Sunday- 9:15AM Sunday School, 10:30AM & 6:00pm Worship Services | Wednesday - 6:00pm - 7:30PM

update September 1, 2020

Emergency Decision-Making Policy

Members of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, the leadership wants to inform you the about decision-making during this unusual period of our history. Please click the button below to read more.
Read More

press release

(May 12, 2020)

Dear Congregation,

It is my joy to inform you about the re-opening plans for Mount Vernon Baptist Church. This COVID-19 pandemic remains a major challenge for our country and our community. The disruption it has caused is historic in many ways. But we press on!

Phase One is the first stage of Mount Vernon returning to some sense of normalcy. The deacons and ministerial staff met on Monday night and designed this plan of action. It is not perfect – it is not what some folks hoped for – but it is a sound and reasonable approach to ensure a safe return for the most people.

We will resume our 10:30 Worship Service onsite this Sunday morning, May 17. We will abide by the recommended social distancing practices for seating in the worship center. Families are urged to sit together. Childcare will not be available during this Phase One. Spacing of 6 feet will be observed. In addition, we will have an overflow room set up in the Youth Center on the second floor of the Family Life Center.

Our deacons will direct you and assist you entering and exiting the Worship Center. They will be wearing masks for hygiene purposes and you may do so as well, if you so desire. Please park in front and on the sides of the Worship Center. We are asking that you refrain from handshaking, neck hugging, or other physical touch at this point. A big smile and wave will be our greeting in Phase One.

Sunday School classes are encouraged to continue meeting through Zoom or other social media platforms during Phase One. Sunday night and Wednesday night ministries and activities are postponed during Phase One.

In a few weeks the deacons and pastors will meet to reassess and make decisions about what a Phase Two will look like. Until then, you are asked to use your personal discretion about whether you will attend the worship service in person or continue to watch the live-stream on our website. We ask for your patience and cooperation as we navigate this challenge.

Sincerely in Christ,

John P. Gates

Click here to view/download a printable version of this press release.


John P. Gates

I must admit that I remember the challenge it was to have our children in the worship service as they were growing up. We had 3 children close together and then another a few years later and then another a few years after that. Our situation was also challenged because I was a minister on the platform and Julie was a pianist. The children were sitting by themselves on the front row … but very much under the “eye” of their mother until after the song service. Yet, we desired to have the children in the service with us. I remember reading books about child-rearing from people who had already reared children and thinking that they had forgotten what it was really like to have children!! So, I don’t want to be THAT guy - but I do want to challenge your thinking about having your children join you in “big” church. Don’t underestimate the importance and blessing that this may prove to be in your child’s life.

  • The exposure to biblical truth is huge in your child’s life and thinking. God ordained preaching for the benefit of His children, young and old. The truth and the gospel are the tools the Holy Spirit uses to reach and grow the hearts of our children as well. The fact that a large portion of the worship service is given to the Word of God points to this and is of benefit to their development.
  • The physical act of being present in the worship service gives them and you the opportunity to ask and answer questions that arise from the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and Believer’s Baptism by immersion. That was one of the important designs God had for the Passover observance (see Exodus 12:26-27)
  • The worship service is an introduction to the greatness of God. Don’t attempt to reduce God to their level of understanding - it’s okay that they can’t fully comprehend the infinite nature and ways of God - can you? Allow the mystery and majesty of God to overwhelm and inform their minds.
  • Having your children in the worship service communicates that worship is not just for adults. This is huge. They need to know that they can and should be involved as well as they sing with the congregation, give, listen, pray, and learn.
  • Don’t be discouraged if this aspect of your child’s development is difficult. Learning about worship and sitting through worship can be a stretch for them and they may not see the value. They may buck you and try to persuade you to give up on having them in the worship service. But remember, introducing your child to vegetables is worth the effort too - a sugary diet is tasty and fun, but not necessarily healthy or a good habit for life.
  • Without question this is a critical part of parental responsibility and an important opportunity to model godliness for your children. They learn to worship by watching you worship. The example you set and the value you place on public worship says much to your child. And, of course, the level with which you engage and participate in the worship service is a ‘not so subtle’ lesson for your child. If you love college football, or politics with passion, your child will know it and often gravitate toward and love those things too. So it is with the corporate worship of God.
  • Finally, it also behooves the congregation as a whole to encourage and affirm the parents who bring their children to the worship service. The adults and young people in the service also set an example for children to model. That is why the congregation, as a whole, needs to be engaged in the totality of the service of worship. Children need to see and hear adults and young people sing praise to God. Children need to see adults and young people participate in giving tithes and offerings to God. Children need to see adults and young people bow their heads in prayer to God. Children need to see and hear adults and young people affirm biblical teaching by uttering ‘Amen’ or nodding their head in agreement. Children need to see adults and young people pay attention and express interest in every element of the worship service. And parents need affirmation and encouragement if they choose to bring their little ones to the worship service.

As your pastor, please know that I am for you and supportive of your decision whether to bring your children into the worship service. I know it is a challenge at times… “been there done that ☺.” Do the best you can. Take it in small doses. Sit on the end of the pew so if you need to slip out to adjust the attitude or correct the action you can. You are the parent. You are the responsible party. You make the choice. May the Lord give you wisdom, patience, and joy in this season of life.

John P. Gates