In Person Worship
Preparing for In-Person Worship
Limited nursery is available during in-person services for children 2 years of age and younger. In order to sign up for nursery, you will register your child(ren) as you sign up for in-person worship. When you arrive, you will drop off your child(ren) at the front entrance to the Love to the Max Center (LTTMC) and then walk over to the sanctuary for worship. After service, you will wait outside the LTTMC for pick up and your child(ren) will be brought out to you. For any questions please contact Pastor Nick.
Our process for preparing for in person worship is two easy steps:
· Reserve your seats through our sign up link: www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4ea9ac29a3f85-inperson
· Know the Safety Precautions- Masks are recommended but not required. Hand sanitation stations are placed throughout the worship area. There is still a High Risk seating section available- just indicate that you would like to sit there in your online reservation above. If you sit in the High Risk section, you will have to wear a mask. The worship space is sanitized between services. Thanks for helping keep each other safe!
Announcement About Worship
By now, all of our Mission Partners that live here in Texas have undoubtedly heard the news that, by Executive Order from our Governor, many of the restrictions that were put in place to address the Covid-19 Pandemic are being lifted beginning Wednesday, March 10, 2021. I am sure that has left some of you wondering what that means practically for our on-campus ministries and activities. So, I thought I would share with you what we know right now.
For starters, let’s be honest and acknowledge that March 10 will be the beginning of a recovery process for our community wherein businesses and organizations such as ours can operate more fully than before, and all of us can begin to move toward a more normal “routine of life” that has been disrupted for almost a year now. But it will be a process. It will take time. And we will remain committed to the health and safety of all who come to this campus.
That being said, here is our plan for beginning this process:
For weekly worship (Beginning Sunday, March 14)
- Masks will not be required. You, of course, always have the option of wearing a Mask if you choose. And we even recommend and encourage it if you or someone in your household is considered a “High Risk” candidate, especially if you/they are not yet vaccinated.
- We will not require you to sign in or have your temperature checked upon arrival on campus. We will still ask you to register online if you are planning on attending, but that is simply to assist us in forecasting how many volunteers we will need for child care, Faith Kids, etc. We will also still have personal sanitation stations at each entrance and HIGHLY encourage you to use them each time you enter or exit the doors.
- You will no longer be escorted to your seats or required to sit distanced from others. However, we will still provide a more distanced section for those who are “High Risk” or would just feel more comfortable remaining socially distanced while they worship.
- We will still use the individual Communion Packs for the time being. We have them, they do provide a more sanitary option for all of us, so we might as well use them until they are gone or we are ready to return to public distribution.
- We will still have only 1 in person worship through March 28 (Palm Sunday). This is really to enable us to schedule enough volunteers to serve in 2 weekly services again. We will return permanently to 2 weekly services [9 am (Classic) & 11 am (Contemporary)] beginning Easter Sunday (April 4).
For our School
While the Day School is a ministry of our Church, it is subject to State regulations that specifically govern child care centers such as ours. The Governor’s Executive Order did not supersede the State guidelines we have been operating under since reopening in the fall. Therefore, while we anticipate new guidance being issued soon as a result of the Governor’s order, until then we are committed to strictly following the safety guidelines we have effectively had in place since reopening. We will inform the Public when we are able to lift or modify these guidelines.
We are excited to be entering this season of new beginnings and recovery here at Faith. However, for the sake of our community and neighbors, let’s do this carefully, intentionally, and safely so that we remain part of the solution and a place where all feel welcomed and loved.
RESTARTING IS NOT THE SAME AS REOPENING
“Are we there yet? ... How much longer? ... Are we there yet?”
These were often my words as a kid on long road trips with my family. What these words do not fully convey is the extreme frustration and restlessness I felt in those situations where I was in a confined space on a journey that seemed to go on FOREVER!!!
If I am honest, I feel a very similar frustration and restlessness today as we reach nearly 5 months of protocols that have prevented us from having in person worship or any other kind of large gathering on our campus. I never imagined in mid-March when this whole social distancing shutdown began that, not only would we still be in this position 5 months later, but also that we are really no closer to actually knowing when we can restart. And that makes me feel frustrated, restless, and a myriad of other emotions. So I am wondering… Is it just me?
Well, on the off chance that you are struggling with emotions of your own concerning all this, let me offer assistance by trying to clarify a few things:
- Our campus is not still closed to large in person gatherings because we have to be…but because we choose to be.
The truth is that our state and local Government has allowed religious organizations such as ours to have worship and other gatherings for some time, provided that we adhere to Government mandated safety protocols (which are both extensive and prohibit our ability to conduct gatherings in the way you are accustomed to attending church). At the same time, our Government leaders have also asked churches such as ours to remain closed to in person activities if possible until the transmission rates have improved.
So your elected Council leaders, along with the Pastoral Staff, decided to honor this request by continuing online worship only while monitoring the transmission/infection rates for our local community. In short, we were choosing to be part of a requested solution by joining our neighbors and supporting civic leaders. And we still believe that has been the right choice…the faithful choice…the most compassionate choice.
- We continue to monitor diligently and are prepared to act decisively.
From the beginning of this crisis we have been constantly monitoring the data being provided by various health organizations. However, most recently we have been very focused on transmission rates and numbers of positive tests here in Denton County. As a result of rapidly rising numbers over the past few months, we have postponed previously announced Restart dates twice already. And they were the right decisions both times.
The good news is that as I am writing this, these numbers have shown improvement for the first time in several weeks. However, we will need to see a continuing improvement trend over several more weeks before it would be feasible for us to consider in person gatherings on campus.
Now I know this leaves some of you asking “How much longer?” (Remember…I share your sentiments!) The real answer is “We are not sure yet”. We determined at the time of our last postponement that it would be no earlier than September 13th. But that is contingent on the improvement I mentioned a moment ago continuing to an acceptable and sustained level. In fact, we remain resolved to do what is right…not what is reasonable…and will not begin large in person gatherings until the data supports us doing so safely.
However, I also want you to know that the Staff and I have been working diligently to make the necessary preparations to Restart safely when the time is at hand. In other words, we are ready now to act decisively just as soon as the conditions are right for us to do so. And trust me, nobody wants you back here in person more than the Staff and I do. We miss you!
- Restarting is not the same as Reopening.
We are not “Reopening” our church at some future date because our church has NEVER been closed! Sure, we have been closed to large in person gatherings…but I can assure you we have been active and effective as THE church all along. In fact, I hope you have joined us online for worship and have seen that glorifying God, hearing God’s word, praying together, and receiving God’s grace through communion has nothing to do with being in a particular building, but being gathered with others (even if it is through technology) and being in the presence of God that makes us the Church together.
Now don’t get me wrong, I already told you I cannot wait to get back to in person….everything! I certainly believe that relationships are best developed and shared face to face and heart to heart. But one thing God has opened my eyes to through this unusual season is that I should not sleep on or marginalize the importance of being able to connect with, equip, encourage, and empower others regardless of the platform used to connect with them. In fact, I have a new appreciation and gratitude for the investment we made here years ago that have allowed us to connect with thousands of people worldwide during this pandemic and bring to them a word of hope and good news in the name of Jesus Christ.
So we are all waiting to Restart in person gathering…not Reopen a church that has never been closed. BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP…AND WE NEED IT NOW!
As I mentioned, your Staff has worked tirelessly to provide ministry virtually and your Council leaders have been diligent in stewarding the resources of our church to fund our efforts. But the reality is that our ministry is experiencing a sharp decline in resources available just like many other organizations. For the last 5 months we have not been able to operate our school or child services for our community which usually generates significant revenue. We have for the last 5 months and the foreseeable future lost income we have historically received from the YMCA and other organizations who rent the use of our gym. We currently have no ability to have annual fundraisers such as our Fall Festival which have been a major way component in resourcing our school.
The bottom line is this. Right now our Church is still financially stable due to the management efforts of Staff and Council. But because our revenue sources have been compromised, we are now in a position where we are forced to deficit spend just to operate. We cannot sustain this position very long. Period.
So I am asking you to make sure that you are doing all you can all the time to support this ministry financially. Yes, I realize this is an uncertain time for all of us. No, I am not asking you to give what you do not have. I am asking you to do all you can…as consistently as you can. Because our world, nation, and community need us to be the church now more than ever. God has entrusted this church to us in this season and expects us to use the resources we have as fully and faithfully as possible. But perhaps my most important point is this. If we don’t pull together to keep this ministry strong, viable, and effective…who will?
Friends, my prayer each day is that we will soon be able to Restart in person gathering soon. But that depends on our ability to remain open long enough to be able to restart ALL our ministries (School, Worship, Community Groups, Fundraisers and Festivals, etc.). AND OUR ABILITY TO REMAIN OPEN DEPENDS ON YOU AND ME!!!
Please join me and your other leaders in equipping our church for success in the days, weeks, months, and years to come!
As we continue to persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put together a summary of our reopening plan, simplifed from our original plan so it is easier to read. We are following guidelines from government and health officials, our executive leadership team, and our church council.
Please note, as outlined in the plan, we will move in stages so as to effectively and safely care for our Faith family. As of Monday, August 31, 2020 we are in Stage 3 of our plan.
Please read the reuniting plan summary at the link here. This is current as of May 21, 2020.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.