A Letter From Pastor Dave Regarding Covid Precautions At Prairie Flower

Dear Prairie Flower Baptist Church,

As we continue to navigate the difficult waters of another covid season, and considering our Governor’s most recent proclamation, we have decided to enact the following procedures for the next two Sundays (11/22 and 11/29). Please know that, as a Leadership Team, we are implementing these procedures out of a desire to submit to our governing authorities, and to keep people reasonably safe, all the while trusting our sovereign God in all things.

So, with those thoughts in mind, here is our plan: 1) Face Masks – We strongly encourage the use of face masks for all individuals who attend Sunday School and our Morning Worship Service. These masks should be worn by all individuals who are 5 years of age and older. It is recommended that these masks be worn as you enter our building and as you traffic throughout our building, but these masks do not have to be worn once you are seated and participating in our worship services. And 2) Social Distancing – We will ensure that all congregants are reasonably socially distanced during our worship services. To ensure this, we will take out every other row of chairs in our downstairs fellowship hall and ask that only family units sit together during the service. Obviously, we will have fewer seats available for the next two Sundays. So, if you are uncomfortable participating in our live worship services, you are encouraged to stay at home and watch our service over Facebook Live. 

Lord willing, all of these measures are temporary, and we should be able to get back to a sense of normalcy starting in December. Indeed, if all goes as planned, we envision having our first service in our newly renovated sanctuary on Sunday, December 6. How wonderful it will be to meet in our new worship space and to begin our celebration of Christmas out here on the prairie!

We look forward to seeing many of you over these next two weeks. Again, the above measures are designed out of our desire to submit to our governing authorities, and to keep people reasonably safe, all the while trusting our sovereign God. For some of you, this is not easy and perhaps frustrating. We get that. But we thank you for your understanding and patience as we continue to weave our way through this incredibly wonky year. 

David Cotner on behalf of the PFBC Leadership Team

Readjusted Timeline For Our Annual Election Of Officers

With a new season of covid upon us, we have had to readjust our ministries and schedules once again. Thank you all for your understanding and patience as we walk through this frustrating time together. We will get through this!

One of the biggest adjustments to our schedule has been the timing of the Annual Election of Officers. As a reminder, all church members, who are 14 years of age or older, are kindly invited to prayerfully nominate and then vote for individuals in the following categories: Deacon (3 Open Positions), Clerk (Mike York Desires To Be Replaced), Financial Secretary (Steve Donnolly Most Recently Served In This Position), Treasurer (Duane Davis Desires To Be Replaced), and Sunday School Superintendent (Brian Wilson Most Recently Served In This Position). Below is the new timeline of events for this important process out here on the prairie…

Sunday, November 22 – Nomination Process For Our Annual Election Of Officers Closes…Our Nomination and Election Committee (1 Pastor & 2 Deacons) will meet on this Sunday to contemplate the official ballot…

Monday, November 23 – Wednesday, December 2 – The Nomination and Election Committee will contact eligible nominees to see if they’re interested in serving…These individuals must reply by the close of business (5 PM) on Wednesday, December 2…

Sunday, December 6 – We will announce and post the official ballot of our 2021 Officer Nominees…Posting of nominees will be done via email, the blog, etc…

Sunday, December 20 – Annual Election Of Officers…Election will be held by secret ballot…

All elected officers will take office on January 1, 2021. Please be in prayer concerning who you would have serve and if God is leading you to serve at Prairie Flower Baptist Church!

My Seventh Year As Pastor

This next week, on Tuesday, November 10, I will celebrate my seventh year as the Lead Pastor of Prairie Flower Baptist Church. In a lot of ways, the years have flown by. In fact, I took this ministry while wrapping up my studies at Faith Baptist Bible College, when I was just 26 years old, with a wife and one child. I’m now facing age 34 in a couple of months with a wife and three kids (plus a puppy dog) in tow…Man alive, the years have truly flown by.

As I reflect on seven years of pastoral ministry, many of my feelings remain the same. That is to say, I still find pastoral ministry to be one of the most adrenaline-inducing privileges of my life. As I often say, pastoral ministry may be many things, but it’s certainly not boring! I also still feel overwhelming gratitude to my wife, Heather, who has stuck by my side through thick and thin. At times, it’s not easy being a pastor’s wife, but Heather exudes a quiet strength that has gotten me through some of the darkest nights of soul. I also still find myself feeling extremely thankful for the incredible folks out here on the prairie. I know that might seem trite, or just a nice thing to say, but I mean it…My heart continues to be knit with the folks of Prairie Flower and I find it a privilege to be one of their pastors who prays for them, preaches to them, and serves alongside them.

But as you can imagine, the year 2020 has brought into my pastoral ministry a whole new slew of lessons that have been “fun” to learn…Here are three of the top lessons I’ve learned during my seventh year of pastoral ministry…

1. Plans often change. But goals (for the most part) do not change. If 2020 has taught me anything it’s simply this – hold your plans with an open palm. Indeed, planning with hard and fast deadlines isn’t wrong, but just remember that God is sovereign and will often adjust our plans for our good and His glory. We must be willing to be humble and flexible with our planners and calendars. Yes, plans in the ministry often change, but the goals of ministry do not change…Even in a global pandemic, people need to be prayed for, fed the Word, and led with love. Finding creative ways to continue to do these things has been a growing, stretching experience.

2. Preaching is important. But meeting (as a church in-person) is essential. In no way, shape, or form am I devaluing the importance of preaching. God has chosen this one method of communication to be hugely transformative in the lives of His people. But when the lockdowns happened, every preacher and their brother took to the internet. Indeed, we preachers became tele-evangelists overnight! My point is this, you can literally stream a sermon online from anywhere in the world and be fed God’s Word. But meeting together (as a church in person) is so much more than hearing a sermon…Meeting together is about spiritual connection, true fellowship, and the ability to serve one another. These things can’t be replaced with online church and an online sermon.

3. People need leadership. But leadership (by and large) is hard. I don’t know if this is necessarily a new lesson, but this lesson has definitely been amplified during the mess of 2020. I remember at the height of the Coronavirus hysteria, my Associate Pastor and I were daily watching the Governor’s press conferences. Oh. My. Goodness. The comments people were writing on social media as the Governor was making her remarks were rude and repulsive. People can be so mean! Seeing those nasty comments gave me some PTSD to some of the worst moments of my pastoral ministry, where I tried to lead, but people didn’t want to follow, and made it verbally known! Yes, people need leadership, but leadership is often very hard. I wish citizens of a state, and saints in the church, would understand this one concept, namely, there are many good paths to walk down, but you can only go down one path at a time…That’s why leadership matters.

Well Prairie Flower, as I said seven years ago (but mean more today), “I love you, and I will lead you.” And in the end, it will be all from His grace and for His glory…

PFBC: November’s Upcoming Events…

As we approach November, here are the events we have planned…

Sunday, November 1 – Daylight Saving’s Time Ends…Combined Sunday School With Missionary Speaker Trevor Galbraith At 9:00 AM, Morning Worship With Missionary Speaker Glen Galbraith/Communion Service At 10:15 AM, & Growth Groups At Various Times

Tuesday, November 3 – Election Day!

Wednesday, November 4 – Kids4Truth, Outfitters, & Prayer Meeting At 6:30 PM

Saturday, November 7 – IRBC Corporation Meeting At Ankeny Baptist Church At 10:00 AM

Sunday, November 8 – Annual Election Of Officers’ Nomination Process Ends…Sunday School At 9:00 AM, Morning Worship At 10:15 AM, & Growth Groups At Various Times

Monday, November 9 – Women’s Prayer Group At 10:00 AM

Tuesday, November 10 – Men’s Prayer Group At 6:30 AM

Wednesday, November 11 – Kids4Truth, Outfitters, & Prayer Meeting At 6:30 PM

Saturday, November 14 – Strategic Planning Meeting (Pastors & Deacons) At Church From 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM & Women At Risk Event At Kalona Coffee From 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Sunday, November 15 – Sunday School At 9:00 AM, Morning Worship At 10:15 AM, & Growth Groups (Final) At Various Times

Wednesday, November 18 – Kids4Truth (Final), Outfitters, & Prayer Meeting At 6:30 PM

Thursday, November 19 – Ladies Night Out At The Tin Roost At 6:30 PM

Sunday, November 22 – Sunday School At 9:00 AM & Morning Worship (Pastor Tim Preaching) At 10:15 AM

Wednesday, November 25 – No Wednesday Evening Activities For Rest Of 2020

Thursday, November 26 – Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 29 – No Sunday School – Morning Worship (Pastor Tim Preaching) At 10:15 AM

How I Will Vote On Nov. 3

It is 12 days till Election Day. In a lot of ways, this year’s election feels as if so many weighty things are at stake. Some would argue that the very “soul of America” is at stake. Overly dramatic? Perhaps, but this year’s election seems to be a very important one with a lot of long-term ramifications…

But how is a Christian to vote this year? Given that our two main party choices are not ideal at all, how should a Christian proceed in the voting booth on Nov. 3? Well, so much ink has already been spilt on this topic, but here are some of the issues that dominate my mind as I get ready to vote this Election Day…

The Issue of Faith – I will vote with rock-solid confidence in God. Romans 14:23 is clear, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” So, I will vote with full trust in God, knowing that no matter what happens, He remains sovereign. May God give to me (and you) great wisdom and rock-solid confidence in Him as we vote on Nov. 3.

The Issue of Life – I will vote my conscience this Election Day, and there is perhaps no greater issue that dominates my conscience like the issue of life. The Scriptures are clear that life is precious and must be protected. God Himself is the Creator and Sustainer of life. Psalm 139:15 declares, “My frame [body and soul] was not hidden from you [O, God], when I was being made [by you, O God] in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” God is the maker of every human life! Thus, I cannot in good conscience vote for a candidate/party who tramples on the issue of life.

The Issue of Record – Actions speak louder than words. It’s funny to me how some Christians are so dialed into rhetoric. It’s as if they primarily want their leaders to be strong orators with smooth speech. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a preacher by trade. I make my living by writing and speaking many words. I love eloquent communication. But at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words (Matthew 21:28-32). Therefore, I will primarily evaluate the actions/records of each political candidate, taking their words only as a secondary consideration.

The Issue of Heaven – Ultimately, I will vote fully realizing that my ultimate citizenship is in Heaven, not America. Paul in Philippians 3:20 states, “But our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” America is not my ultimate home, Heaven is. America is not my ultimate treasure, Jesus is. So, to the best of my ability, with my full faith in God, evaluating carefully the issues of life and record, I will steward my vote on Nov. 3 to the glory of God with a keen eye towards Heaven…

Annual Election of Officers

Just a reminder that our Annual Election of Officers is fast approaching! All church members, who are 14 years of age or older, are kindly invited to prayerfully nominate and then vote for individuals in the following categories: Deacon (3 Open Positions), Clerk (Mike York Desires To Be Replaced After 42 Years Of Service), Financial Secretary, Treasurer, and Sunday School Superintendent. Here are some dates to be aware of…

Sunday, October 25 – Nomination of Officers Commences…Prior to this Sunday, all voting members will receive nomination ballots in the mail…Our nomination ballot box will be located in the church foyer… 

Sunday, November 8 – Nomination of Officers Closes…Our Nomination and Election Committee (2 Pastors & 1 Deacon) will meet on this Sunday to contemplate the official ballot…

Monday, November 9 – Wednesday, November 18 – The Nomination and Election Committee will contact nominees to see if they’re interested in serving…These individuals must reply by the close of business (5 PM) on Wednesday, November 18…

Sunday, November 22 – We will post the official ballot of our 2021 Officer Nominees…Posting of nominees will be done on the church bulletin board and via our church app…

Sunday, December 6 – Annual Election of Officers…Election will be held by secret ballot…

All elected officers will take office on January 1, 2021. Please be in prayer concerning who you would have serve and if God is leading you to serve at Prairie Flower Baptist Church! 

91 Days Follow…

Day 275. 91 days follow. In other words, as we begin day 1 of October, we have officially entered our 275th day of 2020. Which means we only have 91 days to go before the year expires.

How does that make you feel? I would imagine that for many of you that makes you feel relieved. I mean, this has been one crazy year; and 2021 has got to be at least a smidge better than this year, right? For others of you, I’m sure the thought of this year ending and a new one beginning produces feelings of dread. I mean, there’s still so much work to be done and goals to accomplish, am I right?

Well, here’s my encouragement to you, no matter where you fall on the feelings spectrum – finish this year strong, prairie strong! Take these 91 days and steward them well. Don’t waste these last 3 months of 2020. Finish the year strong.

There’s still time to finish that book. There’s still time to begin that work out program. There’s still time to get things done! Don’t squander these 91 days by telling yourself that you’ll get things done when the new year begins. The time for action is now, not later.

More importantly though, this year still affords you time (91 days of time) to cultivate your relationship with God. You still have time to begin reading your Bible again. You still have time to pray again. You still have time to make it to church again…You still have time!

Day 275. 91 days follow. Regardless of your socio-economic background, we’ve all been allotted the same amount of time. How will you steward the time that’s been given to you? There’s still time – tick tock, tick tock – there’s still time…

PFBC: October’s Upcoming Events…

As things continue to heat up and get back to normal out here on the prairie, here is what we’re planning for October 2020…

Saturday, October 3 – Kim Miller’s Baby Shower at 10:00 AM

Sunday, October 4 – Corporate Prayer at 9:00 AM & Morning Worship/Communion Service at 10:15 AM

Wednesday, October 7 – Outfitters, Kids4Truth, & Prayer Meeting at 6:30 PM

Saturday, October 10 – Outfitters at Faith Fest in Ankeny

Sunday, October 11 – Sunday School at 9:00 AM, Morning Worship at 10:15 AM, & Quarterly Meeting/Food Fellowship (Pizza On The Prairie)

  • Please Note: During our Quarterly Meeting on Sunday, October 11, we will vote on an amendment to our current constitution as it relates to Article VIII, Letter B, Item 1. The reason for this change is to give the Audit Committee more time to finalize numbers for our Annual Meeting in January. Here is our current wording & the new proposed wording…Current Wording: “The annual business meeting of the church shall be held the first Sunday evening following the first Wednesday of the year, except as hindered by an act of God.” New Wording: “The annual meeting of the church shall be held during the third Sunday of the year, except as hindered by an act of God.”

Monday, October 12 – Women’s Prayer Group at 10 AM

Tuesday, October 13 – Men’s Prayer Group at 6:30 AM

Wednesday, October 14 – Outfitters, Kids4Truth, & Prayer Meeting at 6:30 PM

Thursday, October 15 – Ladies’ Bible Study at 6:30 PM

Friday, October 16 – Ladies’ Night Out

Sunday, October 18 – Sunday School at 9:00 AM, Morning Worship at 10:15 AM, Growth Groups at Various Times, & Leadership Team Meeting at 2:00 PM

Wednesday, October 21 – Outfitters, Kids4Truth, & Prayer Meeting at 6:30 PM

Saturday, October 24 – Outfitters’ Hayride & Bonfire

Sunday, October 25 – Sunday School at 9:00 AM, Morning Worship at 10:15 AM, & Growth Groups at Various Times

Wednesday, October 28 – No Wednesday Evening Activities

When You Feel Lethargic & Calloused…

I don’t know about you, but this year has been overwhelming in every category (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). Indeed, if I were brutally honest, I have battled lethargy and callousness a great deal this past year. That is to say, I just find myself disinterested, unexcited, and almost numb to the many needs around me. Perhaps you are feeling the same way. Perhaps you, like me, are running low on compassion and true, biblical optimism. If this describes you, let me give to you my personal battle plan that I use against these dark forces of discouragement and depression…

  1. Rewind – When I feel the “I don’t cares” start to erupt in my life, or when I feel that it’s all for naught, I find it helpful to rewind. In other words, I will talk with my wife, or a trusted friend, and I’ll recount the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord in the past. I will remind myself that God worked mightily in the past, and He’s certainly working now (for my good and His glory), even if I don’t see it or feel it. A helpful passage to rewind with is Psalm 136. No less than 26 times are we reminded that the “steadfast love” of the LORD “endures forever.” Yes, God is loving (i.e. has our best interests in mind) even on our darkest days…
  2. Revive – When I find myself lethargic to my ministry duties, or just calloused to the needs of others, this is my calling card to pray and to seek the Lord even more. I double down on my prayer life. I honestly tell the Lord how I feel. A recent pray of mine went something like this: “God, I feel so bored with everything. Excite me again with your truth. God, I feel so disinterested with everything. Renew me again with your truth. God, I feel so numb with everything. Soften me again with your truth.” Indeed, God uses His glorious, unchanging truths to revive my soul. Psalm 119:25, “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word (i.e. your truth)!”
  3. Resolve – Finally, when my feelings of despair start to overwhelm me, I resolve (by God’s Word, Spirit, and Grace) to live for the Lord no matter what. God is King, not my feelings. God’s Word is truth, not my feelings. I resolve to follow, trust, and love my God despite my feelings of hopelessness. Sound too preachy? Perhaps, but that is the Christian life. Read the Psalms. More often than not, the Psalmist, after outlining doom and gloom, ends with a note of resolve (i.e. “But I will trust in you” or “But I will hope in you”). Indeed, to battle your feelings with resolve in God is not disingenuous, or being naively optimistic, it’s choosing to live life by faith.

2020 has been a crazy year. The effects of 2020 have been deep and dark. But as a believer, battle all those dark thoughts by rewinding, reviving, and resolving. In the end, darkness will pass, evil has an expiration date, and the joyous truth of God’s love and liberty will prevail…