“As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves — but Jesus kept sleeping. So the disciples came and woke him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’’e going to die!’ He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!'” Matthew 8:23-27
“Drive Thru Wednesdays”
In an effort to stay connected to one another, Bethany Church, in Ellicott City, Maryland, started “Drive-Thru Wednesdays” —weekly opportunities for the church to come together in cars for a variety of activities. One week, they came together to drop off their offerings and church members were able to wave to each other from cars. On another Wednesday, they had a prayer time, with staff members praying over each vehicle, following social distancing guidelines and keeping an appropriate
distance. Each Wednesday will have a different focus. Church leaders have been giving visitors popcorn and hotdogs, once again following appropriate social distancing protocol.
Kip Smith, the senior pastor of Bethany Church, said the church has been using every opportunity to stay connected.
The staff stays in touch and encourages one another with daily Bible readings and prayer. Each staff person takes a turn leading a 5-7 minute devotional for every day of the week.
Staff members are reaching out individually to members of the congregation through calls and texts.
Smith, like others throughout the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, said, “Virtual is good; it’s better than nothing, but it’s not like being together as the body of Christ.”
Though thankful for the opportunity to minister online, Smith said that a concern for him, as with many pastors, is that people will continue to watch online and not attend church in person when pandemic restrictions are lifted. “It gets people out of the habit of being at a church, being a part of the vision, and taking ownership,” he explained. “Virtual viewing allows people the luxury of disappearing.”
The good news, he said, is that people outside the church are asking about Christ. Over the last several weeks, Smith said three people, who had drifted away from the church, have called him to talk.
“COVID-19 causes us to take stock of our lives and gets our attention. We’re praying God will continue to get our attention and speak through the airways to reach people for Jesus Christ,” he concluded.
Caring for a congregation
Lake Shore Baptist Church (LSBC) in Pasadena, Maryland, was one of many churches that planned to host a Pricilla Shirer simulcast on April 25. Rather than disappoint those registered, LifeWay made individual streaming licenses available so participants could watch from their homes.
LSBC Senior Pastor Jon Brewer kicked off a new series called, “Courage Over Fear” during their Sunday morning FaceBook Live services. The series is based on the account of the people of Israel under Joshua’s “new management,” and what they did and didn’t learn while wandering in the desert.
A prayer for city leaders
Sean Davis, the pastor of Ocean City Baptist Church in Maryland, recently had the opportunity to pray with the city’s leaders.
Davis, on Facebook, shared, “This morning I was blessed to be asked to pray with many of our city leaders on a conference call before their weekly meeting. I often pray for our leaders but I specifically prayed for them to have courage through these difficult times.”
Davis’ prayer is printed below:
“Father in heaven, we come to you today in these difficult and unprecedented times and we ask that you would grant us courage. We admit that we are weak and fearful. You tell us in your Word that you did not give us a spirit of fear but you have given us the spirit of power of love and of sound mind. And in your sovereignty, You have put us in the position of leadership and influence. We admit that when we were appointed to this position of leadership that we did not anticipate the pandemic that we would be facing today. And we confess that at times we are fearful. We admit that we can’t do this alone and that we need your help. We ask that your Holy Spirit to make us strong and courageous.
“We pray for the…
* Courage to speak the truth in love
* Courage to do what is right even when everyone else may be doing what is wrong
* Courage to make wise decisions that will honor You
* Courage to stand against the injustice and lies that we hear in this world
* Courage to rest assured in your promises even when our faith is lacking
* Most of all, give us the courage to courageously place our faith and hope in You and You alone and the courage to be bold witnesses for You
“Give us the courage like…
* Noah — who built an ark even though the world laughed at him
* Moses — who stood up to Pharaoh and told him to let Your people go
* Daniel — in the lions’ den
* Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — who refused to bow to the false gods of this world
* David — who faced the giant Goliath, when nobody else would
* Nehemiah — who spoke to the king and built the wall even in the face of opposition
* Peter — who boldly proclaimed Your life, death, and resurrection even though he was arrested and faced death
“But most of all, courage like Jesus, who, although He was an innocent man, willingly laid down His life by dying on a cross for our sins.
“We ask these things in Jesus name,
“A holy life will produce the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine.”―
“The modern-day gospel says, ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Therefore, follow these steps, and you can be saved.’ Meanwhile, the Biblical gospel says, ‘You are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion; you are not even able to see that you need life, much less to cause yourself to come to life. Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do.”― Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
The below sections are taken from the June 8, 1997, edition of BaptistLIFE (At the time, BaptistLIFE was a bi-monthly publication.)
The Maryland/Delaware Support Staff Network won the 1997 “Battle of the States” contest of the National Association of Southern Baptist Secretaries, Inc.
The Bible Detective Squad of the Mars Hill Baptist Church in Baltimore is holding a race against time for the 12 weeks of June, July, and August. Men, women, boys and girls will earn detective badges by being present in Sunday School every week. There will be games (including a Bible verse hidden somewhere in the church), puzzles, prizes, and Bible teaching for everyone.
Leonardtown Baptist Church, part of the Potomac Association, presented the musical worship experience, “My Utmost for His Highest,” on April 26.