NEWS & UPDATES
Updated on May 22, 2020 | 5P
“Becoming a Community of Authentic Christ-Followers Compelled to Change our World”
We are not holding live services on campus this weekend. We have a 5 stage plan for our return, for more info please continue reading below. With the news yesterday, our elder board and leadership team will spend some time in prayer and discussion, and we will post any changes to that plan to our website. Thanks again for your grace!
One of the many things I love about our church is that today our mission statement is being lived out in greater ways than ever before. Although we are not meeting together on our campuses, God is at work through Friends Church in this new season.
Yes, we love coming together as family to worship in community every week (and honestly, I miss that a lot) but that act does not define who we are. We have seen first-hand that the Church is not a building, a location, or a weekly gathering. The Church is and has always been the followers of Jesus, growing in faith and compelled to change the world. We are the Church, which means our church is never closed!
None of us can deny that this difficult time has messed with our comfort and our rhythms of life! Yet as we look to the history of the Church, and especially to the model given to us from the early Church, we can find confidence and “lean in” to God moving His Kingdom forward for His glory.
I am so proud of who we are becoming in this new season, and how Friends Church continues to go after our mission. God hasn’t changed, our mission is still the same, and we have successfully pivoted into new ways of gathering together in Jesus’ name. As this season of life continues, I want to share with you some exciting things that are ahead.
This summer, we’re going to further lean into our call to be the Church together with our families, with our neighbors and friends. We’ll gather throughout our cities and neighborhoods to bring the love and good news of Jesus to all those with whom we interact. The leadership of Friends Church has worked hard to develop a 5-stage plan that incrementally brings us together as a large church family. As you will see below, this plan will take some time and patience.
STAGE 1: We encourage you to begin Watch Parties in your homes. Gather with your Life Groups and/or your neighbors to watch the weekend service and share a meal together. This stage is scheduled to begin the weekend of May 30/31, when we also begin our new sermon series called “THRIVE.” Our team is working on this plan right now and will have more details to you soon. We expect that this stage will extend through the month of June and into July.
STAGE 2: If all goes as planned, we will encourage a number of Life Groups to come together for the weekend’s services in larger settings that will allow for social distancing such as large homes, yards, or in parks.
STAGE 3 will overlap with the last part of stage 2, as we test new protocols on our campuses and introduce our leaders and volunteers to revised systems and a “new normal.” This step will contribute to building confidence in our return to the church campus.
STAGE 4 will hopefully begin during the month of July, when we may use a reservation system to ensure that only a certain number of people will gather on our campuses at any one time. This is the stage where we will evaluate weekend service times and the number of worship services offered at each campus in order to maintain appropriate social distances. We will also allow for limited numbers of kids and students to return to their on-site weekend programs.
STAGE 5 will be our return to making every seat available! Although we have no idea when that day will come, we continue to pray that the number of cases of COVID-19 will reduce to near zero, without a second wave of infections. However, we will be prepared to respond at any time to the circumstances at hand.
Acts chapter 2 says,
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)
Friends Church, we’re going to continue to be the Church and live out our mission. In this next season we are going to be the Church in our neighborhoods, communities, and homes. We are going to be His Church, spread throughout our cities, worshiping every weekend with our neighbors, friends, and families, connecting together every step of the way.
Thanks for living out this mission with us, and thanks for believing that the best days for Friends Church are yet to come!
God bless you!
– Matthew Cork, Senior Pastor