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May 20, 2020 12pm

Assembling by Faith: Why, How, Who, and When We Are Returning to In-Person Services

Approximately ten weeks ago, we entered an unprecedented season due to the COVID-19 crisis.

As a church, we have:
Entreated the Lord on behalf of those infected with the virus, front line workers and government leaders.

Worked to cooperate at every level with our government and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Ministered to our church family and anyone else seeking help through this crisis.

Pivoted our services to an online-only venue and subsequently to a mix of drive-in and online.

As a pastor, I have also:
Prayed and sought the Lord. (Many of our church family have joined in this, which I appreciate.)

Sought counsel from those either in or with direct contact to medical, legal, and political leaders, keeping our leadership apprised through the process.

Spent vast amounts of time to study the issues and respond properly.

Spoken with our city and county law enforcement leaders.

Participated with dozens of pastors across our state and around the country on these issues, considering safety for our congregations, religious liberty, and constitutional rights.

During this time, we have gladly submitted to those in authority over us as instructed in Romans 13; for the safety of those in our community and church. We are, however, mindful of the importance of gathering as a church body in accordance with Hebrews 10:25. All of us, including every pastor I have spoken with, have felt awkward and very much out of place by not meeting. It truly is ‘un-natural’ to be a church and not gather. It has been made worse as our state governor has chosen not to seek any religious input regarding impacts from his executive orders. He has provided a very open-ended timeline for the returning to worship, which has come with connections placing it upwards of 1 year to 1-1/2 years away. He has now further sought to extend his unilateral powers to include police force and criminal charges to those who defy his orders.

With these realities in mind, I cannot in good conscience wait longer to return to in-person services.

In an effort to help alleviate any confusion, here are a few points:

  1. Why?

Some will say we are returning too soon, while others will say we have waited too long. So why are we returning now?

We have weighed out Romans 13 and Acts 5:29, and we believe that the time has come that returning indicates a priority on obedience to God. We cannot wait indefinitely to obey the clear command of Scripture.

  1. How?

Attached you will find a phased plan of return that allows us to follow the recommendations of the CDC for social distancing and cleaning. I encourage all Victory Bible Baptist Church members to read the entire document. When we return, we will follow Phase 1 of this plan.

  1. Who?

So how does this impact the various members and age groups in our church family?

As per the plan, families will be encouraged to sit together in the service. Anyone not in the same household will be asked to sit at least six feet apart from one another.

Those who are over sixty-five or have underlying health conditions are encouraged to stay home and continue watching services through live stream during Phase 1 of our return.

  1. When?

Here is our schedule for Phase 1:

May 24—10:30 am & 5 pm Worship Service: we will begin Phase 1 following the guidelines.

May 27—7 pm Sunday School Online: we will continue our Sunday School online format.

Just as the great prophet Ezra led God’s people in a return to worship, we know that the key in our safe return is the Lord’s hand of protection upon us. Above all, as we follow this plan for a return to worship, we will continue to seek the Lord’s guidance and follow His direction.

Pastor Chris Shurilla

Please click here to view the Plans and Policies as described above.

April 18, 2020 12pm

Good Afternoon Victory,

I would like to start by telling all of you how very much I miss us assembling as the body of Christ. Hopefully, we will be able to gather in our church house once again. It is hard to believe, but the last update regarding changes to our service format was one whole month ago! On one hand, an eternity, on another, but a moment.

I also would like to say that it is very much self determination as to the condition of our spirit, attitude, and connectivity, one with another. We decide how much we interact, even if we do not see each other face to face. We decide how much connection we have with one another. I implore each of you to reach out to one another, check in on each other, just say hi or find out if you can pray for anything, on someone’s behalf. 1 Peter 1:22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”, I Peter 3:8, I John 3:14-16.

We have yet to hear from Governor JB Pritzker, regarding whether a shelter at home Executive Order to the state of Illinois will be extended or not. With that in mind, we could be looking at a lift within the next week or two. I would tell you, however, that I fully anticipate seeing an announcement this week that the Executive Order will be extended. What I fear the most is that it will be extended on an ‘indefinite’ basis, which I believe to be a very real possibility.

With that in mind, I truly covet your prayers now more than ever before. Romans 15:30 “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;”.

I never want to be a Pastor who is in a fight with the government over the wrong thing. Romans 12:18 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Titus 1:7 “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;”.

However, at some point the decision-making process clearly separates. I speak this from the two opposing views, a Political Figure and a Pastor. With this will come much prayer and council. In the meantime, technology can afford us a temporary alternative and we must use that to our fullest advantage for the time being.

With this latest information we have, here is our going forward service format. These changes will take effect as of tomorrow morning, April 19th:

Sunday AM Worship Service – Drive in (church parking lot) 10:30am

Sunday PM Worship Service – Drive in (church parking lot) 5:00pm

Wednesday PM Sunday School classes – Via Microsoft Teams 7:00pm

Several points of clarification:

  • Drive-in IS certainly optional. We will still be live-streaming the drive-in service. So, if you do not feel comfortable coming out, please do not; there will still be the option of watching from https://vbbc.live
  • As always, if you miss a service, it will be posted to our Youtube channel within 24 hours. You can go to the Victory Youtube Channel and watch
  • For the Sunday School classes – these will be the following:
    • Teen Class – Bro. Danny (Discord instead of Teams)
    • Adult Class 1 – Bro. Steve (Teams)
    • Adult Class 2 – Pastor (Teams)
  • Regarding hooking up to the Sunday School class via Microsoft Teams, Bro. Brendan will be working to get each of you connected. His email is [email protected] if there are any questions regarding this please reach out to him for help.

Regarding the Drive-In format of services, please observe the following:

  • If you have a fever, or are feeling sick, please stay home or seek medical attention
  • Park in such a manner that you are 6 feet from the cars next to you – this is important!
  • Once again, wave hello, but please no handshaking and keep distance
  • Please do not congregate outside your cars into a group – this is probably the fastest way for us to get told we cannot have Drive-in church
  • Our plan will be to use an FM transmitter whereby you will be instructed to turn your car radio to a certain station and then should be able to hear the service, while watching it live. We will be texting out the correct station later this evening and again before each service.
  • I would encourage everyone to have their windows down and PLEASE sing along so that everyone can hear – this will bring a large part of the church service ‘feel’ that we are all looking for

Weather permitting…but that’s a funny thing – we will announce if there is a change to the format due to weather

In His Service,

Pastor


March 21, 2020 3pm

Good Afternoon Victory,

We are experiencing some amazing and unprecedented situations in our country, the world, and more closely, our communities. First off, please allow me to say ‘Thank You’ so very much to each and every one of you for how you are handling things. I am so proud of what I have seen and heard, firsthand and otherwise.

To the extent of the impact on our Church, allow me to explain a few things. To begin with, I have been tracking this situation for several weeks now, since I first heard of the Covid-19 severity. During this time, I have spent countless hours reading, watching, researching and speaking with others across the country. Additionally, I have spent numbers of hours praying, thinking, contemplating and considering various options, with regard to Church Services. So, my decision to adjust our service format to online live stream has not been taken lightly or thought of in short manner.

With yesterday’s announcement by Governor JB Pritzker, regarding a shelter at home Executive Order to the state of Illinois, I have decided that we will move to online LiveStream services until April 7th, coinciding with the Governors order. You will be able to watch the live stream services at https://vbbc.live

At this time, we will be holding the following services:

Sunday school class at 10 am (all ages combined)

Sunday 11 am Worship Service

Sunday and Wednesday evenings at 5 pm and 7 pm respectively.

Due to the nature of live streaming combined with our size, I will be making some changes to the format, however, I trust that everyone will enjoy these adjustments.

My main concern as a Pastor, regarding these circumstances, is making sure that we as a church family stay connected. While we have to implement this new Social Distancing in order to help stop the spread of the disease, we need to double down and make sure we do not allow Spiritual Distancing to occur. Therefore, you will see a few new measures put into practice over the coming days that I trust you will support, in furthering our ability to stay close and connected during this time. I am eagerly awaiting the day when the spread of Covid-19 has been brought under control and we can resume the normal Church life we all have come to enjoy here at Victory.

In His Service,

Pastor Chris Shurilla