Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20
One of the few benefits of the COVID-19 crisis was giving us an opportunity to evaluate various ministries and try to make adjustments that would support the church’s mission of making disciples. As such, on August 2nd we are going to make an adjustment to our Sunday morning schedule in order to encourage more people to connect with a Bible study group. We will change the time of our early worship service from 9:00AM to 8:30AM and then have a dedicated Bible study hour between 9:30AM and 10:30AM. Our second service will change from 10:30 AM to 10:45AM. The feedback we have received in regards to this change has been overwhelmingly positive!
Some of the rationale for this change is that it will allow me to provide a little more leadership and support for our Bible study groups as it will allow me to get to know those who are involved in our Bible studies. This change will also allow our worship service volunteers (like praise team) to participate in a Bible study group. Right now, we have services at the same time that our Bible studies are going on. Personally, I have always been in, or taught, a Sunday morning Bible study and I have missed being able to study the Word in a small group on Sunday mornings. This change will also allow families to attend Bible study and then worship together without worrying about their Bible study group meeting at a different time than the rest of their family.
We are excited about having most of our adult Bible study groups back on campus starting August 2nd. We are taking lots of precautions with hand sanitizers, moving everything out of the rooms except for the chairs and setting up the chairs to allow for maximum social distancing. We had a few groups using the same room on Sunday morning so we had to relocate a few of our groups and the groups that are relocating have been very gracious in being willing to move. Some Bible study participants prefer that everybody in their group wear a mask and I hope other group members will be willing to wear a face mask for the sake of the person who would like to attend.
One of our biggest COVID challenges has been in regards to keeping our children safe and abiding by some of the guidelines for social distancing of children. Our plan is to offer nursery and childcare for children 2 and under starting on August 2nd at 9:30AM and 10:45AM. We will focus on that age on Aug. 2nd and 9th and our tentative plan is to have classes for all ages (birth through 5th grade) at 9:30AM starting on August 16th. We also plan on having something for birth through Pre-K at the 10:45AM service. (A big need right now is for somebody to teach/lead our 4’s and 5’s at 10:45.) Once we start our children classes it is imperative that parents monitor their children and not bring them if they are sick or have a fever or cough. We will be asking our children workers to wear mask.
Various churches are at different stages of returning to church and most are just focusing on Sunday morning worship services (and I understand that). We feel like we can safely provide a safe and sanitized environment for people to study the Bible. We also expect that somebody will attend a Bible study or worship service and later test positive for COVID. If that happens, we will do all that we can to notify those who might have been exposed. It is possible that some groups may be asked to discontinue meeting together for 14 days if that happens. So, we are also considering these kinds of scenarios and continue to ask for your prayers, patience and grace as there are so many things to consider as we try to bring ministries back to campus. We will be communicating even more in the coming week but please reach out to us if you have questions or needs that we can assist you with.