CSBC offices close; staff continues ministry

Published Mar 19, 2020

FRESNO—California Southern Baptist Convention offices are closed at least through March 31 as mandated through an order of “shelter-in-place” by the City of Fresno for all non-essential businesses.

With the CSBC office shut down temporarily, all CSBC staff are “working from home and continuing to serve CSBC churches,” said Bill Agee, CSBC executive director.

He noted he coronavirus (COVID-19) “continues to order our movements dramatically and impacts how we gather. It continues to also affect how we do church and business. Even though our offices are closed, the ministry to which He has called us goes on.”

Agee noted, “Those needing to contact CSBC staff should do so through regular office channels – phone and email. Contact information for all CSBC personnel is available on the CSBC website. Many staff members have forwarded calls to their cell phones. Staff members are checking voicemail and email periodically throughout the day.”

A list of resources to help churches navigate this new way of doing church is posted on the CSBC website. “I encourage California Southern Baptists to check there regularly for updated resources” he said.

Earlier this week, CSBC instituted several safeguards through April 30 for the safety of its staff and those whom they serve. Here are updated safeguards reflecting the City’s mandate:

  • CSBC staff members will work from home through at least March 31. Sheltering in place and working remotely greatly reduces exposure to and spread of the coronavirus.
  • CSBC staff travel is suspended through April 30. Most ministry provided by CSBC staff is through conversation and can continue either by phone or email. In many instances phone calls to staff members will be forwarded to cell phones. Otherwise, staff will check voicemail and email periodically throughout the day. Be assured CSBC staff will respond as quickly as possible. Find staff members easily at www.csbc.com/team.
  • All CSBC and Jenness Park Christian Camp events are cancelled/postponed through April 30. With gatherings now being limited to 10, there is no other choice but to cancel/postpone most events, at least through April 30. Decisions about events after April 30 will be decided based on the activity of the virus as the date draws closer.

Agee insists, “These measures are essential for the welfare of our staff and those we serve. Some may ask if CSBC is shutting down. The answer is emphatically, no!

“CSBC is committed to serving its churches, even in difficult and challenging times. We realize our churches are faced with similar circumstances and decisions. CSBC team members are still available.”

Agee encourages California Southern Baptists to continue praying and seeking the Lord. In last week’s statement he mentioned God was not surprised by this event. He said, “I still believe God is in control.

“I want our churches to know that CSBC staff members are praying for our churches and the communities they serve. I believe we will emerge from this stronger than when we started, and with an updated perspective about the urgency of sharing our faith with those around us.” California Southern Baptist Convention will be closed at least through March 31 as mandated by an order of “shelter-in-place” by the City of Fresno for all non-essential business.

I encourage everyone to continue praying and seeking the Lord. Agee said, “I want our churches to know that CSBC staff members are praying for them and the communities they serve. I believe we will emerge from this stronger than when we started, and with an updated perspective about the urgency of sharing our faith with those around us.”

In last week’s statement Agee mentioned God was not surprised by this event and still believes “God is in control. I know all of you are facing similar situations, but with God’s help, we’ll make it through. I encourage you to live in the hope we have in Christ expressed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 15:13.”

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13 (NIV)”