The Next 30 Days

November 11, 2020

[transcript]

First Family,

In light of our governor’s updated proclamation on November 10, 2020, I want to share with you, on behalf of the elders, five 30-day adjustments we’re making in our gatherings and ministries. We so appreciate our governor’s firm and generous stance that allows churches, due to religious liberty, an exemption from her measures (section 5.E). I believe she’s been a consistent friend to faith families across our state.

In an effort to 1) willingly posture ourselves in a cooperative manner and work with our state authorities, yet 2) freely utilize our exemption to maintain ministry values, we’re making you aware of these adjustments and asking you to humbly and sacrificially help us display a partnering spirit with our civic leaders while also showing a strong and prioritized commitment to God’s Word and this local body.

1.     Our mask-only venue (2nd floor of the Student Center in the Youth Room), which has been available at the 8am service only, will now be an option at all three services (8, 9:30, and 11). This is one of the benefits our facility affords us—we can house multiple options at the same time while still maintaining safety measures for many that are immunocompromised, etc. Please use the marked southeast entrance and exit for this venue, and rest assured it is ready to accommodate many people in a socially distanced manner.

2.     We will be rearranging the chairs in the worship center again in a pod style. We are aware of the need for larger pods at times, so our goal is to have a greater variety of seating available. Incidentally, our first two services are typically the most full, so if you’re looking for a smaller crowd, consider attending the 11am service.

3.     Though masks are not required at FFC (except in the mask-only venue), we encourage everyone in attendance to wear a mask when you can, and to try and socially distance as best you can. We realize there are various opinions and differing situations, as well as times when neither is feasible, so let us graciously defer to each other as much as possible, bearing with one another in love. Unity in our gospel-bound relationships is far more important than conformity in our culturally grounded opinions.

4.     Small groups are asked to consider one of the following options: a) Multiply for the next 30 days so that no group is larger than 8 people, b) Meet in a larger setting so that you can socially distance if you are larger than 8, c) Encourage all to wear masks in all in-person gatherings, or d) Utilize a Zoom format (or a combination of both Zoom and in-person).

5.     Children and youth ministries will continue their ministry to families, but 1) kids ministry will increase the space between groups of children in our larger Sunday/Wednesday gatherings and adjust games and crafts in AWANA, and 2) youth ministry will increase social distancing in their seating, reduce icebreakers, and eliminate concessions. Keep in mind that registration is still required weekly for our kids ministry, and we ask that everyone adhere to our normal sick policy already in place. Families of both can expect a letter soon from these specific ministry leaders with further programming details.

Essentially, we are humbly calling on FFC to continue to be careful and faithful. Yes, church, by God’s grace we can do both. In fact, it’s my opinion our body has gracefully and distinctly navigated 2020 in a manner that has been relationally charitable, corporately humble, and spiritually robust. Even in our mistakes, we’ve watched the Holy Spirit empower us to avoid the detour of disunity and reject the lure of convenience, keeping us together for the sake of the mission of God. And that’s precisely and primarily why the church is here—for his mission, not our comfort or safety.

Furthermore, let’s remain steadfast in prayer, our first and best action, for those affected by this virus. There are a variety of hurdles people are having to cross in this pandemic; medically, economically, or emotionally, your brothers and sisters need your prayers. Let’s continue to intercede for one another in love.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our leadership. It is an honor to serve and lead you, and we value your followership. I’ve often said that following is many times harder than leading; and in this case, perhaps that is true. Thank you for being sheep willing to follow your shepherds as we all follow our Chief Shepherd, Jesus.

For his fame,

Todd

P.S. If you are homebound due to COVID and are connected/committed to FFC in a digital fashion, would you let us know? We desire to know as much as possible about that aspect of our faith family in this time when that may be the only option for some. Would you mind sending a note of some type to Parker McGoldrick at [email protected], indicating you are part of the FFC digital world? Or call our office at 515-965-8300 and let us know. Parker is our Church Planting Resident who is overseeing our digital connections during his time here, and this would be a big help to him as he continues to identify that specific segment of our congregation.