Scroll down to read the updates from our Pastor.  

The most recent will be at the top.

MAY 22, 2020

Dear Church,
 
A reporter from the Tribune called yesterday.  He’s doing a story on churches restarting services.  He heard we’re taking that step this weekend and wanted to talk with me about our decision process. 
 
I’m always a little nervous talking to reporters.  It’s been my experience that even simple answers can get misquoted.  But I took a risk and agreed to talk with the gentleman.  I took a further risk by saying this:  “My first comment is ‘off the record’, but I’ve spoken with a variety of church leaders about when to restart, and it’s my sense that none of us really knows what he/she is doing.  These are uncharted waters full of varying opinions and competing issues.”   Everyone is doing his/her best, but who really knows?
 
We gathered input from a variety of sources.  Our leadership prayed and talked about restart dates for weeks.  We could have started last Sunday (like several other area churches).  We could wait a bit longer (like several other area churches).  We’re choosing to “restart” this weekend on Sunday, May 24. 
 
In discussions with our deacons, here’s what led me to support restarting this Sunday.    

  1. While risk of infection still exists for anyone who leaves home, coming to BisBap this Sunday is likely safer than going to the store.  At church, you won’t need to touch anything.  You won’t pick up a can of corn a previous customer put down.  You won’t give your credit card to anyone and have them hand it back.  From the parking lot and on into the church, “touchless” is our plan.  No keypads, coffee cups, or railings (excepted the disinfected ones leading up to the balcony.)  Seating will be “every-other-row” and you can influence the distance between you and those sitting on either side of you.
  2. Our mental and spiritual health is nurtured by being in community.  There’s a unique power present when 2 or 3 actually gather in Jesus’ name and look into each other’s eyes. 
  3. Being together provides opportunities for us to “be” the hands and feet of Jesus as we place ourselves in proximity to those Jesus is seeking to impact. 
  4. Our times of solitude are often shaped by times of corporate worship, teaching, and connection.
  5. We’re family.  Whether you just started at BBC or are a seasoned veteran, there is a mystical spiritual relationship we have with each other.  We’re better when we’re together.  Laughter, tears, prayers, encouragement, small talk and deep sharing happen when a family gathers.

 
I don’t share any of this in an attempt to change your mind about being here this weekend.  We have people in higher risk groups who don’t feel comfortable going out yet.  Our services will continue to be broadcast online every Sunday morning, and you’re very welcome to keep on worshipping that way.
 
But consider joining me in praising God that He’s made it possible for us to gather once again.  And pray that our church will be a “sanctuary” in the middle of a very troubled world. 
 
Reminder:  there will not be children’s classes or Sunday School for a while.  Parents with smaller children are welcome to pick up and take home a simple activity bag at the stand near the information counter before Sunday’s service.  If your children become a bit tough to manage, the video café will be open as a place to watch the service and your children.  The nursery will be open for anyone who wants to use it, but it will not be staffed by volunteers.  The nursing moms’ room (in the Java room) will also be available as a quiet place to care for your baby while you enjoy church online. 
 
If you’re able to be here this Sunday, I’m looking forward to being with you hopefully soon.   If you’re going to watch from home, I will continue to look forward to being with you that way.  And as always, please let me know if there’s anything we can do to serve you!
 
+  +  +  +  +
 
BBC veterans:  I was just notified that Winston Enyart, a long-time member of Bismarck Baptist passed away yesterday after a long illness.  He’s been living in a nursing home in New Rockford, ND.  His wife, Linda, and their family are planning a funeral service at Bismarck Baptist this Tuesday, May 26 at 11 a.m.  Friends and family are welcome to attend.  We’ll have the same health measures in place as planned for Sunday.  No lunch will be served.  A private committal will take place at Veteran’s Cemetery on Wednesday.   The funeral service can be watched online using the same access as our Sunday service at BB.church.  
 
+  +  +  +  +
 
This Monday is Memorial Day.  “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”  In your prayers and thoughts this weekend, be encouraged to express thankfulness for the sacrifice so many have given to provide for our freedoms, fight for the oppressed around the world, and model the greatest kind of love.
 
May God bless and guide our church and your family this week.    


- Bryan

MAY 16, 2020

Dear Church,


Reminder: Unless the state of health in our region takes a significant negative turn this week, BBC is preparing to re-open our doors to public worship services next Sunday, May 24. We’re working hard to design the safest environment we can. This means “low/no touch” strategies will be in place. Parents will be asked to stay with their children during the service. (No Sunday School or Children’s Church.) Alea is designing some children’s activities to engage them during the service, and the Video Café and Nursing Mom’s Venue will be available with the service “on-screen.” The building is clean and high touch areas will be washed during the morning. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in the lobby.


There’s more! We’re going to hold doors open for people as they arrive. Masks will be available for those who want them. We’ll be unable to serve coffee or snacks, but we’re sure going to smile and wave. We won’t be passing out bulletins or sending offering plates around the room. And we’re setting up the sanctuary seating for people to use every other row. It will be a bit unique, I’m sure. But if you feel comfortable coming back, we’re looking forward to being together. And if you don’t feel comfortable being in a larger group, our online services will absolutely continue. Private or Public—either way—we hope you’ll join us as we gather for worship next Sunday morning at 10:30. Even though this restart will likely be a slow move in the direction of normal, we’re praying it will be a good move for our city and our church. Email office@bb.church or call 223-4445 if you have questions.


+ + + + +


“On top of everything else…”


It’s been hard to shake that phrase over the last while. Obviously, the current crisis dominating our thoughts, conversations, plans, and prayers is providing more than enough weight these days. But for a variety of people, “on top of everything else,” some are facing other challenges.


I was playing pickleball with a new friend this week. (Side note: pickleball—some call it the fastest growing sport in the country. Other people call it tennis for old people). This pickleball friend is about 40 years old, has a kid starting college in the fall, and for the first time in his life, he heard these words this week: “Our company is downsizing, and we’re going to have to lay you off. Immediately.” He told me just as we started playing. He admitted he was hardly sleeping. He already has some financial challenges facing him, and now on top of everything else, THIS.


Nathan, our youth pastor, has a friend he’s known since college. This friend just traveled from his home in Minnesota to Colorado to isolate himself in the mountains for a personal retreat. He was out of cell-phone range for a day or so. When he finally got a connection, a series of desperate voice mails informed him that his 17-year-old son had just suffered a heart attack. The boy was on life-support in the Twin Cities. On top of everything else, for this man 1000 miles away from his family, suffering had just become very personal. Nathan has invited a number of us to be praying. Feel free to join those who are praying for young Caleb.


And of course, these struggles are just the tip of the iceberg. Our church is attempting to minister to some extremely overwhelmed people in our community. Our church leaders are busy wrestling over a number of perplexing challenges. Needs are all around us. And everyday, there are potential challenges waiting to rise up on top of everything else.


But don’t be discouraged. On top of EVERYTHING AROUND US, God is still present. He’s still available. Still powerful. He’s still touching lives, influencing hearts, extending His Kingdom. And He is still present with you. He’s still aware of you, still inviting you into His care, still intent on giving us hope, love, faith, and even Joy.


I’m praying for you these days. Join me in those prayers for God to be known more.


One more thought to add. Earlier today, one of our guys asked me this: “What’s your favorite Scripture passage?” It’s nearly impossible to choose just one. But I told Him the reference for two verses that are very common and unmistakably relevant these days. Proverbs 3:5,6. On top of everything else, God is still calling us to “Trust in Him with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our strength.” And God promises that when we do, “God will be with us, and He will direct our paths.”


God’s invitation and promises are on top of everything else.


God Bless You. Please let me know if I can serve you.


BRYAN

…for the staff and leaders of Bismarck Baptist

MAY 9, 2020

Dear Church,

 

It’s been a very interesting week around BisBap.  We’ve had some encouraging interactions with a few of our global ministry partners, interesting dialogue with sister churches across our state, and supportive conversations with ministries in the Bismarck/Mandan region.  But it’s so different to be removed from face to face interactions with our church family.  I’m grateful for the online platforms that have allowed a variety of ministry efforts to move forward, yet we’re all missing the benefit of being together.  I’m praying for you and trusting God to care for and encourage you.

 

There are several significant developments we’ll be discussing in the days ahead.  Here’s the most obvious:  we’re getting ready to resume limited public services.  Our online services are going to continue “permanently” for those who are unable to come to services at our facility.  We’ve been in steady dialogue and prayerfully discerning a strategy for a phased public restart.

 

Starting May 24, our Sunday morning service will be available both IN-HOUSE and OnLine.  For our In-House version, we’re attempting to be meaningful, but TOUCHLESS. 

  • We’ll smile from 72 inches away but no handshakes. 
  • We’ll be warm but won’t be able to offer you coffee (or snacks). 
  • We’ll be informative but won’t be passing out bulletins.
  • You’ll be welcome to sit in your normal area, but we’re going to block off every other row to maintain distancing.
  • We’ll pray for our offering, but we won’t be passing the plates.  (Online or mail offering are encouraged, and we’re installing an offering box in the lobby).
  • Touchless hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in the lobby.
  • New masks will be available for those who’d prefer to wear one.
  • Children are welcome, but we’re asking kids to stay with their parents.  The video-café and the nursing mom areas will both be available.
  • We won’t be offering 9:15 classes.

This all may sound weird, but we want people who attend to feel as safe as possible given the current reality.  And we want people to experience worship and hear the gospel with the least amount of distractions.  The music will be great and I’ll be trusting God to lead in the teaching time.

 

As time goes on and as our Governor and state health officials direct us, we’ll phase-in other ministries in an appropriate and timely manner.  But if you have any hesitation about being in a larger group, we’re working very hard to make sure the online version is accurate and effective.

 

Stay tuned for more information if the situation changes.  We’re all fortunate to live in North Dakota and we’re moving into some of the best times of the year.  Let’s be praying that God will protect and guide us as we continue to honor and follow Him.

 

Let us know if we can serve you in any way!

 

Bryan

MAY 2, 2020


Welcome to May! Welcome to warmer days! Welcome to the continuing adventure!


We continue to be living through very interesting days. People are missing being together but still nervous about having much contact. Nice weather sees all kinds of people going on walks or taking drives, but it doesn’t feel like a normal spring. This weekend, restaurants, barber shops, hair salons, and a variety of stores are opening, but a lot of people will be exchanging smiles from behind masks.


This weekend, our Sunday service will be online as “usual.” I hope that by next week sometime, I’ll be able to announce a date for welcoming our church family back to public services. I’ve had conversations with a variety of church leaders across our region. Most with whom I’ve spoken still feel the need to be cautious, but with a few churches and the Catholic Diocese resuming public services next week, we’ll be trying to prayerfully discern next steps. Please stay in touch with your church friends, stay connected on our Facebook and web pages, and watch for next week’s email for important announcements.


Our deacons have been discussing a number of things that will be different when we start meeting together for Sunday services:


  • We won’t be having Sunday School or 9:15 a.m. Sunday classes for a time.
  • We will be figuring out children's church in the days ahead.
  • We’ll be very deliberate about disinfecting all common-touch areas. New hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in the lobby, and everyone is encouraged to maintain social distancing. You’re welcome to wear face masks.
  • Offering plates will not be passed around and communion will be served in a way that minimizes the potential for virus contact.
  • Unfortunately, pre and post service coffee and snacks will be curtailed for the foreseeable future. You’re welcome to bring a coffee or beverage with you, but we won’t have refills available.


We will, however, worship, pray, teach, laugh, and enjoy life-giving community.


Note that this Sunday, May 3rd, in addition to a very interesting interview, teaching in our “I’m Bored” series, and some very dynamic worship music, we’ll be having communion during our Sunday service. If you plan on attending the online service, please acquire your own communion elements. (Juice, wine, water –AND – bread, crackers). We recommend having these standing by for you and your family in advance of the Sunday service so you’re ready when the time comes to observe the Lord’s Supper.


Special note: This year’s 2020 NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER EVENT will be held next Thursday, May 7th from 12 pm to 1 pm in the Memorial Hall of our state capitol.

Governor Doug Burgum will open this event with an official proclamation, and Brad Bales from KNDR 104.7 FM will be our MC.

There are four ways you can participate in this annual event.


  1. DRIVE IN: Drive your car to the ND Capitol Mall the day of the event and pray with the 10 participants who will be praying and worshiping in the Memorial Hall. You can stay in your car and listen LIVE on KNDR 104.7 FM.
  2. PRAYER WALK: Come to the ND Capitol Mall and do an individual or family prayer walk on the capitol grounds being careful to observe social distancing requirements due to the corona virus.
  3. LIVE STREAM: If you are unable to come to the capitol mall, you can watch a LIVE STREAM of the event at the NDOP Bismarck Facebook page.
  4. RADIO BROADCAST: You can tune in to KNDR 104.7 FM and listen to a LIVE broadcast while you’re at home or at work.


As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help or prayer.

(Email: office@bb.church or call the church at 223-4445) We remain here to serve.


I miss you. I love you. I can’t wait to see you.


Blessings,


Bryan

APRIL 25, 2020

Good Evening Church,
 
Tomorrow morning will be our 7th “Online Church Service.”  We’re starting a new teaching series and musical worship will be a great “unplugged” treat.  We hope you join us online at 10:30 a.m. at BB.church.
 
Of course, church in Scripture is much more than a Sunday service and it’s much more than what happens in a building.  But when you read Acts 2, church was always about community, and generally speaking, community is most effectively experienced when we’re face to face.  I’m thankful we’ve had online services to keep us connected.  Praise God the day is coming when we’ll be able to gather together.
 
We’re anticipating that in a few weeks (maybe in May…maybe in June) we’ll be able to have services that are open to all.  Resuming services will be a gradual process. 

  • Some may prefer to remain at home and experience the service online a bit longer if they feel compromised. 
  • Certain children’s activities will be adjusted. 
  • We’ll be doing offering and communion in some different ways. 
  • Instead of “greeting one another” during the service with a handshake, we’re thinking about passing around a container of hand-sanitizer.

It will, however, be wonderful to pray, sing, laugh, learn, give, smile, and share together
 
A word about giving:  our staff and leaders are so grateful for the faithful manner in which many in our church family have been worshiping God with their tithes and offerings over the last two months.  Some people are enduring financial hardship, but many have remained prayerful, deliberate, faithful and generous in their giving.  Online giving has increased significantly and others have been mailing in their offerings.  Expenses have been carefully managed and income/expenses are pretty balanced.  I’m grateful we haven’t had to lay-off staff or reduce our support to global and domestic ministry partners.  Thanks for continuing to be prayerful about how God’s Spirit is prompting you to give.
 
Thanks also for serving.  It’s not the only thing we’re doing, but I’ve loved watching the various people who’ve come to church during the week to sew and assemble protective face masks.  We’ve been careful to observe social distancing and under Linda Semmen’s direction, our crews have made over 1300 masks that are being used by people in our church family as well as in several nursing homes, blood banks, and by local law enforcement. 
 
We’re also grateful for the many contributions of hygiene supplies people have dropped off at the church.  These are being steered toward several missional agencies that are caring for people.   

Praise God!

++++++++++++++++
 
If you enjoy podcasts, I want to recommend one that has been helpful to me this week.  It’s a bit salty in a couple spots, but I still recommend it.  Brené Brown’s weekly podcast is called “Unlocking Us.”  Its focus is on emotional health and connection.  The link below is to her 30-minute podcast on Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball.  In it, she also made some interesting observations about adrenaline:  how the adrenaline surge created by crisis can help get us thru blizzards, floods, tragedies, and pandemics.  Adrenaline helps us find energy to take on problems and help others.  But the impact of “crisis adrenaline” rarely lasts long enough.  She has some very helpful suggestions.  If that interests you, check it out here.
  
++++++++++++++
 
Here’s a great, fun contribution from Krisha:
 
Have you found yourself wondering what to watch on TV during this time of self-quarantine? We’ve probably all binged on some seasons of our favorite Netflix shows and re-watched every good, old movie that was ever filmed!
 
Well, our BBC team thought it would be fun to let you know what has inspired and entertained us.  We’d also like to find out what you’ve been tuning into. Let us know if you have any suggestions.
 
All information below are shows and movies we’ve enjoyed, but you might want to review them for yourself before watching as a family.
 
Here are some great ideas recommended by BBC staff members:
 
The Chosen- The Chosen is the first-ever-multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus. Created outside of the Hollywood system, The Chosen allows us to see Him through the eyes of those who knew him. No matter where you are at in your journey with Jesus Christ, this TV show is for you. (YouTube or VidAngel.com)
 
Lego Masters- Teams of two LEGO enthusiasts compete against each other in ambitious brick-building challenges to be crowned the grand title of LEGO Master. (Fox)
 
Forged in Fire- Forged in Fire tests some of the best in the field as they attempt to re-create some of history’s most iconic edged weapons. (History Channel)
 
I Still Believe- The true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp and his journey of love and loss that looks to prove there is always hope. (Amazon Prime)
 
Buddy Vs. Duff- The competition series will see "Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss) and Duff Goldman (Ace of Cakes) face-off in an epic baking battle for the chance to be crowned the undisputed king of cake." (Food Network)
 
Remember…please give us some of your ideas as well! Thanks for staying safe and staying at home. Know you are loved and thought about!!!!!
 
++++++++++++++++++
 
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help or prayer.  

Email:  office@bb.church or call the church at 223-4445.  We remain here to serve.
 
Blessings,

Bryan

APRIL 18, 2020

Good Evening Church,


Like a lot of us, we’re living through a lot of “firsts.”  For example, this week, I gave myself a haircut.  (I trust my wife for everything except assisting me with this chore.  My boys still talk about a few unfortunate childhood coiffures supplied by their mom).


Here’s another.  Holly and I ordered groceries online.  Someone at Walmart gathered our order and brought it out to our car at an agreed upon time.  Having someone else choose our fruit was a little unusual, but it worked out better than the haircut.


This is a little personal, but I used to spin the toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune.  Now for the first time, I’m turning the roll like I’m cracking a safe.


A bunch of us are becoming proficient at online meetings.  This week, I “zoomed” with our deacons, my small group, our boys, several friends and 25 of Holly’s siblings, their kids, and her parents.  Singing a song for her folks seemed like a good idea.  The half-second delay turned the song into a comic disaster.

Of course experiencing church online is a first for a lot of us.  Having communion last Sunday was very novel, but it worked.  This Sunday (tomorrow morning), I hope you’re able to join with your church family and new friends who are starting to join us every week.  I’m very excited about several “moments” God has been orchestrating as we prepared the service.  In addition to wonderful worship, we’re going to be wrapping up the series we’ve been in for the last month with a look at an essential passage of Scripture for those who want to understand how to cope with all the firsts, anxiousness, fear, and frustration of our world’s current struggles.


Thanks again to all who’ve been passing on words of encouragement, serving each other, and contributing to a variety of ministries in our church.  A number of people are still producing protective face masks.  Nearly 900 have been made.  Linda tells me her crew has been making some larger masks for those who want a bit more room or coverage.  Stop by or call the church if you want one.

One thing that hasn’t changed is our need for a Savior, a Comforter, and a Heavenly Father.  You are much-loved sons and daughters of the Most-High God.  These days, He is not overwhelmed or confused by anything.  Keep trusting, growing, and serving Him.


And if you need someone with “skin” to represent God in your life, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  We remain here to serve.


Blessings,

Bryan

APRIL 10, 2020

Dear Church Family,

 

There are a variety of reasons for us to be concerned and prayerful during our pandemic crisis.  But there are also a variety of reasons to be grateful. 

 

I’m incredibly grateful for the positive and gracious spirit of many of our people.  This is evident in many of the positive responses I’ve been hearing from those who’ve been participating in our online Sunday services.  It’s not what we normally get to experience because we’re missing the opportunity to be together.  But I love that we still get to gather online for worship.  Our worship team has been working very hard and doing a great job.  (Thanks for being a great leader, Krisha)!   And I’m very grateful for the technical skills and efforts invested by Joel, Alea, Jordan, Dakota, Kursten, and Kaden.  Way to go, team! 

 

Our leaders are grateful for the consistent way so many in our church family are giving online or by mailing in their offerings.  It’s gratifying to be able to continue to minister, to support area and global mission’s partners, and to respond to needs as they arise.  Thank you for your support!

 

I love the hearts evident behind a variety of people who’ve been extending “Joyful Hands” to many of our seniors and home-bound people.  It’s wonderful to see parents and children involved in “Awana-Online”.  Kari and Alea put together a great scavenger hunt for our church family to enjoy in their cars (It’s been good, except for the people who drove across my lawn).

 

It’s been impressive to see the way a variety of people have been helping to manufacture protective masks.  Linda set up a little factory in our fellowship hall this week complete with social distancing, proper protective gear, and cupcakes.  Our amazing volunteers have produced 430 fabric protective face masks that are available to anyone in our church family who wants one.  We are also supplying masks for the staff of a local nursing home.  Praise God for all the work invested by Linda and a variety of volunteers.  And if you’d like a mask for yourself or some friends, call the church office and we’ll get them to you.

 

Above all, God is faithful and is supplying so much of what we need for our hearts, souls and bodies.

 

This is a very unusual Easter week, but I hope you join the BisBap family this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. for our Easter service.  (A unique video will start worship at about 10:25 at www.BB.church).  Invite your friends to worship with you and remember to prepare for communion both spiritually and practically.  Have some juice or any beverage you have available plus some bread or crackers.  Put them close to where you’ll watch the service.  Near the end of the hour, we’ll gather around the Lord’s Table to express our eternal gratitude to our Lord.   

 

I love our church.  I value the ministry God has given us.  And I love that we can say “He is risen!”


-BRYAN

APRIL 3, 2020

Dear Church Family,

 

Here’s some good news and some important information to pass around.

 

First, I just spoke with Jim Frey.  He tested positive for the coronavirus 2 weeks ago and has been convalescing at home.  Yesterday, Jim’s doctor informed him that he is now classified as “recovered.”  That’s great news and an answer to prayer!  Keep Barb and their daughter Sarah in your prayers as they are still quarantined due to their contact with Jim.  So far, they are healthy.

 

Second, in response to the growing call for protective face-masks to be worn when out in public, Linda Semmen has put together a pattern and is sewing and assembling masks.  The initial priority is to provide masks to older friends in our church as well as people who are at greater infection risk due to health issues or work requirements.  If you have a sewing machine and desire to help create more masks, we can make the pattern and instructions available to you.  This is a great way to serve others during this complicated time!  Contact the church office if you’d like to help.  We’ll email or mail the pattern to you or you can pick it up at the church office.  And if you have any mask questions for Linda or want to help her specifically in this serving opportunity, feel free to call or email her at lrsemmen@yahoo.com.

 

Next Sunday, April 12, is Easter Sunday.  We’re preparing what we pray will be a meaningful online Easter worship experience.  We hope you tune in at 10:30 a.m. next Sunday.  It will likely not feel like a typical Easter, but celebration, worship and prayer will be vital.  Don’t forget to invite friends to join you.

 

During next Sunday’s service, we’ll be observing the Lord’s Supper.  Obviously, you’ll need acquire your own communion elements.  At church, we use grape juice and unleavened bread.  Please don’t worry about having these precise elements.  Communion is a symbolic experience.   So for the “cup”, you can use grape or some other fruit juice, wine, or another liquid.  For the “bread,” tear some pieces off a loaf or use crackers, etc.  The point is to be prepared for communion spiritually and practically.  Whatever you decide to use for communion elements, we recommend having these standing by for you and your family in advance of next Sunday’s service so you’re ready when the time comes during the service. 

 

I’m looking forward to being with you online this Sunday.  We have a very important service planned.  Thanks to Neal Brown for hosting a pre-service Facebook chat time.  Go to the Bismarck Baptist Facebook site around 10 to be involved with that.

 

So much to pray about.  So much weight on our shoulders.  But God did not give us a Spirit of timidity, so take heart.   God still reigns.


- Bryan

MARCH 27, 2020

Dear Church Family,

 

The pace at which things are changing around us is fascinating.  Several times in the last couple days I’ve heard people describe a coronavirus coping strategy as out of date because “that was last week.”  “Monday’s plans are out of date.”  “Things have changed since yesterday.” 

 

In that spirit, allow me to describe a few things as they are right now.

 

First, our weekly worship service will continue “online” for the foreseeable future.  We’re “live” every Sunday at 10:30 a.m.  It’s been so refreshing to see the commitment among the people who are making this connection with our church possible.  They’re trusting God to impact lives.  Pray for them as they serve.  Let us know if you need any help connecting to the service at www.BB.church.

 

Second, we have a growing team of people who are very willing to help with practical needs you may have or know about.  They’ve responded to several requests and also delivered quite a few care packages designed to let people know we’re thinking about them.  If you need help with anything, please don’t hesitate to call me, the church office, or send an email to office@BB.church.

 

Third, one of the elements we’re adding to our Sunday services are brief interviews with people who bring unique perspectives to these interesting days.  This Sunday, I’m interviewing Dr. Tim Hogan.  He’s a clinical psychologist who’ll be giving some suggestions for dealing with the anxiety many are experiencing.  Next Sunday, I’ll be interviewing Kent Carlson.  Kent speaks to churches all over the country about discovering more effective ways to be on mission as well as experience genuine spiritual transformation.  Both of these guys have authored books, are well-respected and dynamic communicators.  They’re also friends of mine who I’m looking forward to sharing with you. 

 

One more thing.  Last Sunday, I invited a guy I met at the YMCA to watch our online service.  He did, and he also invited a friend and a relative in another city to join him.  They did, and they found the experience to be meaningful!   It’s pretty clear these folks are looking for a spiritual connection.  They just didn’t know which church to try.  But they jumped at the first invitation and indicated they’d “be back” next Sunday.  My point:  consider inviting unchurched people you know to visit BBC online.  You never know what might happen.

 

Keep trusting.  Don’t fear.  Look for opportunities to grow, serve, and represent Jesus.

 

I’m praying for you.


- Bryan

MARCH 20, 2020

Dear Church Family,

 

I miss you!  And I miss “normal!”

 

We’re obviously in the middle of an unprecedented situation during this health crisis.  It feels like we’re taking peculiar turns almost daily and it’s taking a toll on most of us.  I’ve been struck by how quickly the situation comes to my mind when I wake up in the morning.  It’s reminding me to replace the thought with the Lord’s Prayer and/or Psalm 23.  Try it!

 

A couple reminders:  Since we’re unable to meet together in public worship services until our health experts give us the green light, our services will be online until further notice.  You can access our Sunday service online at 10:30 a.m.   (If you’re not available at service time, you can also watch later.  But “live” seems better since we’re all gather together at the same time!)  In addition to musical worship and teaching relevant to what we’re going through, I’m also arranging some interviews that will encourage you.  This Sunday, our friends Paul and Tanya Gericke from Camp Falcon Rock in Romania will be checking in with us.  It’s tough listening to them without loving them and what they’re doing!   We’re praying God will use the online experience to impact our lives and our hope.

 

A couple tips for the online service:

  • Get your entire household together to watch on the same device.  Sing (or at least hum) with the music and meditate on the powerful lyrics that will guide us on Sunday.
  • Don’t just watch.  Pray. Participate.  Take notes.  Avoid doing other things.
  • And in advance, pray for the preparation and the technology.  I heard this prayer request from a pastor this week:  Pray for pastors as they attempt to make this Sunday’s livestream not look like a bin Laden capture video.

Alea is recording videos for all our Awana children.  Nathan is doing the same for middle and high school students.  If you haven’t heard from them, be sure to contact them with the best email to contact your family.  (Alea@bb.church; nathan@bb.church). 

 

Keep checking the website for further updates.  During this time, our staff is focused on providing helpful CONTENT (messages and disciple-making resources), encouraging CONNECTION online and on the phone, and CARE for those who are struggling.    If you need help with something practical, emotional, or spiritual, please let us know.  We have people who are investing effort to help us minister to a variety of needs.  If you want to speak with me, my number is in the church directory or you can email me at Bryan@bb.church

 

The Lord is our Shepherd!


-Bryan

MARCH 20, 2020 (An additional note)

Church Family,

 

Late today (Friday, March 20th), I was informed that an individual in our church has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.  They became ill on Wednesday with symptoms that included fever, headache, and congestion.  On Thursday they sought medical treatment and were tested for the virus.   Hospitalization was not required and they are recovering at home.   I spoke by phone with this person a couple hours ago.  They are self-quarantined and thankfully are feeling better.   We prayed together and I assured them that our church family will continue to be in prayer for comfort and a full recovery. 

 

Those who attended our Sunday service on March 15th should know this person was also in attendance.   This is not cause for alarm.   From our understanding, according to CDC definitions, the contact people might have experienced at church on Sunday was either “low” or a “not identifiable risk.“   However, please continue to monitor yourself and your family for signs and symptoms. If you have any questions or concerns, please reference the CDC website or contact your primary care physician.  If you become ill, please let me know and I can help with necessary communication.   Those who had conversations and potential contact with our friend have been notified.

 

Beyond keeping you informed, this also is a call to continued prayer. These are challenging days, but we’re reminded that God is GOOD.   One of my favorite songs these days includes this prayer:  It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.

 

Blessings,

 

Bryan

MARCH 18, 2020

Dear Church Family,


We’re obviously in the middle of an unprecedented situation during this health crisis.  It feels like things have been getting worse almost daily and it’s taking a toll on most of us.  For me, the whole mess is encouraging me to engage with our Heavenly Father more. 

We’re unable to meet together in public worship services until our health care experts give us the green light to do so.  What we can do is participate online.  So until further notice, we will not be having a public worship service on Sunday morning.  But you can access our Sunday service online at 10:30 a.m.  (If you’re not available at service time, you can also watch later.)

We’ve also suspended all other gatherings in our facility for groups above 10 people. 

Please know:

  • We’re not being fearful.  We’re being responsible.
  • We’re loving our neighbors by protecting our neighbors. 
  • We’re praying God will use the online experiences to impact our lives and our hope.

Keep checking here for further updates.  We will do our best to keep you informed and connected.  And if we can help you in any way, call me or any of our staff team.  Or leave a message at 701-223-4445.  Or email us at:  office@BB.church


-Bryan

MARCH 14, 2020

Dear Church Family,

 

At Bismarck Baptist Church, we’re Committed to Transformation, Called to Mission, Catalyzed by Love. And in this season of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19/ Coronavirus, BBC is navigating how best to carry-out our mission while prayerfully seeking an appropriate response to this health concern.  Our decisions on reducing the spread of the virus at BBC are informed by our state and regional health professionals. We’ve developed a response plan we’ll be implementing as the situation warrants. 

 

We also want to remind you that staying actively engaged with your church family will be a very important part of staying spiritually and emotionally healthy.  It will also help all of us remain available to represent Jesus to those God is calling us to serve.

 

This Sunday’s service will take place as normal at 10:30 a.m.  You’re welcome to join us for a much needed time of worship, prayer, and teaching.  I will be sharing a very important message about Biblical ways of living in our chaotic world.

 

This Sunday will also be the first time our Sunday service will be available LIVE online for those who are not feeling well or prefer to avoid being in a larger group setting.  If you’d like to attend church online, go to www.BB.church and click the link on the home page.  Be aware, “Digital Gatherings” or “Church Online” may become a primary way to participate in church for a while if the health crisis escalates.  And if you’re among those in higher risk categories because of age and other health challenges, we care deeply for you and encourage you to seriously consider participating in church online until the crisis is over.  If you need help connecting online, please let us know and we’ll do our best to help you.

 

Our leaders have decided to cancel all 9:15 a.m. Sunday children’s and adult classes, as well as our midweek Awana program until April 15.  Small groups, youth gatherings, and the Sacred Marriage class will meet at the various group’s discretion. 

 

Here are some of the ways we're working to help
minimize the risk of exposure at BBC.

People who attend BBC will be asked to avoid unnecessary contact.  Smiles and waves are recommended over handshakes and hugs.

We will encourage social distancing in the Worship Center. 

Our Facilities Team will be disinfecting high-touch surfaces regularly.

Hand sanitizer will be available around the church.

We are encouraging additional hand washing.

 

In addition, offering plates will not be passed during the service but will be available at the door at the end of the service.  As an alternative, this might be a great time to consider giving online.  A few days ago, a couple told me they’d just arranged to give online using the PushPay App.  They want to follow the Bible’s teaching that our giving should be the result of a prayerful, predetermined decision.  They also want to make sure to honor God and support their church even when they’re out of town.  I was so encouraged to hear about their plan.  The expenses of ministry will remain during this challenging time.  We have several international partners who rely on our support.  And we’re being attentive to how we can corporately care for others right now in the community around our church.  Worshipping God with our giving remains essential.  If you want to give online, you can download the PushPay app on your phone, or follow the directions to “give” at www.BB.church.  Thanks for your faithfulness!

 

Finally, we want to encourage you to look at your life and the world in which we live with spiritual eyes - and above all, take God at his word. Jesus has vital counsel about worry in Luke 12.  He promises PEACE in John 14. And here's another scriptural truth you might want to let wash over you:  Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG)

 

THANK YOU for praying for our church family and our community. We'll be sending more frequent emails, especially if there is a need to update Sunday plans.   We'll also update our Web page as circumstances change.

 

We know God is in control. If we can PRAY for you, help you, or ANSWER any questions, please call the church office, any of our pastors or deacons, or email us at office@bb.church.

I’m praying for you.


-Bryan