Moving Forward Update
Hello, church family! Towards the end of last week, we shared some “Moving Forward Plans” with you. Based on some new information that we have received this week, there are a few adjustments we need to make to that direction.
New guidelines were given from NYS about how many people can be in our building and how we can utilize the building. In order to put those things in place, we will move the start of groups to the week of June 8 (instead of June 1). We’ll be equipping group leaders soon on how our groups will operate and then sharing that with those in the groups. (If you are not yet in a group but would like to join one, click here.)
PARKING LOT SERVICES
With the President’s encouragement last Friday for churches to begin meeting again, we considered whether we could go directly to meeting inside our building instead of starting with parking lot services. However, most states and churches across the country are still processing what that will look like, and NYS is specifically asking churches to start with parking lot services, not in-building services. So we are going to stay on this path for now as well as continue to offer online services. We believe being in Growth Groups for a couple of weeks first is a good way to get back to meeting together, so we are going to also adjust our first parking lot services one week as well to June 21. We’ll share more details as we get closer, but this will likely be two Sunday morning services.
While some parts of the country are possibly getting closer to going back to meeting in their building in some form or fashion, NYS does not seem to be at that point yet. However, we hope that if we do our parking lot services for maybe 2-4 weeks that we will then be able to meet in our building again. We don’t know exactly what that will look like or ultimately even when it will be possible, but this helps us to move more in that direction!
We know that other churches across the country and in our state may have a different approach to this than we do. We believe all of this is a good balance of current information that we are receiving from Federal and State governments as well as hearing from other Kingdom partners in churches both near where we are as well as in other parts of the U.S. Pray for your pastors and ministry leaders as we pray through these things and work together to move us forward!
WHAT ARE WE CURRENTLY DOING?
We’re so thankful that the Lord has made it possible for us to connect together online during this time through our Weekend Worship Service and our Churchwide Virtual Growth Group. These have been great ways for all of us to stay connected, but it’s also been amazing to see the Lord extend our influence and our impact for the Lord to reach more people than ever! We normally have around 500 people for weekend services, but our online service has consistently been viewed by 1,200-1,300 people each week!
As the need for meeting online continues, we encourage you to stay connected by participating in our Weekend Service on Sundays at 10 am and our Virtual Growth Group on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm on Facebook, YouTube, or our new website (sharingnewhope.org).
WHAT ARE WE DOING NEXT?
While the information we are receiving is very dynamic and often seems to change daily, here are some of the things we are currently considering as a path forward beyond our online focus.
Until a few weeks ago, we were focusing our Growth Groups exclusively on our Churchwide Virtual Growth Group. Recently, more and more of our groups have begun meeting on Zoom or other online platforms. This week, we’ve gotten some indications that smaller groups of 10 or so people are able to meet again soon. We are currently putting plans in place to make these small group gatherings possible. We are thinking that our focus would be on all groups no longer meeting online but meeting at the building where we can have a controlled environment that we know is clean and safe and has plenty of room for us to give more space than usual between people. We hope for this to potentially begin the week of June 1. At least to start with, we would also continue our Wednesday Virtual Growth Group as well. If things continue to move in this direction, early next week we’ll be sharing more specifics about how all of this could work.This content will show up directly in its container.
WHAT WILL IT LOOK LIKE TO BEGIN GATHERING AGAIN?
As we begin to move towards Growth Groups meeting again, we’ve also gotten some indications this week that it might be possible for us to host drive-in parking lot services soon. While our worship service’s sound equipment is not portable, the Lord has provided some other equipment for us to borrow and be able to have these drive-in services! So, our thought is that after a couple of weeks of groups beginning to meet again, starting the weekend of June 13-14 we are planning to have a few weeks of parking lot services. We would still continue our online options, but for those who wanted to come and worship from their cars, this could be a great step forward! We hope to be sharing more details about this in the near future, but be praying with your pastors for the details of this to come together.
Currently, while we do have some ideas for how this would work, we are not exactly sure what this will look like or when it will be possible, but our hope is that after having maybe 2-4 weeks of parking lot services, it might be possible to go back to meeting in our building sometime in July. It could be sooner; it could be later. We don’t know for sure. But as soon as we have a start date and details of what that will look like, we’ll communicate that with you
NOTE: President Trump made a statement today that could allow us to be back in our building sooner. We will keep our eyes on the situation and let you know if there are any changes.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
A FEW FINAL THOUGHTS
Let’s stay close to the Lord and close to one another as we continue forward. The enemy would love nothing better than to cause damage to our unity and hurt God’s work in our lives and in our area!
Thank you for your faithfulness - especially in your prayers, giving, & encouragement. While many have been quarantined and have had to stay at home and gear back, your pastors and other leaders have been working harder than ever to keep us driving forward and have been seeking not just to “hold tight” but to lead us forward. And if anything that has taken more work and resources, not less. Your faithful giving as well as your prayers and encouragement and partnership fuels that work! Thank you!
Let’s don’t forget what we have learned. As we are hopefully beginning to move out of this challenging time, let’s take the lessons that God has taught us and be even stronger than ever as we move forward with Him together!
God bless you, precious church family,