Welcome Back Church

Dear Church,
Our staff and volunteers have been working diligently to get everything ready for our first in-person gathering this Sunday (2/14). I want to share with you some key details you will want to know to prepare for Sunday whether you’re able to come in person or not.

One key shift we made this last year was a huge emphasis on smaller gatherings. This was a key conviction the Lord gave us in 2020. We need deeper relationships and spaces outside our building where we can grow together as disciples of Jesus and pursue relationships with people who don’t yet know Jesus.  

Even as we begin to meet as a large group again, this will still be our foremost priority. For that reason, we will meet three Sundays a month in our building as a large group and take the fourth Sunday of the month off. Those weeks we’ll encourage groups to meet throughout the week or that Sunday. If you are not in a Discovery Community, we encourage you to join one or, talk to us about starting one. 

Our Discovery Community decided we want to serve together one Sunday a month and have some fun doing it. Maybe yours would consider this too. 

Services for February, March and April will be:

  • February – Meeting on 2/14 and 2/21 (No meeting on 2/28)
  • March – Meeting on 3/7, 3/14, 3/21 (No meeting on 3/28)
  • April – Meeting on 4/4 (Easter Sunday), 4/11, 4/18 (No meeting on 4/25)

Prayer and Fasting

I pray each of you are having some significant moments with the Lord this week and I want to encourage you to keep pressing in. Here’s a link to the note I sent out last week in case you’re looking for some resources or need to be reminded why we asked you to pray and fast.

As you press in for the last few days before we meet, please be asking the Holy Spirit to remind you of some specific things God has been doing in your life these last months. The majority of our service this Sunday will be a celebration of God’s work in our lives.

What to Expect Sunday

Our pastors, staff and many of you have a great sense of expectation for what God will do as we come together. We will take time to reconnect, spend time in prayer, worship Jesus with one voice, share stories of God’s goodness and work in our lives, receive communion, and respond to what he is stirring in each of us.

I want to encourage you to come with an expectant heart. Come with a willingness to be flexible, seek to love one another well, and be patient as we find a new rhythm of being together in a large group. 

What about Kids?

We have decided to rebuild gradually and intentionally. For now, all kids will stay with their parents. This means we will work to shorten our services and experiment with ways to engage kids in the larger discussion. Gabby and I will share more in the next couple weeks. We will have activity bags available for school aged kids.

Alternate Spaces

We estimate seating in the sanctuary to be 60 people in order to be able to maintain distance as necessary. We have changed the seating arrangement a bit as well. 

Fortunately, we have TV’s throughout the building where we will be streaming the service. We will have room hosts and ushers who will help you and your family find a suitable place to engage and be part of the gathering. Please feel free to ask them questions and if you need more space, are having trouble or whatever, they are your go to people!

If I’m not able to meet in person, what is the best way to stay connected?

We will continue to stream services online via YouTube. Each Sunday, we will post a link on Facebook which will take you directly to our YouTube channel. Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel so you will get notifications. 

We will also have a link in our weekly emails, and more information coming next week about a new communication tool we will be implementing where you will be able to find all the information about what’s happening and how to stay engaged!

How will we receive communion? Will we pass offering bags?

In effort to minimize passing and touching as much as possible we will have single serving communion elements. They will be set out on the welcome table along with the colored dots and you will pick them up as you walk into the sanctuary. 

We have installed two offering boxes as well and will not pass offering bags. One box is in the sanctuary near the exit and the other is just outside the doors in the foyer. You can always give online as well. 

What safety precautions or protocols have been put in place?

Great question! As you can imagine, many of you gave good and helpful feedback. We are far enough along in this pandemic that we’ve all been able to make decisions that are best for us and our families. I may not agree with some of the decisions you’ve made. You may not agree with the decisions I’ve made. You know what is amazing about that? As followers of Jesus, we can still love one another, even when we disagree! We are called to love one another, so that’s what we’re going to do. 

As you walk in the foyer, there will be a table set up and hosts to greet you. On the welcome table, you will find colored sticky dots (red, yellow and green), and single serving communion cups. 

•    RED means you are being very cautious and maintaining 6’ of distance
•    YELLOW means you’re up for elbow bumps but still being cautious
•    GREEN means hi-fives, handshakes and hugs but that you’re washing your hands and looking out for others

This is in no way intended to separate but to help us communicate and connect with one another in an honoring way.  

We have teams who will help sanitize high touch areas before and after service. 

The big question – Will everyone be wearing a mask?

Yes and probably no. In Idaho, we are currently in Stage 3 according to the Idaho Rebounds plan. Here’s the tension: The City of Boise has continued to uphold the mask mandate while in public spaces or outside your home. Gatherings have been increased to 50 people and as a church, there are religious exemptions but we still need to do our best to maintain social distance and mask up. As followers of Jesus, we are both citizens of heaven and our local community. This is a beautiful opportunity to practice loving God and our neighbors at the same time. 

Our approach:  We want to honor God, love one another and live out the spirit of the law (or mandate). We would rather relax as we go than have to restrict over time if issues arise and we experience further spread. So, while we’re asking everyone to mask up, we acknowledge some of you cannot for various reasons. We are not going to police you and we’re asking you to avoid policing one another. 

In addition, the Fellowship Hall downstairs will be a mask only space so if you want to be in a smaller space with fewer people, that’s the place to be. 

Wash your hands. Stay home if you feel sick and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. I think we all know the drill at this point. 

Let’s trust one another, love one another and show respect toward one another. Enough said.

That was a lot to get through…if you made it this far kudos to you and thanks for taking the time to prepare your family and support everyone else who comes. On behalf of our pastors and staff, we are ecstatic to be together and look forward to seeing you THIS SUNDAY @ 10:30! 

In Christ,

Matt Hyde
Lead Pastor