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Preparing to gather again

Preparing to gather again  

Church Family and Friends-
As we continue to live through this unique time in history, we look ahead to gather in person again. One of the high priorities of the New Testament church is to gather together on a regular basis. Based upon recent updates from the government and other entities, many churches are planning and preparing to gather again. Some churches are planning to have in person services as soon as this weekend while other local churches are making plans to meet the following Sunday, May 10th (Mother's Day). While I/we want to begin gathering sooner than later, we will plan to have our first service in person again on May 10th. There are a number of details we want to consider and put in place before we meet again. We want to have time to communicate and implement them.  Below are a few of the details to help you prepare and know that we take the preparation to meet seriously.

Two services-9 AM & 10:30 AM
1. We are adding another Sunday service to the original 10:30 AM service time.  This new time will be at 9 AM.  We were already praying and planning for a second service before the safer at home order.  The need to have more room was only confirmed by the distancing requests.  You are welcome to attend either (or both!) services at 9 AM or 10:30 AM. We will try to keep the services at one hour or less to give time for transition.  

Live streaming and wellness-
2. We are installing an updated camera system and computer equipment to be able to broadcast a quality livestream for those who are still not comfortable with attending. We hope to have the new system up and running before the 5/10 service. We will continue the online 7@7 devotions for now and the service will be live streamed this weekend like recent weeks. If you or your children have any symptoms that point to a potential sickness, please stay home and take care of yourself and your family. While watching online will never replace the importance of meeting in person, those who cannot meet due to health and other unique challenges can still be edified by the Word with live streaming and recording.

Cleaning campus and hygiene 
3. We have continued significant and increased cleaning practices across the campus.  We have already treated the entire facility (chairs, carpets, tables, floors, toys, bathrooms, door handles, etc.) with a strong and safe disinfectant. We will repeat the process again next weekend before the first service.  We will also plan to spray a disinfectant between the services across the whole building. We will have some hand sanitizer available. The children's area and toys will be deep cleaned and sprayed. The bathrooms will continue to be deep cleaned as well.  Greeters will open and hold the main double doors for you so you do not have to open those doors. 

Food & Beverage
4. We will not have food or beverage available for the first few weeks to decrease the potential spread of germs.  Sorry you will miss the amazing baked goods we usually have but some of us are already struggling with a few extra pounds! Feel free to bring your own beverage with a lid.

Lord's Supper & Baptisms
5. The Lord's Supper is one of the two main ordinances that Scriptures require the local church to be obedient in.  The other ordinance is baptism.  We have a package of pre-filled, individually packaged Lord's Supper cups with bread in the top wrapper.  We are waiting on another large case to make sure we have enough.  If the other package arrives in time, we will plan to receive the Lord's Supper on our first Sunday back.  The individual containers will be placed on the table at the front of the auditorium by someone with gloves as they remove them from the original packaging. While we want to be responsible with hygiene, the most important preparation is your heart.  If you or someone you know has made a decision to repent of your sins, trust Christ as your Savior, and have not been obedient in baptism; please reach out to me this week and we would love to celebrate baptisms as well.  

Children's Ministry
6. We will continue to have children's ministry when we return. If there are ladies available to serve and minister to the children for one of the services, please send me a message. We want to have plenty of responsible and qualified servants for the children. 

Personal Contact
7. Some of you are huggers and you are struggling! Others always preferred keeping a safe distance even before all of this began! Please be sensitive and considerate of each other and consider refraining from hugging and shaking hands for now. I struggle to write this as I naturally want to shake hands and hug. We will probably mark off every other row of chairs to keep some distance between groups and families who will sit together. If we need the extra chairs, that will be a good problem however, we want to be considerate in these early days of returning together.  

8. Serving
I am so grateful for your obedience in giving of your time, talents, and treasures-even above your normal dedication during these uncertain times. We have been able to help some families in need as well as minister to others who are struggling spiritually, relationally, mentally, physically. and financially. There are a number of celebrations that have taken place while we have been physically separated. Please let us know if you are able to help with some of the extra responsibilities in this new season, whether it is extra cleaning, disinfecting, intentional greeting, children's ministry, and other things that will require more hands on deck.  Most importantly, use this season of pause to prepare your heart for worshipping the Lord today, each day, and when we come together again. Pray for personal humility and repentance to prepare the Church of Jesus for true revival.

I love and miss each of you.  Lord willing, I look forward to seeing you on May 10th!

Hebrews 10:23-25-
Pastor Carl