Hello Church Family,
I regret to tell you that we will NOT be having any on site services this weekend. By now, you’ve probably heard about Governor Abbott’s decision to limit social gatherings to 10 people or less until April 3rd. In an effort to love our neighbor well (Matthew 22:39) and to obey our governing authorities (Romans 13:1), on site gatherings at Broadview’s South and West Campus will cease until such restrictions have been lifted.
This includes all adult small groups whether Sunday morning or mid-week. It includes all Bible study classes or other gatherings whether connected with the church or from outside partnerships. We want to honor the wishes of our government leaders and do all we can to “flatten the curve” of this outbreak so as to lessen the devastation it might bring.
Our staff will be working remotely and the church office will be closed during the week. Our childcare center, Blest Beginnings, has also been shut down until further notice. There will be a few staff up at the office on a rotation basis to receive mail and needed packages.
If you have a question you can call the church office during the week. If nobody answers, a voicemail will tell you where you can get more information or an outside number to call if you need to speak to an individual.
These are not easy decisions. In fact, they are some of the hardest I’ve ever had to make in ministry. People are scared. There’s a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty all around us. Now, more than ever, we need each other. It is in these types of situations that we need God the MOST. So it feels WRONG to cancel our typical approach to experiencing the presence of God together on Sunday mornings. Even so, I’m confident this is the wise and right thing to do for now.
Sunday Morning Worship
One thing that makes this decision a little easier is the capability we have to live stream our services to everyone in their homes. The New Testament encourages believers to gather for worship. It’s the first stage of our discipleship pathway. But the Bible never prescribed HOW those gatherings had to look. There’s a lot of freedom for how Sunday morning worship should look (which is why “church worship” has changed so drastically throughout the years).
For the foreseeable future, our gatherings are going to have to move “online.” The fact that you’re reading this message means you’ve got the capability to gather with us this Sunday so let me tell you what it’s going to look like. We made a few tweaks and rearranged the furniture to create a “virtual living room” from which we will host the service
In the book of Acts the early church met in the synagogues but they also went “house to house.” Our 10:00am livestream will capture that “house church” feel as I and other members of the staff seek to bring encouragement from God’s word and clarity for how the church should navigate these future waters.
Many churches will live stream from a stage platform with all the usual bells and whistles. To me, that felt less than ideal in light of the circumstances. You’re stuck in your living room so I wanted to invite you into the church’s living room so we can listen together for what God has to say to us for this time.
Through our church online platform, you’ll be able to submit prayer requests, make decisions, take next steps and offer your tithes and offerings. Through the chat you’ll be able to encourage one another and share your thoughts about the message.
You can also watch the live stream using our church’s smart phone app. (click here to download) When you open the app you’ll see a tab at the bottom called “live events.”
Just open it up at 10:00am and join us for worship. We will have music, preaching, testimonies and other types of resources to make it worth your investment of time.
As you can see, we are doing our best to try and provide some sort of worship experience for our congregation this Sunday. I will bring a message from God’s Word on how to battle fear and anxiety while experiencing the presence of God in difficult days. Other staff will also speak and all of us will be sitting around the couches, engaging with the message.
For those of you who have children, we’ve developed a resource that you can use with your children this coming Sunday or anytime throughout the week. It’s plug-and-play so be sure and check it out. It will correspond with the overall message this Sunday.
If you can’t make it for the livestream then just visit our church website and you can watch a recording of the message.
Now that you’ve got an idea of what’s happening this Sunday and how to access the stream, I want to give you a heads up on what the plan is moving forward. On Wednesday our staff met together and developed a plan for what ministry will look like should these restrictions continue. We’ve come up with a digital distribution plan for every day of the week.
On Monday we will post resources for family discipleship.
On Tuesday we will have our typical “bless the city” updates and encouragement. Our Celebrate Recovery ministries also plan to do some form of livestream Tuesday evening.
Each Wednesday evening I’ll host a “virtual prayer meeting” where I’ll answer questions, take prayer requests and seek to offer mid-week encouragement. We might also try and line up some testimonies during this stream.
On Thursdays myself, Taylor or a combination of other staff will stream a “hang out” time to discuss recent news, have a “hymn sing” or discuss relevant theological issues facing the culture.
Lastly, each Friday Joseph will offer a video devotional and cap off the week with a challenge from God’s Word.
As you can see, we are going to be pretty busy with the live streams but we are hoping this will give you a chance to regularly engage with our staff and the rest of your church family (even if it’s through the limitation of a screen.)
As I said earlier, the relationships we have with each other in the church are more important now than they’ve ever been.
We are making decisions one week at a time but we are assuming that Easter Sunday is going to be impacted by these restrictions. Some have thrown out the idea of a “parking lot” worship service where people will stay quarantined in their cars while tuning into a FM station that streams the service.
We will continue to explore that and other alternatives that get people together (the sooner the better.) Even though we are limited to 10 people in our social gatherings, there are ways for you to stay connected and engaged with people during this time. Just be careful and act with wisdom as it relates to slowing the spread of the virus.
I want to close with a personal challenge. It’s so important that you stay engaged during this season. A global epidemic does not stop the Great Commission. God is still on the throne, he has a Kingdom to advance, and the local church is still “Plan A” for preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
I know many of you are struggling right now. Many of you have lost jobs or own businesses that have screeched to a halt. The worries extend past financial pressures. The potential for this virus to affect the health of members of our own church family is likely. We need to stay together even if we’re having to practice some “social distancing” for right now.
We’ve encouraged our small group leaders to contact every person on their roll on a bi-weekly basis. Our deacon body is also making calls to our church family. I want to encourage you to do the same. Call and check on people. Pray for each other, out loud, over the phone. Encourage one another.
Our church will also be facing financial pressures in light of these restrictions. We have Gospel partnerships around the world that will also be adversely affected by this global pandemic. Church members have already reached out for financial assistance and I’m sure many more will do the same in the future.
If this crisis has not created a financial hardship in your own life, I want to encourage you to stay faithful in your giving. You can give by mail, online, through the app or text2give. Follow the link for more details on each method.
Before now, only about 20% of our donations came through our online or app platforms. That was fine beforehand because the online platforms charge a 2-3% processing fee. However, now that on-site gatherings have stopped, we are going to need more and more people to consider these other giving channels.
One of my ministry mentors (Jack Graham) said when it comes to church finances you’ve got to do TWO things: trust God and tell the people. To the best of our ability, I and the rest of the staff are trusting the Lord to provide. We have stopped all spending outside of essential expenditures and previously signed contractual obligations. But we also want to communicate the need.
The Lord will provide and we will survive this season. In fact, I’m trusting the Lord that we’re going to come out of this stronger than we were beforehand. I’m praying the Lord uses this season to reignite a passion for the presence of God and the fellowship of the saints. These are things we were already praying for and working towards as a church family. The Lord’s purpose will prevail.
I’m going to go ahead and sign off here and encourage you to join us this Sunday at 10:00am. Just go to our church website and you’ll see the option for the online campus. We will have more information for you there and we will gather together and worship the Lord.
If there’s anyway I can pray for you please let me know! Just reply to this message.
With you in the battle,