Re-entry Update: Ways to Engage this Fall 2020

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Dear Church,
What’s happening in our church? If you’ve asked that question regarding ministries and meetings and times and timelines at Faith Bible Church, then I’m here to provide as much information as I can to answer your questions. If you’re asking that question about one of Governor Abbott’s decisions, why HEB keeps running out of my favorite chips or why A Quiet Place 2 isn’t out yet, I can’t answer that.

Over the past many months, church leadership has labored over details and questions and changes and decisions. I’m sure you can understand this has been an incredible leadership challenge. But now, as the fall semester of school begins, we have some exciting news about all our ministries. Here’s what we are doing NOW, what we plan to do THEN, and what we will do IF.

This Sunday, August 16
As school begins and vacations end (as disrupted as both have been) we expect a good amount of our church family and city to have a great desire to regather in person on Sundays. Thus we have planned to start TWO in-person services - 9AM and 11AM - from this point forward. BOTH services will be streamed online as well. We also consider this coming Sunday to be “Promotion Sunday” which means all grade school kids officially move up to the grade they will enter this Fall.

Student Ministry will also gather on campus this Sunday, August 16, at 11AM in Northside. Doors will open at 10:30. Streaming capabilities for student worship services in Northside is currently being installed. Coming soon.

Adult Communities and Small Groups
Some of our Sunday Adult Communities will begin meeting in the coming weeks, depending on the group. This Sunday, August 16th, the Parenting Teens Community will begin meeting in the Annex off the gym at 11AM, at the same time as the Student gathering. The Truth Seekers community will also begin meeting this Sunday, August 16, at 11AM. Other communities will resume based on the needs and desires of the group and leader. Stay tuned to our website for details.

Many of our small groups are also already regathering. Schedules and details depend on each group and the group leader.

Kids Ministry
The amazing team led by Pastor Candy Burden has been hard at work for months connecting with kids and parents in creative and meaningful ways. Here are their plans for the coming weeks.

Kids ministry and Nursery will both begin on September 13 but at specific times. Please take note. The Nursery through to Kindergarten age will be open for both worship hours - 9AM and 11AM - on September 13. We will still be asking folks to register and this step will include nursery information. Kids Ministry - 1st through 6th grade - will also begin on September 13 but ONLY AT 11AM. Again, please note that 1st-6th grade kids ministry will be NOT available at the 9AM worship hour, at least for the time being. We hope to open more as volunteers become available. If you are a parent or just want to volunteer in Kids Ministry, please contact one of our Kids staff on our website. Be on the look out for a Kids Ministry parent letter on all the details soon.

Our AWANA Club program will begin on Sunday, September 13 at 5PM. SonKids, the Christian preschool birthed by Faith Bible and meeting on our campus, will hold their first day of school on Wednesday, September 9.

Student Ministry
As above, Students will begin meeting this Sunday at 11AM. Also, all student small groups - both Junior and Senior High groups - will begin meeting on Wednesdays beginning September 2 at 7PM on campus. This is an exciting change in schedule to the past, please take note. Parents, there will also be a parent meeting on Sunday, August 23, after the 9AM service in the Annex. This will provide a chance to get to know the student staff, ask questions and hear about vision for the coming year.

Women’s Ministry
Our women will begin gathering for a special kickoff event on Thursday, September 3 at 7PM in the worship center; a night of laughter and fellowship with Jessica Leffew. Women’s bible study will begin again on September 15. Mom to Mom will begin in January. Apples of Gold mentoring groups will begin again in March.

Care and Counseling Ministry
As you may know, Re:generation recovery groups have already begun meeting on Monday nights at 7PM in the worship center. Re:gen is a critical ministry of our church built for individual recovery from a wide range of difficulties and struggles. If you need a healthy community gathering, please consider popping in on a Monday night whether or not you’ve ever been to Re:gen before. We would love to have you. Re:gen is also streaming online.

Re|engage Marriage ministry is currently meeting virtually and will begin regathering in person on September 16. Other support groups will begin in the coming weeks, and some like Divorce Care are already up and going. See our website for more details.

Individual counseling sessions with our counseling staff continue and the options to meet are wide, depending on the counselor and the clients needs. Please call the church office to schedule an appointment.

Prayer Ministry
We will have our first in-person Second Sunday night of prayer on September 13 at 5PM. This will also be streamed online. Please make plans to join us. We plan on this format ongoing.

Here’s an attempt at a clear, simple organization of the dizzying amount of information above.

Procedures and Guidelines for our Gatherings
As of now, our gatherings will continue to observe physical distancing measures and require masks, following the guidelines established by the State of Texas and the CDC. While both of these measures will change at some point in the future, this is our current plan. As soon as they change, we will let you know. That said, as your pastor, let me offer a word on masks.
I’ve yet to meet anyone who is excited about wearing a mask. I’m not. I doubt you are. I don’t like them at all. And believe me, by now I’ve heard every side of every argument for and against, why we should and why some refuse, the politics and the science.

Personally, when I put on a mask - which currently is required basically everywhere in the city - I do so for the sake of others. My face covering is a decision I make, or a requirement I observe, as a gift to others around me. The small piece of cloth does not primarily protect me from others. It is a gift of protection for others, and a visible sign of my personal sacrifice for them. I choose to do so, and do so happily. It is a small thing. An easy thing. I do not wear a mask because of politics or fear. I do so out of love. It’s a small thing. It’s a temporary thing. This will not be around forever. Right now, I do so gladly.

Let me encourage you with a request. Don’t let a mask keep you from the good things God has for you. Please don’t let a small piece of cloth become a lightning rod for controversy, bickering or confrontation. Church, we’ve got more important things to focus on. Really big, critical matters to attend to. We need to do so with unity, humility and the kind of Christ-like spirit of sacrifice for others that sets the church apart from the world. They will know us by our love.

What Happens If…
The progressive gathering steps laid out above demonstrate our heart for the future. We intend to keep moving forward and leading in faith and wisdom. The virus has already affected several in our church family. At least one is in desperate need right now as I will mention below. Many have recovered well. What will we do as the virus almost inevitably is spread within our family?

Our plan is to first care for the individuals and families affected. We want to respond as a church family does with prayer, support, pastoral care and the meeting of needs. Second, we want to respond with communication to all who need to know. This phase involves layers of permission and great wisdom, but we want to close the loop of information to all who need to know. Finally, we will carry on. We desire to move forward in all ministry meetings and gatherings and will pray that God allows us to continue to grow and meet safely and increasingly. That’s our simple plan for IF.

Critical Prayer Points
I know this is a long note, but I cannot close without calling your attention to some critical prayer points. Over the last many months and particularly over last several weeks, our church family has been hit with some heavy needs. We’ve had several deaths in our church family and the next relational circle beyond, and we have several people in desperate need of God’s gracious intervention. Please pray for:

  • Unity in our church family
  • Protection for our church family as we regather
  • Les Lee Voisin, wife of Bill Voisin - recently tested positive for COVID, hospitalized, on ventilator, and is in desperate need of God’s intervention right now.
  • Baby Camile - a three week old who is fighting for her life. Pray specifically for her lungs and heart, her mom and dad, and her four older siblings.
  • Crystal - a long-time servant in our church family suffering from cancer that doctors have said is terminal. Pray for her healing, her pain, which is intense, her husband, kids and grandkids.
  • Marriages in our church family - especially those struggling through new pressures in the last many months of COVID
  • Those struggling with diverse mental health issues
  • Our students as they jump back into school (in some way)
  • Our pastors and elders as they continue to lead in wisdom and faith
  • Our church leaders - deacons, small group and adult community leaders, ministry leaders and army of volunteers
  • For our church family to be gospel-bearers to our city - in word and deed and love

I love you church. I am so grateful for you and look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow.

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