Letters from Bro. Alan

May 28, 2020
 
Dear Mt. Olive Family,

I am thankful for each member of the Body of Christ. I am also thankful for worship. To be
able to come together as brothers and sister in Christ and to enjoy corporate worship is a
beautiful thing. The past three months has been a challenge but with each passing week God has
continued to bless us and has opened additional ways to worship. We all can recall when the
COVID-19 restrictions began, we were so highly restricted that we were only able to worship
electronically. But praise to the Lord we were able to worship. A few weeks later God provided
us a way to a worship on the parking lot that we have affectionately called Drive-in Church.
Praise to the Lord we were able to worship. Very recently the Leadership team has received a
number of requests to begin In-service worship. After considerable prayer and discussion, the
leadership team has come to consensus to move forward to corporate worship inside the church.
Again, praise the Lord, we are able to worship.

Starting this Sunday, May 31, 2020 we will initiate in-service worship at 10:30 am. It is
important to note that In-service worship during the COVID 19 restrictions will not completely
look like In-service worship prior to the restrictions. Governor Parsons has been very
encouraging to begin to progressively move forward relating to economy, recreation and most
importantly worship within safe parameters. Those safe parameters include, at least until June
15, 2020, a required social distancing of six feet between persons or family units and an
appropriate sanitizing of the areas that our guests will be encountering. Additionally any guest
that has a fever or flu like symptoms are requested to remain home and watch the service on
FaceBook or our website.

To remain in compliance with the Governor’s directive, seating must be arranged to
accommodate 6 foot distance between an individual or a family unit. Our deacons will be ready
to serve you as you arrive on Sunday Morning. They will be providing instructions on seating to
remain in compliance with the Governor’s directive. They will seat guests in the sanctuary,
overflow area and downstairs in the fellowship area and will give instructions when ready to
leave, much like dismissing guests at a wedding. It should also be noted that those guests sitting
downstairs in the fellowship area, will be able to view the service on television sets located
downstairs.

It is the leadership team’s intention to progress our time to worship the Lord together as much as
possible. We do not want anyone to feel excluded or unsafe. Anyone who would like to wear a
mask is certainly free to do so. We will also have hand sanitizer readily available for your use as
well. If anyone would like to come and stay on the parking lot and listen to the service live on
our FM station, that will also be an option for you. Lastly you may also watch the service at a
later time on FaceBook (Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Russellville, MO) or our
Website(www.mtolivebaptistrussellville.org)
 
As we enhance the opportunity to worship God corporately at Mt. Olive, it reminds me of the
power of God’s love. In I John 4:8 it says in part, “God is Love.” Thank you for the love and
encouragement that you have for the Family of God. It is a joy to see the love and unity of our
church. As I think about that I am reminded of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 when He prayed for us,
““My prayer is not for them alone(Jesus’ disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in
me through their message, 21  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I
am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John
17:20-21

Church, I am thankful that we are one church through the power and Love of God. Hope to see
you on Sunday!

God Bless,

Bro. Alan

May 21, 2020

Dear Mt. Olive Family,

It seems that days has turned to weeks and weeks have turned into months, since we were first introduced to COVID-19 and the impacts that is has on our lives.  I know we are all getting tired.  The psalmist shares in Psalm 121 an important truth that can help our hearts become regenerated even when we are in a situation that we don’t fully understand.  I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2.  What a beautiful truth and reminder, our help comes from the Lord.  As a Christian our true hope and help does not come from the things that the world depends on.  Our hope and help comes from the only power source that can deliver us.

During these trying times, don’t fall for Satan’s tricks.  He knows some of us are physically, emotionally and even spiritually spent.  It is at these times that Satan sees us as an easy mark to manipulate us to anger, frustrations, speech and actions that does not honor or bring Glory to God.  Ken Sande shares a great truth in his book, “The Peace Maker” God desires His children to pursue a responsibility of being a Peacemaker.  The very first point that we all as Christians should incorporate in our day to day life, according to Sande, is to Glorify God.  Whether we are home, at church, at work, at recreation, or shopping or at leisure, we must bring Glory to God.  We must, even in the midst of these challenging times, ask these questions: does my thoughts, speech, responses and actions bring Glory to God?  In our actions are we fueling Satan’s fire or are we seeking to Honor and Glorify God?  In I Corinthians 10:31 we are reminded as God’s Holy Children  “…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

So in the midst of the trying times, let us all be reminded of these truths: 1.  Our help comes from the Lord who is so great and mighty that He even created everything in heaven and earth and 2. Whatever we do, say, or share, let us do everything within our ability to bring our True Loving God, Honor and Glory!

As we know we are still under the Governor’s order to keep 6 foot distance between individuals or family groups.  This directive remains in effect through May 31, 2020.  We anticipate the Governor to provide further directions soon as to what COVID-19 protocols will be for June 1, 2020.  We are continuing to worship each Sunday with Drive-in Church.  We are excited because Drive-in Church allows everyone to come together and worship together.  Since the weather is beginning to warm, many have asked if we could exit our vehicles and set up a lawn chair outside of the car to enjoy worship.  This request does not violate the Governor’s order, as long as everyone maintains the 6 foot social distance.

Starting this Sunday if you would like to bring a chair to sit immediately outside of your vehicle you may do so.  If you choose to do it please be mindful of the following things:

  1. Please remain at your vehicle and do not visit throughout the parking lot.
  2. You may sit close to your family
  3. You must remain at a 6 foot distance from any other person or vehicle.
  4. Please respect that some people will want to remain in their vehicle and refrain from being near others to remain as safe from COVID 19 as possible.

Church, I am thankful for each and everyone of you.  Paula and I love you and want to continue to walk beside you as we all work through this together.  Thank you for what you are doing to serve God, the church and our community.  And thank you for all you are doing to bring God  Glory.  Hope to see you on Sunday!

 

God Bless,

 

Bro. Alan

Mt. Olive Baptist Church
5/14/2020

Dear Church,

In John 13:35 the words of Jesus shares, “By this everyone will know that you are my
disciples, if you love one another.” Mt. Olive has a lot of disciples that people inside and
outside of this church can see. The love that you have for God and for one another, is
remarkable and obvious. With all the disruptions, changes and challenges that we have
experienced during this pandemic, our church’s love has not stopped. The family of God is
precious for several reasons; 1. We have a beautiful relationship with the Lord; 2. We have
received the incredible gift of eternal life; 3. We are united together as the body of Christ
where we can love, serve and encourage one another; 4. We can share the love, hope and
message of Jesus to each other, our community, nation and world!

As we see many of the restrictions starting to lift we are excited to see more opportunities to
worship as a church family. We will continue Drive-In church until we are able to
accommodate everyone in the sanctuary; we have reinitiated Men’s Bible Monday Night
Bible study within the COVID 19 parameters; a team is working hard to develop a special
children’s ministry; and a team is working to initiate a Drive-in movie for our church and
community. We will be looking forward to more details in the days ahead. We must also
continue to pray for Associational Children’s camp. The Camp team is still praying about
whether to have Children’s camp or not. Alex is also seeking the Lord’s direction on a
youth summer missions project. Your prayers for wisdom, and direction for all these
ministries is greatly appreciated.

I am especially excited about a few additional things. This Sunday May 17, 2020
Brooklynn Payne will be baptized on the church parking lot. It is so wonderful to see a
young lady who has faith in Jesus and a desire to follow His commands. With COVID-19
there has been a lot of changes. Baptism is one of them. I have never baptized anyone in
the church parking lot before, but it is exciting to see God at work and Him providing a way
for His faithful converts to follow His commands.

Please mark your calendars for Sunday June 21, 2020. The Russellville/Lohman
Ministerial Alliance will be partnering with our 2020 Cole R-1 graduates to host a
Baccalaureate service. Details are still sketchy but as of right now we are hoping to have a
drive-in Baccalaureate service to encourage our graduates in the way of the Lord.
in prayer for these young people who are facing difficult and disappointing circumstances.
Your support at Baccalaureate will be very special to them.
 
As you know we have been praying for Janice Steenburgen and Vacation Bible School.
After much prayer and seeking of wisdom a decision has been made to have an abbreviated
Vacation Bible School. While a lot of restriction have been lifted, at this time we are still
required to maintain a social distance of 6 feet from other people or a family unit. This has
brought some challenges as to how to do VBS. As you know VBS is one of our greatest
evangelistic outreach ministries to the children of our church and community. After much
prayer God has given Janice peace about how we will proceed with VBS. VBS will be held
on the evening of Tuesday July 14 and Wednesday July 15, 2020. The plan is to create
outside venues that will include skits, Bible study, Missions, Music and Recreation. Despite
the challenges and restrictions that COVID-19 has created, God has given us a way to share
Jesus with our children. Please be praying now as to how God may lead you to be
involved. There will be more information to follow.

A scripture that I have shared often, and I am sure you probably rely on, is found in the
book of Galatians. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” Galatians 6:9 I am thankful that I have
not seen any of our church give up doing good for God. Church I am so thankful for
your faith; your love and your willingness to serve the Lord even when we are
exhausted or when it is not easy.

May God’s blessing be with you and your family. Please continue to encourage one another
through prayer, notes, texts, telephone calls, etc. Stay strong and stay safe. Looking
forward to seeing you Sunday at 10:30!
 
Sincerely,
 
Bro. Alan
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
 
5/6/2020
 
Dear Church Family,

In Paul’s letter to the Church at Philippi he shares, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider
myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and
straining toward what is ahead, 14  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God
has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 We have faced a number
of challenges in the past few months. I hope we can all have that attitude that Paul is
describing. Let us forget what is behind us and strain toward what is ahead. May we all
“…press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called…”
Friends, I continue to pray for you and I am thankful that you are praying for each other.
God is an amazing and awesome God. Even in the midst of a pandemic, God continues to be
our strength, shelter and salvation. I wanted to take an opportunity to share some recent
protocol changes now that the Governor’s Stay At Home Order has expired.
During a teleconference between the Governor and Religious Leaders that was held on May
1, 2020, the governor shared with us that after May 3, 2020 churches would be free to meet
together for worship. He also shared two very specific directives that had to take place.
While the directive of less than 10 people meeting together was eliminated, the Governor did
say that anyone attending church had to practice social distancing of 6 feet apart. It was
noted that Family units could sit together without the 6 feet distance, but the family unit had
to remain at least 6 feet away from the next person or family unit. Additionally, the
sanctuary, restrooms, and any area that guest may occupy had to be sanitized before guests
arrive and after the guests leave.

I have reached out to key church leaders to discuss how Mt. Olive should proceed. After
prayer and discussion, it was decided that Mt. Olive will continue to worship with
Drive-in Church until the 6 feet distance requirement is removed. We want
the congregation to be safe. We also want to respect the Governor’s directives. In addition,
we also want to accommodate the entire congregation for worship. It is noted that the space
in our sanctuary and the overflow area would only accommodate 40-50 people with the 6 feet
distancing between people or family units.

I have spoken to many in our congregation and they have shared that with the remarkable
work by those that set up the sound system, bring the trailer in and with the new FM
transmitter they enjoy participating in Drive-in Church. We are all looking forward to
coming back to corporate worship in the church building as soon as possible, but we are
blessed to be able to worship together each Sunday.

Thank you Church for your continued love, hope and encouragement that you share with one
another and to those in our community. You are also putting your faith into action. I am so
thankful to Sarah and Alex for sharing adult Sunday School lessons each Sunday, for Don
and Sarah leading in Bible Study and prayer on Wednesday evenings, Alex sharing
Wednesday night youth programming through Zoom or FaceBook. I am also excited to share
there is a group from our church that has a burden to reach out to the children of our church
and community. They are working on a system that can help engage the children in Bible
Study and Christ centered activities. I recently heard in a meeting that we can’t let the
challenges overcome us but instead develop an attitude of Christ. When we respond to
situations with an attitude of Jesus, God is always glorified.

Please be praying for a number of ministries that are seeking the Lord’s direction. The
church will be considering what or how to do Vacation Bible School; Concord Baptist
Association is still praying and discussing whether or not to have Children’s Camp. I also
want to share with you that 3MT and World changers have both been canceled for the year.
Please pray for Alex and his team as they seek a local mission for which the youth can
participate later this year.

I hope to see you in Drive-in church this Sunday. Also please take note if you are not
comfortable with or if you are unable to come to Drive-In church, we will be broadcasting
the services on FaceBook and our website at a later time, so please join us in any way that
you can!

In Christ,
Bro. Alan
4/24/2020
 
Dear Church Family,

Greetings Church!!! Been praying for you and continually hope that everyone is fairing well.
I am thankful for the truth we find in Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-
present help in trouble. 2  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the
mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3  though its waters roar and foam and the
mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3 God has truly been our refuge, strength
and help in our time of challenges and trouble. When we trust God in faith we don’t have to
live in fear and frustration.

It has been a long time since we have been able to come together to worship the Lord. We
are all longing for the day when we can meet together in the sanctuary to pray together, sing
together, and listen to God’s word together. We are hoping to hear the defining parameters
that will allow churches to meet together for worship very soon. In fact I hope to hear
enough today during the Governor’s teleconference that we will be able to start planning to
reopen. As of right now that date is known only to the Lord. We will not open the church
until we know it is safe to do so. But until that time comes we will be initiating Drive-in
Church starting this Sunday April 26, 2020 and continuing until we are able to meet in the
sanctuary.

I really appreciate all those who have worked very hard to make Drive-in church a reality.
We will have one additional resource starting this Sunday that was not available on Easter
Sunday. Amy Steenbergen and Mike Nichols were able to arrange for an FM receiver to
allow those in attendance to listen to the service on the radio in their car. We will also be
using the PA system. So those of you that would prefer to sit with your windows up, may do
so and still be able to listen to the service on their FM radio.

Sis Pat has created a beautiful order of service. We will have congregational singing and you
will shortly be receiving the lyrics of those songs so you can print out in advance or access
them through your smart device during the service.

I also want to share that there will be a change in how we do our taping of the services. We
will continue to video tape our drive-in service. However due to slow internet service we
will not be using FaceBook live. Instead we will tape the service and launch it on FaceBook
and the website a few hours after the service is concluded. I apologize for any inconvenience
but the quality of the service will be greatly enhanced by doing it this way.
I wanted to remind you of a few things regarding Drive-in Church. Church will be
scheduled to start at 10:30 am. So you will want to arrive a little early so the parking lot
attendants will be able to park you. We will work to accommodate as many vehicles that we
can, but keep in mind that we will have space between cars (6 feet) to be in compliance with
Social Distancing requirements. So please be ready to follow the parking lot attendant’s
direction. Please note if you drive a large vehicle such as a Pick-up truck, the parking lot
attendants will have you park in an area where you can view the worship but not block the
views of those in smaller vehicles.

Also there will be no access to restrooms because the church will be closed to the public.
As a reminder in order to remain in compliance with social gatherings and social distancing
everyone will need to remain in their vehicles. I know that sounds kind of restrictive, but
for those who want to come out we will be a step closer to corporate worship and ensure that
everyone stays safe as we worship the Lord together. The cars should be spaced far enough
away from each other to roll your windows down if you desire.

We are also going to collect tithes and offerings. We will once again give instructions of
how that will work on Sunday morning during the service.

In the event that we experience rain that makes it impossible to set up our electronics outside,
we will send out a text through our church system, prayer chain and FaceBook to advise that
we will record the service with the worship team inside the church and will cancel the Drive-
In portion. Let us all pray that will not happen.

I am excited to start this new way of worship and am so thankful for all the folks that have
worked hard to make this happen. I also want to remind you, if you are not comfortable with
or if you are unable to come to Drive-In church, we will be broadcasting the services on
FaceBook and the website at a later time on Sunday. So please join us in Worshipping the
Lord in any way that you can!

In Christ,
 
Bro. Alan
 
Click here to view and print the 
April 16, 2020
 
Dear Mt. Olive Family,

It was such a joy to be able to come together on Easter Sunday and celebrate the Resurrection of
Jesus through Drive-in Church. When God’s people come together and worship the Lord, it is
always a joy. When believers come together we share the same joy we see in I Peter 1:8,
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you
believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 1 Peter 1:8
For the past month or so many of us have struggled. But no matter what circumstances we face,
we can have joy. We all love and believe Jesus without seeing Him. We call that faith. And
when we love and Believe in Jesus, Peter says we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious
joy! Church we have been through some very difficult days, and praise to the Lord we have
been able to persevere. I wish I could say that things from this moment on will be easy and
great. However, the truth is we will likely face more difficult and challenging days ahead. But
Christians we can face whatever the day holds with joy. Joy that is inexpressible and glorious
because we love Jesus and Believe.

We have a mighty God that we serve. He loves us and we can put our trust in Him to get us
through the days we can’t get through ourself. But as we have discovered, the challenges of life
is more than just me. As a church, we as Christians brothers and sister, love the Lord and love
each other. We seek ways to honor, serve and glorify the Lord. We also allow God to work
through us to love, honor and serve our church and community. We look for opportunities to
serve each other and to share the hope of Jesus. Thank you church for all you are doing to honor
and serve God, each other and those in our communities.

Paul reminds us in Colossians 3, “   Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13  Bear with
each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as
the Lord forgave you. 14  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in
perfect unity. 15  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you
were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15. Thank you Mt. Olive church for
living a thankful life that is clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience,
peace and forgiveness!

FUTURE DRIVE-IN CHURCH
We are so blessed as a congregation. There were a lot of members that worked hard to make
Drive-In Church available last Sunday. We are all very thankful to each of them and their service
to the Lord. As of this moment, we are unclear as to when the COVID 19 restrictions will end
and we will be able to corporately worship together. Next Sunday we will provide services again
through electronic means (e.g. – FaceBook, website, etc.). We are blessed as a church to be able
to do that.
 
However starting on Sunday April 26, 2020 we will start and continue (depending on the
weather) with Drive-In Church. We plan to continue Drive-in Church each Sunday starting
April 26, 2020 and will continue until we are allowed to worship together in the sanctuary. As
with drive-in church last week, we will also be required to follow all social gathering and social
distancing requirements until they are lifted. So please mark April 26, 2020 on your calendar
and plan to attend the Drive-in worship, if you are comfortable and feel well enough to attend.
I am thankful for each and everyone of you. Paula and I love you and want to continue to walk
beside you as we all work through this together. Thank you for what you are doing to serve God,
the church and our community.

God Bless,

Bro. Alan

Mt. Olive Baptist Church

April 9, 2020

Dear Church Family,

We are so excited for this Sunday!  We will be celebrating Resurrection Sunday, together!!  It is such a beautiful time to remember and recognize the power of God to salvation.  Over 2,000 years ago God the Father sent His very own Son to this earth to die for our sins, be buried in a tomb and then three days later Jesus arose!  In addition to the incredible Good News of Jesus, we will also have the opportunity to participate in Drive-In Church.   While we can’t touch each other, we will be able to see each other as we combine out hearts to worship God.

I wanted to remind you of a few things of what we will be doing.  Church will be scheduled to start at 10:30 am.  So you will want to arrive a little early so the parking lot attendants will be able to park you.  We will work to accommodate as many vehicles that we can, but keep in mind that we will have space between cars to be in compliance with Social Distancing requirements. So please be ready to follow the parking lot attendant’s direction.  Also, there will be no access to restrooms because the church will be closed to the public.  As a reminder in order to remain in compliance with social gatherings and social distancing everyone will need to remain in their vehicles.  I know that sounds kind of restrictive, but for those who want to come out we will be a step closer to corporate worship and ensure that everyone stays safe as we worship the Lord together.  The cars should be spaced far enough away from each other to roll your windows down if you desire.  

We will be blessed to have our worship team back together. Sarah is planning on playing the electric piano, Pat will lead worship and Claire will be part of Pat’s praise team.  Attached you will find the songs that Pat will be leading us in.  Please feel free to print them at home or access them electronically during the service.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to pass out books or a handout nor will the TV monitors be able to share the lyrics with everyone in their vehicles.  We are also going to collect tithes and offerings.  We may have to be flexible of how that works out.  We will give instructions of how that will work on Sunday morning during the service.

 

I also want to share, Amy and a number of other folks are working hard to make Drive-in church work for this Sunday.  We are all so thankful for all the hard work to see this happen. In review of the weather forecast there is a possible chance for rain on Easter Morning.  In the event that the rain makes it impossible to set up our electronics outside, we will send out a text through our church system and advise that we will only do FaceBook live and will cancel the Drive-In portion.  Let us all pray that will not happen.  But if it is raining on Sunday morning, please review our normal communication sites for up to date notification: text, website, facebook and prayer chain.

 

It has been a joy to see the exciting ways that the congregation has reached out to the church to love and encourage one another.  Thanks for the Drive-by Praying, thanks for the encourage-grams delivered on lawns, thanks for the notes and cards, thanks for the deacons making contacts with the church and thanks for what everyone is doing to love and encourage one another.

 

God Bless and I am so looking forward to seeing those who can make it to Church on Sunday!  Also please take note if you are not comfortable with or if you are unable to come to Drive-In church, we will be broadcasting the services on FaceBook live as well.  So please join us in any way that you can!

 

In Christ,

 

Bro. Alan

 

Mt. Olive Baptist Church

April 4, 2020                                    

Ref:  Brother Alan’s Third Letter

Dear Mt. Olive Church Family,

So how are things going?  I hope you are seeing the power of God in your midst despite the challenging circumstances around us.  I have been praying for you and our church this week.  I have also been praying for the President, Governor and those in leadership while they seek to find a public policy and protocol to keep us as citizens as safe as possible.  We have all been lifting up prayers for those with the disease and the medical, emergency and essential workers.  The times we face are challenging, but with God we have power, strength and hope.

I have been consulting with  the leadership of our church as we discuss corporate worship and ways to minister to one another and our community. It has also been my desire to explore ways we all can enjoy worship together.  We have for the past few weeks participated in FaceBook Live for worship.  We have also been able to have Bible Study made available through FaceBook and Zoom.  I hope you have had the opportunity to join us for those times.

I have also desired to explore another opportunity while we await the all clear for corporate worship: Drive-In Church.  The leadership team and I have discussed this option a lot recently with the understanding of Stay at Home orders.  As you may or may not know Governor Parson issued a Stay at Home order statewide for April 6-24.  In review of the Governor’s stay at home order dated April 3, 2020 the last sentence of Paragraph 1. Says “…Individuals may also go to and from an individual’s place of worship, provided that limitation on social gatherings and social distancing are properly adhered to.” 

I recently spoke with a representative from the Cole County Health Department about a drive-in church. They advised that if we do it in a way not to violate Social Gathering and Distancing requirements, we should be in compliance with the order.  I would like to take this opportunity to share we will be initiating a Drive-In Church starting on Easter Sunday – April 12, 2020.  The lectern and worship area will be located outside on the carport area and the music and preaching will be shared through a PA system.  The church and public will be welcome to drive to the parking lot and remain in their vehicle to enjoy the worship.  The service will also be available via FaceBook live for anyone uncomfortable with leaving their home. We must honor the following requirements:

  1.  The Worship Team, Sound Person, Videographer and Pastor (under 10 people) will be the only one’s authorized to be at the carport area of the church where worship will be conducted.
  2. There will be authorized lot attendants that will direct traffic and where to park.
  3. All cars will be required to honor a 6 foot distance.
  4. Everyone must remain in their vehicle through the duration of the worship.
  5. There will be no bathroom facilities available and no one will be permitted to exit their vehicle or to enter the church.
  6. Anyone who is running a fever or has any flu like symptoms should remain at home.

A drive-in church is certainly something different.  But dealing with COVID-19 has moved churches, to include Mt. Olive, to think outside of the box.  God is using our church to do remarkable things to minister to one another and our community.  I shared we are doing FaceBook Live worship and Zoom Bible Studies.  Last week a young lady had an idea to do Drive-by praying (We got to do that last Thursday); the deacons have orchestrated a ministry to make phone contacts with our regular attenders and we are getting ready to launch a Children’s Bible Story time. We have also received funding from Concord Baptist Association to purchase “wifi extenders” to our current internet which provides an opportunity for children to do their homework and send it to their teachers and for adults working from home to do their email and essential work, all free of charge.  I am also excited to hear about testimonies of people from within the church that are making face masks to help medical staff, emergency responders and to the public who may need the masks.  Guess we could call that “sewing for Jesus.”

 

Thank you church for responding during this difficult time as the true Children of Light who we are called to be.  Thank you for loving one another, helping one another, encouraging one another and reaching out to help our hurting community.  Please stay safe and follow the COVID 19 protocol.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

              Bro. Alan

 

Mt. Olive Baptist Church

 

March 24, 2020                                            

Ref:  Brother Alan’s Second Letter

Dear Mt. Olive Church Family,

Our Sunday sermon on March 22, 2020 explored one verse in the Gospel of John,  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.  What a beautiful thought that has inspired me this week.  No matter what troubles I face, since I am in Jesus, not only do I have His peace, but I am, through Him, an overcomer too.  I hope this truth inspires your heart as it does mine.

I am so thankful that you are continuing to make contact with each other to simply offer to help and just to check on someone.  It is a tremendous encouragement to me to see the church being the church!  We are ministering to each other, ministering to our neighbors and also seeking ways to minister to our community.  Thank you for putting the following verse into practice: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  I Thessalonians 5:11

We know how important corporate worship and fellowship is to our church.  Special thanks to Sarah and Megan Kennedy and Amy Steenbergen for providing a special Sunday School lesson and a special worship time this past Sunday.  I am especially thankful for Marsha and Curt Wyss and their beautiful and talented granddaughters Hailey, Olivia and Kayla.  Their special music really led our hearts to worship.  Additionally, Amy has shared she and Bro Alex has been working to bring another technology some will appreciate.  We will begin to initiate Zoom.  Zoom is being used by many small groups and it provides an opportunity for an interactive process through a PC, Smartphone, IPad or Mac.    

If you are interested in participating in small group discipleship through Zoom, we want you to be a part! So keep your eyes out for a special invitation Amy will be sending out.  Bro Alex already has his youth lessons completed and will start it tomorrow night with the youth!

I also wanted to share a thought about these challenging times and how we as Christians choose to respond.  Many in this world are overwhelmed and afraid.  They are looking for hope and help.  So, as Christians, let’s do all we can to show them that hope and be there to help.  I am reminded of the ministry of Ken Sandee.  Ken is a Christian attorney that specializes in conflict resolution.  So how does Ken’s ministry encourage us today?  Ken’s ministry starts out by sharing an important point that is true in all things.  How does our attitudes, speech and actions “Bring Glory to God?”  This important point comes in part from I Corinthians.  It says, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31. So throughout this pandemic, remember this truth.  Are you and I seeking to bring honor and glory to God in all we do?  Are we glorifying God in our speech, actions and attitudes?  Are we glorifying God with what we tell people or put on FaceBook?  The world is watching us.  Are we prepared to show the world that in whatever we do, we do it all for the Glory of God?

Our church is here to serve the Lord, preach and teach His Word of truth and to help.  Please let me, Bro. Alex, or a deacon know if you have any need for which the church can help.  In addition, if you are aware of someone in the community that needs food, groceries or medication picked up, or has other needs please let us know. 

Also take note.  We still plan to have online Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. through FaceBook and possibly Zoom and worship at 10:30 a.m. through FaceBook live. Sarah and Don Kennedy also hope to have an Adult Bible study and prayer time on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. through our first attempt at Zoom.  Hope you can join us for all opportunities.

In closing, thank you for following the directives of our Governor to refrain from any social gatherings of more than 10 people and for keeping a 6 foot distance when you are in public. Most of all thank you for letting the light of Christ shine through you.

Sincerely,

 

 

 Rev. Alan R. Earls, Pastor

 

 

March 18, 2020
 
 
 

Dear Church Family,

On March 17, 2020 I met with a number of key leaders of our church to discuss the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).   The decision that we had to make was heart wrenching.  In an attempt to curb the continued spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a recommendation that all public gatherings not exceed 50 people.   On Monday March 16, 2020 President Trump shared “The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America.”  The President’s plan revealed the need to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.  Finally, the Cole County Health Department issued an order on March 16, 2020, “It is hereby declared unlawful for any person to organize or to attend an intentional gathering of 50 people or more in a single space or room…”  Based on a combination of all three directives, the leadership of Mt. Olive has suspended all worship services and programing until further notice.  That includes Sunday School, Sunday Morning Worship, Sunday Evening Worship; Wednesday meals, Awanas, youth and normal adult meetings.  We also had to postpone the directory photos until further notice.

The leadership team is working to create FaceBook live for preaching on Sunday’s at 10:30 am for which you will be able to observe in the comfort of your own home (FaceBook:Mt. Olive Baptist Church Russellville, Mo.).  We will also have the limited worship available on our Church Website: www.mtolivebaptistrussellville.org  The Discipleship Coordinators are working to develop a Sunday School lesson to be published each week to be viewed in the same manner. 

The leadership team is developing ways to remain in contact with our church and especially our seniors who seem to be at the greatest risk.  We hope to initiate regular phone contact with our church family from your pastors and deacons.

We anticipate questions about continuing to support the ministries of the church.  We know that Tithing is also an important part of your worship.  As a reminder you can provide your tithes and offerings as follows:

 

 

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” Matthew 28:19-20

 

 

Online Giving:er. 2 Corinthians 9:7:

 

Simple and secure online giving. You may give a single gift, or schedule ongoing donations using your checking account, debit, or credit card.

 

 You may access online giving by access our website www.mtolivebaptistrussellville.org  and clicking on the Giving Tab.

 

Tithe.ly App is also available in the Apple App Store and in Google Play Store.

Download for your convenience and select

Mt. Olive Baptist Church

Russellville, MO.

 

Traditional Giving:

 

You may also give by mailing a check to:

Mt. Olive Baptist Church

PO Box 416

Russellville, MO 6507

 

These are challenging times before us.  But remember, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-disciple,” 2 Timothy 1:7.  May God bless you and your household with health, peace, comfort and love. 

 

If you have questions, concerns, or a ministry need please contact the church at 573-782-4638 or Bro. Alan’s Cell:573-338-8333 or Bro. Alex’s Cell:573-291-6712

 

In Christ,

Bro. Alan, Pastor

Mt. Olive Baptist Church