Greetings from Firmly Rooted Oxford, MI and Greendale, IN. What a blessing it is to be able to communicate with our brothers and sisters about the Kingdom work that is going on in our little parts of the world!
Last time we gave you an update, it was specifically about the history of our church plant, the ways that we were reaching out to the community, and how God had been starting that work for years before.
Dan Clites was so integrally involved in both the challenges and the successes that we experienced in those years of growth, and we are so thankful to him and the LCMC for their support.
This time our update is focused on how we’ve been trying, like many of you, to navigate our way through the first half of 2020.
If there are a few words that would describe our ministry activity since the beginning of March, they would be: discernment, agility and flexibility.
Our timeline in March was:
- March 8: Regular worship at our worship rental space at the local high school, but we took out passing the offering basket (collection in the back of church), and added hand sanitizer for communion distribution.
- March 15: Live stream Bible study and worship from our home with a few members of our worship team there in person - all done live.
- March 22: Live stream Bible study and worship from our home, but worship team had individually pre-recorded songs from their homes and those were added into the live service.
- March 29: All elements of Bible study and worship service were pre-recorded and edited together during the week and broadcast “live” on Sunday morning.
That’s how we continued until May 31 when we were able to get together again on a limited basis and in a new location.
During this time we had our fair share of challenges, and while those challenges have minimized, they still exist. Our Executive Board and Elders were an excellent support to these transitions as we had to make tough budget decisions, such as:
- We turned our leased office/meeting space back to the landlord at the end of April, and moved all of our operations into our home
- We also reduced our administrative assistant’s hours to just working from home 8 hours a week from 26
- My wife took on more of the administrative workload, simply because she was part of all of the moving pieces in real time, and she’s a full time member of our church staff already
As we shifted focus to live streaming, we worked hard to incorporate as many others as possible from their homes for things like worship songs, readings and prayers, so that worship experience could be effective at home, and also let those that really enjoy being part of worship do so.
These additions were very well received by our church family!
In addition to Sunday mornings, we felt that it was important to have more consistent contact with not only our Firmly Rooted family, but also opportunities for those in our local community as well as across the country, to be fed daily by our ministry. We added a daily live stream devotional entitled “90 seconds with God” at 8:30 A.M. Monday - Saturday, and a segment offered the same days at 9:00 A.M. called “Let’s Just Pray.” Each of these segments is on both Facebook Live and YouTube.
Interestingly, even though society has started to “open up” a bit since COVID-19 restrictions, our participation in these segments has not decreased.
My wife and I also took our men’s and women’s groups that were meeting in person and moved those to online, so that the spiritual feeding of these groups would not be cut off while we couldn’t gather. Both groups have grown from originally 10-20 that met in person to up to 250 in Facebook groups that are now getting daily devotionals and posts. Many of these were not previously affiliated with Firmly Rooted at all, but were searching for something positive and spiritual.
Please know that if you aren’t currently involved in live streaming and ministry in this way, it may seem easier on the face of it, but actually, my wife and I are working harder than ever before.
In order to do it well, we are working on this with our Minister of Outreach to better our software and our technology. It’s a continuous process, and something is tweaked almost daily as we continue to work towards excellence in this area.
What has been the outcome of being discerning, agile and flexible, along with a lot of hard work? Our ministry, and we ourselves, have been blessed beyond measure these past few months! Each Sunday we are involving more folks in Bible study, worship, and our other live event opportunities. Every marker shows an increase. God has used this technology to expand the Kingdom exceeding our hopes and dreams in every way!
We now have more involvement than ever before! We often receive testimonials about families changed as one member live streamed something on the television where the rest of the family could hear it. We have heard of more than a few conversions and folks seeking baptism soon!
Giving has been a miracle! Our giving was actually down below our budgeted needs in January and February. In March, it started increasing, many donations coming from folks that we don’t know and still haven’t met. They found us online. In March, April and May, the giving exceeded our budgeted needs, to as much as our budget +50%!
This is all evidence of a God of abundance, not a God of scarcity. While we weren’t able to gather together, He was working to multiply in each and every area! All glory to Him!
We are so thankful that we are part of a ministry that is discerning, agile and flexible. If we hadn’t been nimble enough to do the things we thought we were being called to do, even though they were labor intensive, we don’t believe that we would be seeing the way He could show off for the Kingdom during a challenging time.
We always conclude our worship services with the phrase, “God is good,” and the congregants, in person or online, reply with, “All the time”. We say, “And all the time,” and they reply, “God is good.” We have never seen that phrase lived out before our eyes more clearly than these last several months! I t is our prayer that each of you is seeing it now, too.
If Firmly Rooted can ever be of service to you, please let us know.
"Getting To Know" is a regular column in BY THE WORD, the quarterly newsletter for LCMC. For more information and to view past editions, click here.Log in to add a comment
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