Hey Church Family,
I hope you’ve had a good week! We’re working on a church-wide newsletter that will have updates from many of our core ministry initiatives and plan to release that in the next few weeks through our various communication channels. Since it’s not ready for this weekend I wanted to write and update you on a few things.
First, remember we now have THREE morning service times.
We still put out a livestream of each of these services. However the 9:30 and 11:00 livestream is an “At Home” service specially created for people who are worshiping at home. Please let us know your thoughts on this service as we are trying to discern the best strategy moving forward.
Also, remember that for this new series there is a corresponding video Bible study on Right Now Media entitled “The Meaning of Marriage” by Timothy and Kathy Keller. The Sunday messages go along thematically with the outline of this Bible study. You may find it beneficial as a group study or personal reflection throughout the week.
Secondly, our small groups are back on campus.
Our groups meet directly after our 8:15 andÂ 9:30 service times. Most of them are getting started 10-15 minutes before the 9:30 and & 11:00 worship service as our service times have been around an hour long. This allows for us to shrink the amount of cross traffic in usually congested areas like the Gathering Place and building hallways.
If you’re part of an adult small group, I’d encourage you to reach out to your group leader to see what the plan is. Several have shifted their meeting time to a mid-week or Sunday afternoon on-campus option. If you’re looking for a small group, now is a great time to get plugged in!
Thirdly, you must RSVP for Preschool and Children’s Ministry.
The reason we must have you RSVP for our Preschool and Children’s ministry environments is because we still lack the needed volunteers to make all our space usable. Since we don’t have the workers we can’t fully use our ministry space. We are also trying to be mindful of physical distancing and like-measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
If you would be willing to help volunteer in either of these key ministry environments you can let me know by replying to this email or filling out this volunteer application. I know it’s a long volunteer application but we increased safety measures and background checks for ministry to our vulnerable populations and this volunteer application is step one of the process.
Remember, if you sign up as a volunteer you don’t necessarily have to work every week in either department. You can sign up for as much or as little as you want. ANY AMOUNT will absolutely go a long way in our current situation. Thank you for prayerfully considering this need!
Wednesday Nights Are Back!
This past Wednesday we resumed our preschool, children’s and student ministry programing. It was a GREAT evening and so many of our kiddos and parents are glad to be back in the swing of things. It’s a far cry from “normal” but it’s much closer to normal than we’ve ever been before.
If you’re ready to bring your kids back then you can drop them off at 6:30 and the ministry programming goes until 8:00PM. We have opportunities for Preschool (ages birth through 5yrs), Children (grades 1-5) and Students (grades 6-12.)
New Ladies Bible Study
As of now, there is only one adult gathering on Wednesday Night and it’s a new ladies Bible study that starts September 9th. This study will actually have TWO meeting times. One at 10:00AM and the other at 6:30PM. The name of the study is “Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me” and the author of the curriculum is Jennifer Rothschild. (Watch the trailer)
You can purchase your study guide online or through the church. Contact Tiffany Lohse for answers to any questions you may have. Childcare is available for the study (both hours) but you must RSVP if you’re going to need childcare on Wednesday morning.
Marriage Night – September 12th
To accompany our focus on marriage for the next few weeks, we’re also hosting a special event entitled “Marriage Night.” The event will be held on September 12th from 6:00-9:30pm. The cost is $15 per ticket. You can register here. To learn more about the speakers you can go here. We will have refreshments available but do not plan to provide a meal given the current climate.
Unfortunately, the ticket price is set by Right Now Media so we have no control over that. If you want to attend but cannot afford a ticket please let us know so we can try and secure a scholarship.
I titled this week’s update “Getting Back To Normal.” It’s honestly a little “tongue in cheek” as things are in no way “normal” right now. But, the effort to recapture some semblance of what “used to be” is a good effort in my opinion. We should never grow complacent in our faith but there’s nothing wrong with pursuing “comfort” in the Lord.
Getting back to our normal rhythms (including our spiritual rhythms) can act as a healing balm on our anxious souls. The fall of 2020 is sure to have it’s highs and lows (if 2020 continues to go as it has thus far). We will likely continue to learn of the ways in which COVID-19 has forever changed our cultural landscape.
But for all of the things that do change, one thing remains. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. His faithfulness is great and his grace is sufficient no matter the evidence that may point to the contrary. As we continue to move forward let us do so with confidence in the Lord, love for one another and hope in our promised future that will one day be revealed.
If I don’t see you tomorrow, I’ll see you on the interwebs!
Have a great rest of your weekend!
Hey Church Family,
I hope you’ve had a great week! I’m going to be leaving town in a few days for Ruidoso, New Mexico. Our family had some vacation time planned and the cold mountain air of Ruidoso was calling my name. I’ll certainly miss seeing everybody while I’m away but can’t wait to take a breather and do some planning for what’s coming up this fall.
Before signing off, I wanted to remind you about a few things coming up soon and also recognize one of our staff team-members who is taking a full-time position in another church.
First, let me remind you about our special prayer service this Sunday at 7PM. Our Student Pastor, Jospeh Tobias will be leading this service. It’s a time to come together and pray for our world. As you can clearly see from the news, there’s a lot of brokenness out there.
The four categories included in this prayer service are unity, justice, healing and love. Each word will be followed by Scripture readings and prayer. I hope you can join us for this special time. I know it’s Father’s Day and several have other plans. But for those who can make it, please join us.
We will livestream the event for those who cannot make it in person. It will also be available to watch afterwards if you cannot watch during the 7PM start time. Whether you attend in person or online, God hears our prayers just the same. I hope you’ll be able to make it.
July 12th Service Times
The second thing I wanted to remind you about is our July 12th service times. Essentially, we are moving our Traditional Service back to Sunday morning. Our traditional schedule of three worship services on Sunday morning won’t happen until later this summer. But, for now, here’s what’s going down on July 12th.
Adult Small Groups:
9:30 & 11:00AM
Preschool & Children Programming:
9:45 & 11:00AM
Student Ministry Programming:
I know for many of our young families you’ve been waiting for the preschool and kids wing to open back up before you come back. That day is finally here. We are really excited to get to minister to our kids again and I hope you’ll make it a point to show up on July 12th.
As you can see, these are some odd times compared to what we’re used to. The reason is because we’re trying to still maintain social distancing between “high-risk” populations and potential “asymptomatic carriers” of the virus. Most of the higher risk folks in our church attend the Traditional Service and the most likely asymptomatic carriers are young children or young adults (who attend later services)
There will be some who think this is silly and others who think we aren’t going far enough. We are doing our best to do what we think is best so I hope you’ll be gracious as we feel our way forward on this deal. When we add back our third service these times may have to change again but this is what the plan is for now.
For those of you who don’t like reading, here’s a video of the July 12th changes
(filmed in anticipation of my absence due to travel)
A Few Other Things
In addition to relaunching our adult small groups and the preschool, children and student ministry programming, we are also seeing a few other ministries fire back up.
Traditional Service Choir
For example, our Traditional Service Worship Choir will start meeting again on Wednesday July 15th at 5:00PM. I know many who serve in our choir have been waiting patiently to get back together again and so rehearsals will start back up at that time.
Personally, I feel like the experts are of two opinions when it comes to the spread of coronavirus by sining. Some scientists say that choir rehearsals and singing are one of the key ways that the coronavirus spreads. Others disagree. The CDC originally discouraged the use of choirs and singing but later removed that guidance as it was not cleared by the White House. (see current CDC guidance here.)
All of this back and forth just makes decision making more difficult. Because our worship choir has so many who qualify as “high risk” I’d like to err on the side of caution. That means precautions will be taken at rehearsal. The set up of the room will be spread out so as to practice social distancing and if it turns out we cannot do it safely we may have to postpone rehearsals a little longer.
We also don’t know exactly when we will be able to bring back a choir for the Traditional Service worship gathering. It’s feasible to set up a rehearsal room for social distancing but our traditional use of choir risers put vocalist right on top of each other. So we are still trying to figure out a solution for that moving forward. Hopefully, the threat of COVID will continue to wane as the fall progresses. Time will tell.
The other ministry that is kicking back off after July 12th is Celebrate Recovery. Our freedom ministries have already been hosting a weekly small group on Tuesday evenings but now they are shifting back to a full fledged Celebrate Recovery ministry program.
The program will start at 6:30. First there is a time of singing and worship followed by a message or testimony. Afterwards, people break out into groups and share what’s going on in their hearts. It’s a wonderful program that helps people get over their hurts, habits and hangups.
Some assume CR is only for people with a “substance abuse” problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly it’s helpful for finding freedom over addiction. But substance abuse isn’t the only form of spiritual slavery people experience. Not by a long shot!
Some are slaves to anger. Others are slaves to fear or despair. Anxiety issues? CR will help. Control issues? Eating disorders? Depression? All of these things are symptoms of a heart that’s gotten out of alignment. And putting yourself back into alignment isn’t easy. You need community. You need people who will listen to your situation and help you find your way out.
That’s what CR is about. It’s about finding freedom over sin. Some sin in our life is due to personal decisions. Sometimes we don’t get a choice and sins are committed against. We live in a broken world damaged by sin and it ends up damaging US.
So how do you get over those hurts, habits or hang ups? You do it with the power of God in the context of community. That’s what makes CR so effective. The power of God’s Word is discovered and applied through the channel of personal relationships. It’s disciple-making 101.
If you’ve never considered joining Celebrate Recovery let me challenge you to give it a second look. If you’ve struggled to find a small group, why not give this a chance? If you’ve got any kind of spiritual “hang up” right now, what do you have to lose? Give CR a try and let me know what you think.
You Are Sent
The last thing I want to talk about in this week’s update is the sending of one of our favorite people on staff. Her name is Claire Shuler and she’s taking a full-time position at Clear Lake Baptist Church in Houston, TX as their Minister of Media and Music.
Claire has been serving on staff for close to two years now. She stepped in alongside of Jospeh Tobias in leading our youth ministry. In addition to that, she has served the church in a variety of different ways. She’s become a ministry generalists of sorts, creating graphics, children discipleship videos and a host of other things behind-the-scenes.
When I wrote her letter of recommendation I emphasized Claire’s humility and spirit of teamwork. Many people in ministry have the “skills” necessary to get a job done. Less common is the humility and teamwork mindset that makes a staff culture healthy. She has brought both of those things to our staff team and we were better for it.
We are going to miss her so much but I’m confident the Lord has called her to this next assignment. I’m so proud of how she trusted the Lord throughout this process. She is taking a position that is going to maximize her strengths and spiritual giftedness. It would’ve been easier to “settle for less” but good things come to those who wait.
I’m confident she has a bright future ahead of her and I want to congratulate you all for helping send Claire into this assignment with all the tools and knowledge she needs. Because of your willingness to let her serve in all of these various capacities she can now go into this next assignment with the competence and confidence this position requires.
Part of our 2020 Vision was being a church that “sends missionaries.” Claire may not be going oversees but she is moving to one of the most culturally diverse cities in America and her ministry moving forward is going to reach people we would never be able to reach.
Your investment into her life is going to be bearing fruit in the years to come. So thank you for being generous in your tithes and offerings as well as your words of encouragement and faith in her future life in ministry. We will celebrate her tomorrow morning in service so I hope you can be there to send her off.
An Update From Brazil
Even as we send one person out to their next assignment, I wanted to close this week’s update with a video testimony from a missionary who has returned back from their ministry assignment.
Many of you remember that in January we sent one of our church members, Anaka Hinton, to Brazil as a long-term missionary. Little did we know that a novel coronavirus would breakout and make the ministry assignment in Brazil 100 times more interesting than it would’ve been otherwise.
Anaka has filmed a video describing her experience in Brazil so I want to encourage you to watch it and be encouraged by how your giving to the World Missions Offering had a direct and concrete impact on the unreached peoples in Brazil.
I hope you were as encouraged as I was by this video. Anaka speaks about the way in which being raised in a church that cares so deeply about missions is what gave her the desire to take this assignment. Who knows that the future holds for her?
Again, whatever that future is, you have a part in it because of your generosity to things like the World Missions Offering and your spiritual investment into the life of a young person growing up in this church. These are just two recent examples. Only God knows the full impact this church is having on the people who belong to this spiritual family.
The truth is, what happens in church when we gather together really makes an eternal impact in the world. You probably don’t see it when you’re in the moment but these little moments are cumulative and add up to something significant. The local church is God’s idea and He knew what he was doing when he created it.
I’ve got my own children growing up in this same church. I’m so thankful to belong to a church family that is passionate about reaching unreached people and that models well the love of Christ and the power of the Gospel.
One More Thing…
On that note – in case you’re actually STILL reading this hopelessly long email – Audra and I are excited to announce the addition of ONE MORE child into our little family! We’ve known for a long time but wanted to wait until we knew the sex of the baby before making the announcement.
A beautiful baby boy is due to be born later this fall (early November). I couldn’t be more excited! Blaise and AJ are also pumped. As Blaise said, “I can wrestle with him and WIN.” (I guess I should let him win more often when we wrestle…) Audra has endured this pregnancy like a champ even though it was really difficult early on. She’s the absolute best at being a mom and now we’ll be a family of FIVE.
All that being said, this is a particularly good Father’s Day for me. 2020 has been really tough in many ways. But even in the midst of great trial and change, God is faithful. God is good. His love never fails and our future is secure.
For others reading this email, your Father’s Day may not be as good. You may be facing a level of hardship that makes you feel as though you’re about to break. And for you, even in that valley low, God is faithful. He is good, his love never fails and your future is secure.
The Fatherly love of God is the thing we need whether we’re on a mountain high or a valley low. Wherever you find yourself, I hope you’ll direct your eyes towards him and allow his truth, goodness and beauty direct your steps moving forward.
It’ll be a few weeks until I write another update. So, until that time, I hope you have a happy June and wonderful 4th of July. If I don’t see you tomorrow then I’ll catch you on the interwebs.
Have a Happy Sunday!
Hey Church Family,
Here we are again. Another week has passed. What a week it has been! Before I get to my pastoral letter for this week’s update I just want to remind you about the opportunities for gathered worship this weekend.
We have a service tonight at 5PM. It’s a traditional service and will go for about an hour. Children are discouraged from attending this service because we are trying to protect our more “at risk” population. We also encourage anyone who is sick to please stay home and watch the live stream.
Our Sunday morning service starts at 9:45AM. It’s a contemporary style worship service and everyone is welcome to attend. There are bags available upon entry to the sanctuary that can keep your kids occupied with color sheets and other materials. This will also last about an hour and will be streamed online for those who prefer to remain at home.
We are continuing to practice social distancing and masks are encouraged (though not required.) We strongly encourage their use when you cannot maintain the proper 6 foot distance between others outside your household. We also require there to be TWO empty seats between each household unit on each row in the sanctuary. You can register for the services using the link below.
Not everyone who attends has to register. We have made it so that there is a certain number of empty seats for walk-ins and new guests. That said, we encourage you to register so we can know when to add additional services and so we ensure our current setup maintains the social distancing guidelines. Thanks for your help in this matter!
Next week we will have a Family Room open up for those of you who have kids but don’t want to bring them into the Sanctuary. Children and preschool programming will start later in July. You can read last week’s update for details. There is also information about some new small groups starting up in that update as well.
Responding to Injustice
For this week’s update, I wanted to write down my thinking on the proper Christian response to injustice. If you’ve not yet seen it on the news, our nation has been set ablaze by riots, protests and cries of agony in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Minnesota. We even had a march in our own city that recognized this act of injustice.
The death of George Floyd is one more in a string of recent events that’ve unjustly took the life of a black American. The other well-known example is that of Ahmaud Arbery. The details of each case are a little bit different but each case is an example of a death that could have been prevented and should have never happened.
While I want to be careful of assigning motivations of racial prejudice to the people involved, the fact remains that each of these victims were black Americans and each death contained injustices committed by white Americans. The video footage associated with each of the aforementioned cases make clear how horrendously wrong these two deaths actually were.
Again, it’s not my place to assign racial motivations to either of these perpetrators. Only God knows the heart and perfect justice will one day be served. Irregardless of the motivations, these acts along with others have sparked a nation-wide protest of other injustices experienced by black Americans.
How are Christians to respond?
This question has consumed my thoughts for the past several weeks. Now we are seeing an uprising of violent protests that are destructive and unjust in their own right. Violence only breeds more violence. And as these riots escalate in intensity, the violence and division is only going to worsen.
My heart is broken for these families. My heart is concerned for the future of our country. My heart is grieved over the many stories of prejudice that I’ve heard from my non-white friends. My heart is ashamed of being silent when I could’ve voiced these types of concerns but didn’t.
What makes all of this even more complicated is that racial tensions in America have become embedded in our politics. It’s difficult to take a stand on an issue without being pigeon-holed into a political movement that you may or may not wholeheartedly agree with. Pastorally, this is even more difficult because there are many who think that preachers should avoid politics all-together.
But just because something is a “political issue” doesn’t mean Christians should avoid talking about it. It doesn’t mean that GOD doesn’t have a clear view about it. It doesn’t mean that the Church shouldn’t have a clear voice in addressing it. And that voice shouldn’t be compromised by political allegiances whether they be from the left or the right.
Christians have long understood this as it relates to abortion. The Bible is clear that all people – irregardless of their stage of development – are created in the image of God. Abortion is the ending of a human life (not just a potential human life) and therefore it is wrong. Our politics should reflect that conviction.
But the theology that informs our Christian response to abortion ought to also inform the discussion around other political issues. Immigration. racial issues, proper policing and the criminal justice system. Often these discussions are seen as issues “for the left.” But they’re not just issues that matter to the left. They matter to God because ALL people are created in God’s image and are therefore inherently valuable and worthy of dignity and respect.
None of this is to say that the solutions proposed by the left or the right are the right ones. Political wisdom and civic solutions need to be biblically informed but are often not biblically prescribed (as much as I wish they were). The foundational principles are given to us in God’s Word but the construction and application of those principles to our civic life is for us to figure out together.
Why am I even bringing up the issue of politics? I bring it up because I think it keeps some of us from thinking biblically about the issue of injustice, racial or otherwise.
How then should a Christian respond to injustice? Here’s are a few thoughts to consider.
1.) SEE THE INJUSTICE
“Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.” Ecclesiastes 4:1
This is where it begins. You can’t join God in properly responding to injustice unless you’re willing to see it. It’s easy to preoccupy yourself with your busy little world and avoid looking at the injustices that are all around us. So don’t. Stop. Look at it. Stare at it. Feel the weight of it so that you can properly empathize with the victims who are suffering.
Every victim has a backstory. They are people created in the image of God. They have families and friends who are grieving. In the case of George Floyd, he was used by God to open up a Gospel movement in Houston’s third ward.
It’s really easy to allow the discussion around injustice to devolve into numbers and statistics. In some ways, that’s inevitable. It’s a big problem and to wrestle with it you’ve got to do so at a macro level. But Christians ought to never become blind to what’s actually happening on the ground. We’ve got to be willing to see it.
2.) GRIEVE THE INJUSTICE
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:22–23)
“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2)
There are several other Psalms that speak to this issues but groaning and grieving is a fitting response to injustice. So often we rush past this (especially if we are not ourselves the victims.) It’s important to weep with those who weep and to do so without explaining away their pain or rushing past their grievances.
“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26)
Related to this grieving is the issue of godly anger. We saw a few weeks ago how Paul encouraged us to be different as it relates to our anger. Like Jesus, our anger should be informed by a godly sorrow over the brokenness of this world and the devastating effect that sin has on people.
3) CONFRONT THE INJUSTICE
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8–9
This was written to a king by a king and was in particular reference to his ruling as a king. But it still applies for those of us who have the power to make a difference. We shouldn’t use our position or power to serve ourselves but rather the interests of others, especially those who cannot defend themselves.
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Isaiah 1:16–17
This comes from a context where God is confronting his people about their dead religion. He does the same thing through the prophet Amos. They were consistent in attending church, singing, praying, even giving their tithes and offerings. But they were inconsistent in advocating for the oppressed and rebuking the oppressors. Part of righteousness is correcting oppression and seeking justice for all. Silence is not an option.
4) ENTRUST VENGENCE TO GOD
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21)
Violence and riots are a natural and easy response to injustice. But the Christian response should be different. This is why Martin Luther King was able to enact so much change without ever lifting a finger. He entrusted himself to the Lord and left vengeance in his hands.
This is incredibly hard to do, especially if you are the victim of injustice. But it’s a supernatural response that you can do with the power of the Holy Spirit.
This isn’t to say that protests are wrong in and of themselves. I think protests fit right in with number three on our list above. But violence steps over God’s design for responding to injustice.
Like most things, the Christian response to injustice doesn’t fit neatly within any political paradigm. It confronts us in our apathy and indifference and it moves us to a place of advocacy and sacrifice. It rejects man-made solutions or godless ideologies and centers our hope solely in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the Christian response to injustice is DIFFERENT.
My prayer for us in these days is that God confronts us in our sin and moves us to a place of godly repentance and strategic action.
As our nation burns and the people rage may the people of God repent and submit ourselves to the perfect plan and design of God. May the church rise up and chart a course that others can follow. The loudest voices don’t have to direct our future. May God grant that the voice of truth lead the way through the witness of the Church.
We are just one small church among many. But the Church universal can be a powerful force for good. It was God’s “plan-A” for proclaiming the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. Our country needs the Church to step up to the plate and respond to injustice according to God’s good design.
Will you join me in praying for a heart of repentance? Will you join me in praying for wisdom from heaven? Will you join me in seeing the injustices that are there and grieving with those who are hurting right now (especially those in our own church family?)
Lastly, will you join me in confronting injustice wherever and however we can? Will you join me in rejecting movements or platforms that will only take us further in the wrong direction and instead join with God as he makes a way for a better future? Will you join me in praying for discernment on how best to reach that goal.
Consider how you can be a voice for the voiceless and join God in defending the defenseless.
Through it all, let us remember as broken as things may “seem,” God is still on the throne! All of this is working towards a triumphant end. The day is coming when our tears of grief over the injustice of sin will be wiped away by a just and perfect King.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new…” (Revelation 21:3–5)
These words are trustworthy and true. God is faithful and he will keep his promises. Continue to pray for our country during these difficult days. Pray for the Church to be that bright and shining city on a hill that cannot be hidden. A city within the city, seeking the good of those who dwell within.
If there’s anyway I can pray for you in particular please let me know. If these recent events have caused a level of grief or anxiety in your own heart then please let us know so we can help minister to you during this time.
Even though this is on the headlines right now, those will eventually fade and the subject will change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forevermore. Let us fix our eyes on him and move forward with confidence in his plan.
I hope I see many of yall tonight or tomorrow morning!
if not, I’ll catch you on the interwebs!
As if keeping track of which day it is wasn’t hard enough, I am bringing you the Monday Update on a Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed your holiday yesterday and talked with your children about the significance of the day and the sacrifice that was made so that we can enjoy our freedom. This week we are going to celebrate the beginning of summer with the return of a fan-favorite!
Two weeks ago, we did “Chalk at the Church” for the first time. Families had a blast doing art work in the parking lot! Several families said they wanted to chalk but were not able to due to busy school schedules, so we are bringing it back! This week is Chalk at the Church 2.0! We encourage you to come up to church and write a positive note or artwork in the parking lot for our church family and staff to enjoy. After you finish, take a picture with your family and your art to post on social media with the hashtag #chalkatthechurch. If you are not on social media, you can email the picture as well.
We did say that this week is the 2.0 version so we wanted to add some extra fun! We have purchased some popsicles for your family to enjoy! To get them, come to the church office between the hours of 9AM-12PM or 1PM-3PM Tuesday through Thursday and 9am-11am on Friday. Please make sure you sanitize when entering and exiting the building at our sanitization station near the church doors. Also, all families that post or send in a picture while be entered into a drawing to win some awesome children’s Bibles and books.
We hope that your family will find time to come and leave an encouraging note or artwork for our church family! Have a great week!
Ora, Sherry, and Tiffany
Hey Church Family,
It’s memorial day weekend. I hope you and your family are enjoying things so far. We’ve got our Saturday night service scheduled for 5:00 tonight and then our Sunday morning worship at 9:45. We are now several weeks into our “in-person” gatherings and so things are starting to get into some sort of rhythm. That said, I don’t really imagine them to stay that way because in these days of COVID-19 nothing stays normal for very long. hahaha You can use the link below to register now.
The reason we’re asking you to register is so that we can know how many people to expect and ensure we are keeping to our social distancing guidelines. We’ve set up our sanctuary so that family units will be six feet apart. We are also encouraging the use of masks for those times when we cannot ensure social distancing (such as entering and existing the building, mulling around and conversating after services, etc) If you don’t have a mask there are some available for you to use and keep.
Each new day we learn more information about this virus. There are several good things happening and I’m hopeful that we will soon be able to gather without these social distancing guidelines and get back to the way things used to be (at least in terms of how many people we can seat at a time). For now, however, this is what we’re doing. It’s an effort to honor our governing authorities and to love our neighbor well.
This week I met with with Tiffany and Ora to discuss reopening our kids and preschool wings. It was a productive conversation and we are hopeful that we can restart programming soon. We have a two-phase plan as it relates to bringing kiddos back on campus.
On June 7th we will have a new venue on Sunday morning called “The Family Room.”
This room will livestream the service but you’ll be on campus in the Education Building along with other families with children. This room isn’t mandatory for those who have kids (they are more than welcome to join us in the Sanctuary). But, if you feel like your children aren’t ready for that kind of setting then you can accompany them in the “Family Room.” The service will start at 9:15 with a broadcast of the Kid’s Service. Then the 9:45 Contemporary Service will livestream afterwards.
The family room will be set up with resources that keep kids engaged and give them something to do while the parents watch and engage in the service. You’ll be worshipping alongside of other adults who brought their kids to the Family Room. Tiffany and/or Ora will also be present during that hour and can serve as a resource for you. We want to try and make your time of worship in the Family Room as meaningful as possible.
Kids who go to the family room must be accompanied by at least ONE parent. One parent may go to the Sanctuary while the other worships in the family room, or both parents may go to the family room, or your whole family may go to the Sanctuary but kids cannot be left unaccompanied in the Family Room. We will try this for about a month and see how it goes.
To register you, your spouse or your children for the family room be sure during registration to choose the ticket option “Family Room.” You can watch this video of me registering my family for the family room to see how the process works. You can register as an attendee (Sanctuary seating) a volunteer (Sanctuary seating) or the Family Room. We have limits of 75 people for attendees, 25 people for volunteers and 35 people for the family room. If you are a musician, part of the hospitality team, or would like to help in opening up/cleaning up before and after service then register as a volunteer.
Register Now (June 7th)
Starting July 12th we are going to attempt a relaunch of our kids and preschool ministry programming.
This will be Sunday only. Wednesday night programming is cancelled indefinitely for now. When we get past the summer and hear about what local schools are planning, we will have a better idea what our mid-week programming in the Fall/Winter will look like.
I know that that the absence of kids ministry makes it very difficult for some families to join us for weekend worship services so we are trying to address that problem as soon as we possibly can. If you have any feedback on what you think might be a good solution please reply to this email and let us know.
We understand that many of our volunteers simply aren’t ready to come back yet. Some may not come back for a while. That’s why we are trying to build a new roster of volunteers who will be free to serve in this transition period. Any help you’re able to give would be so appreciated.
Those of you who are interested in serving as a volunteer in other areas can also reply to this message and let me know. We are probably looking at rebuilding most of our ministry teams as we rebound from COVID and so any help you’re able to give will be welcome.
In addition to these new initiatives with our preschool and kids ministries we are also trying to get some new small groups up off the ground. God has been gracious to continue GROWING our church during this season of COVID-19 and we are wanting to be good stewards of the new people he has brought to our church. Several of these new folks are young adults and we are starting a new “Young Couples Small Group” in the coming weeks.
Our worship pastor Taylor Miller will be leading this new small group. They will meet at 6:30 on Wednesday evenings. They will be meeting at his house which is directly west (across the street) from our church parking lot. You can contact Taylor for more information if you’re interested in this group. The make-up of the group is young couples without children.
I also happen to know that a few other small groups are meeting “on campus.” We have a Thursday night Bible Study that is meeting on campus. They meet Thursdays at 6:30. You can call Jerry at (325) 668-1253 if you’re interested in joining. This is a group of middle-aged adults. Co-ed.
We have a new Celebrate Recovery small group that is studying the series “Life’s Healing Choices” by Rick Warren. This group meets on Tuesdays at 6:45. It’s a video Bible study with small group discussion afterwards. It’s on campus in our Education Building. If you’re interested you can contact Jeff Wilkins at (325) 370-3594 or via email here.
Again, if you’re interested in serving during this time and you’d like to help start a NEW small group (even if it’s temporary until things are 100% for on-campus gatherings) then please let me know. It’d be great if we could have at least a handful of Sunday Morning Small Groups meeting before or after our 9:45 worship gathering. The same is true for our 5:00 Saturday night traditional service.
I want to say THANK YOU to those of you who’ve continued to keep your existing small groups together by calling on a weekly basis or having zoom calls to check in on everybody. I know that digital community isn’t the same as person-to-person contact but it’s better than nothing. These digital gatherings have slowed as summer nears but I’m sure they’ll continue to be a big part of our discipleship strategy moving forward as we together adjust to a new normal.
A close friend of mine said “everybody is going to have to learn how to think like a church planter” in these COVID-19 days. I don’t know how right he is but I do get the sense that there will be much to rebuild as we move forward. It’s going to take all hands on deck. I’m so thankful to be part of a church that does “whatever it takes.” And I’m confident that our best days are ahead of us.
By the way – I’m not just “saying that.” Broadview has proven herself to be a church that overcomes the odds and perseveres through trying times. If you don’t believe me, talk to the people of this church who’ve been here longer than I’ve been alive. They’ll tell you. The stories are unbelievable. God is faithful and he’s not done with us yet. Again, our best days are still ahead of us!
I hope I see many of yall tonight or tomorrow morning!
if not, I’ll catch you on the interwebs!
PS. Since you made it this far, I became aware this past week that many of you received emails from me asking for E-bay gift cards or other forms of scammy requests. Please know I will NEVER email you about such matters. I will never ask you for personal favors related to finances. Our email list was either stolen, sold or hacked and members of our church are receiving these kinds of messages in their inbox. We are investigating. Please delete the messages. You can also forward them to me and I’ll turn them in to the proper authorities. Blessings! – WT