Hey Church Family!
Many of you have been wondering what the plan for gathering again looks like here at First Baptist Church of Medina. We are excited now to be able to give you the next steps we are taking as a church to move towards gathering in person again.
One thought, and then we’ll get to the plan – Prayerfully it has become more clear to you than ever that the church is not defined by a building. There has been such a big deal made about “reopening church.” While we look forward to gathering again, friends, what has to be understood is that the church was never closed – the building was, but the church was not. There has still been incredible opportunities to study the Word, worship our King, invest in the eternal and be on mission with Jesus. Whether it was with your family, checking out “We are the church” on our website, in your neighborhood, at work, or digitally, we as a staff, pray that you have looked for and taken those opportunities.
Around the nation, the gospel has gone forward in an incredible way and there has been thousands that have repented of their sin and put their faith and trust in Jesus and been added to the church. The church will not be stopped by the gates of hell, Jesus said, and thus everything that has taken place has not/could not stop, shut down or cage the church either. The church, you as a believer in Christ, this vehicle that God has chosen to take the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth, was never closed, the building was.
Sunday Morning Services:
Now, the plan – Many of you have joined us for the 2 Drive-In Services we have been privileged to have in our parking lot on Easter Sunday and Memorial Day Weekend. It has been great to hear from you as to how God used those services. We are excited that beginning Sunday, June 7, we are going to be holding those Drive-In services weekly. There will be one service at 10am in the parking lot. Our parking team will be in place to help you navigate parking. With outside being deemed safe by basically everyone, we also want to invite you to bring a lawn chair for you and your family. We are encouraging social distancing but that doesn’t mean you have to stay in your car. These services will take place rain or shine but of course we encourage you to stay in your car if it is raining. Each service will be live streamed, so if you choose to stay home, you can still be part of services here. Drive-In services will continue on Sundays until we feel we can meet in the building in a more normal, pre-coronavirus type fashion which we anticipate happening this summer, we just can’t put a date on it. So, we want to invite you to join us on Sundays at 10am in our parking lot or online to worship the Lord and be challenged and encouraged through God’s Word. If you come to the Drive-In services, that could include some fellowship too.
Weekly Small Groups in the Building:
During the week we wanted to begin to have smaller groups utilize the building. We intentionally wanted to start with our Support Groups because of their size and their focus. Starting the first week of June, UnCuffed, our women’s addiction support group and Divorce Care, our support group for those dealing with the hurt and difficulty of separation and divorce, will begin to meet in person. We will add other, smaller groups, as it is appropriate. Of course, there will still be opportunities to gather online throughout the week, as there has been throughout the past couple months.
This is the 30,000ft view of the plan. Please understand we are intentionally working through the whole church regathering in the building process slowly as we desire to make the most wise, loving, reasonable and safe decisions we can. The above steps will move us closer to that goal.
Starting this week, our children’s ministry lessons will be combined into ONE family lesson that utilizes the same tools and activity plan. Jamie Workman, our Children’s Ministry Director, will send these out earlier in the week so parents have more time to prepare and engage in the lesson with your kids. We know many of you plan to attend the Drive-In services on Sundays, so we want to make those lessons available to you sooner. You can find the weekly lesson materials at www.firstmedina.org/lifekidsonline and in the weekly emails that Jamie sends out.
At this time, Pastor Bruce will continue holding the Youth Ministry meetings via Zoom on Wednesday and Sunday evenings at 7 pm.
Additional Thoughts and Encouragement:
- We know that opinions on re-gathering are all over the map. Believer in Christ – please, for the sake of the unity of the church and the glory of God, be Christ-like in your approach and response toward others that are of a different opinion. Along with this, believer, please be careful not to damage your witness for Christ in your quest to exercise your rights. Jesus put aside His rights out of love for us and for the glory of God.
- We are thankful for our governing authorities and ought to pray for them. We understand that not all governing authorities fear God and yet regardless of that, we are still commanded in scripture to pray for them.
- Prayer in general is where our energy, effort and agony should be directed. May we be reminded that it is God who is our help (Psalm 121:1-2). Aside from everything involved with Covid-19, all the atrocities that continue to take place in our nation scream that our nation needs a revival. That is only going to happen as God’s people pray.
- We have chosen not to gather since mid March out of respect for our governing authorities and out of a desire to be good citizens and neighbors and be cautious in our care for one another. None of the decisions we have made have been easy or out of fear but instead love for God, love for one another and seeking to make as wise of a decision as we can.
- As a staff we have weekly for the last month and a half, talked about what gathering again looks like. We been in contact with other churches and pastors across Ohio and the US. We have been in contact with Christian Organizations that work along side the governors office. We have followed and talked to the health department. We have read article after article and more in our attempt to make the best decision on all of this for our church. No one has been through this before so there is no manual on what to do. That is being written now. So we thank you for your patience.
- In addition to prayer, we encourage you to be obedient to scripture by having conversations with those around you to point them to Jesus and serving those around you show people the love of Jesus.
Please know we are willing to talk to you about any of this. We just ask that you please let us know your thoughts in the appropriate manner. You can call us, send us a facebook message or contact us at firstmedina.org/contact.
Grace and peace!