn’t mean we’re not a church anymore. Stay connected. Your church family is still available. Take steps to reach out, share your worries with others, and help bear their burdens in return.
- Remember that God loves to hear our prayers. He instructs us to give him all our anxieties. Take time to pray alone and with your friends and family.
- Think about what opportunities God may be giving you right now. If your daily routine is disrupted and you’re home more often, it may be a chance for you to rest, spend time with the Lord, or care for a friend or neighbor.
What can I do to help?
Right now, we don’t have any special plans for taking action together. However, we will be carefully considering the best way to step in as opportunities come our way.
You can find places to serve HERE.
We encourage you to be in prayer for our world, especially for healthcare professionals and for those who need treatment. Keep your eyes open to ways the Lord may be calling you to use your time, resources, and gifts to meet needs around you.
I need help with…
If you have needs related to employment, housing, food, or more, check out our list of resources here.