Hi Shoreline family and friends,
The pandemic has made it difficult to communicate with the entire church at times, especially those unable to physically come to our worship services, so I want to do my best to regularly and directly communicate with you however I can.
We have had a wonderful time of worshiping outdoors the past two Sundays. This past Sunday our physical attendance was greater than it has been in the past five weeks. We are thankful for the Lord’s blessing and I want to encourage you to invite family and friends, especially those who need to hear the gospel, to join us physically or online.
Four weeks ago, we chose to continue singing praises to the Lord despite government guidelines to refrain from singing in public worship services—you can access the explanation here. Two weeks ago, in response to government guidelines, we chose to move our worship service outdoors. Why did we disobey one but follow the other? The reason is the Bible does tell us how to worship—singing, preaching, praying—but it does not tell us where to worship. Much of our Lord’s ministry and the ministry of the early church took place outdoors. The Bible tells us to gather to worship, but it does not tell us we must worship indoors. We must not confuse the building with the church. There are times when we must obey God rather than men, but it needs to be a clear matter of biblical obedience. With that said, there may be churches that have no viable outdoor option, and I don’t want to compare their situation to ours.
We have sought to be faithful to the Lord and follow pandemic mitigation efforts wherever we could. As far as I am aware, there have been a very small number of Covid outbreaks at churches not practicing mitigation efforts, but there have not been major outbreaks among churches practicing mitigation efforts. We should be thankful to the Lord for that. Churches have done an amazing job of keeping their congregations safe. With that said, there is disagreement among Christians in terms of what mitigation efforts to take, and each Christian must seek to honor the Lord in their conscience and actions. As has been said, “In essentials we are to have unity, in non-essentials we are to have liberty, and in all things we are to have love.” May this be a time where we show the world true Christian humility, love, and unity.
Our greatest goal as individual Christians and as a church is to honor the Lord in all we do. I ask you to please share with me any concerns or needs you have so that our church can do our best to encourage and minister to you while we seek together to honor the Lord at this time. May the Lord bless you and cause His face to shine upon you (Psalm 67). I love you and you are in my prayers continually.
Hi Shoreline family and friends,
I love you and am praying for you. I assume by now you are all aware of the new order prohibiting indoor gatherings that includes church services. We have made the decision to move our worship service outdoors. Please note our worship service time is moving to 9:30 a.m. instead of 10:30 a.m. in order to beat some of the heat. We will be meeting on the back of our church property in order to minimize the sound from Ellis Avenue traffic as well as the distraction. We will continue to livestream our service for those who are unable to attend due to risk factors (at 9:30 a.m.). We also will continue to follow the mitigation efforts we have been following (social distancing, cloth coverings, hand sanitizer, etc.).
I know all the changes brought on by this pandemic are difficult for all of us. We do not know how long these changes will be in place, but we are seeking to prioritize in every way we can the importance of gathering to worship our amazing God during this pandemic. If you would like to help with set up Sunday morning, please meet at the church at 8:00 a.m. All of this will take some work, but the worship of God is worth every effort we make and more. God will be glorified as our community and those we know see the lengths we are willing to go to in order to worship the Lord. Please pray that God will be glorified and for Him to give us His love and grace in the weeks ahead.
We want to make this as good of an experience as possible. We will have chairs available, but feel free to bring your own lawn chairs if you desire. We cannot provide communal drinks and food due to safety issues, but we encourage people to bring water or drinks for your family. We have some natural shade from the building and trees and some E-Z Ups for shade, but feel free to bring your own shade (we just ask that you not block anyone’s view). I look forward to worshiping the Lord with you this Sunday.
Hi Shoreline family and friends,
I love you and am praying for you. This pandemic has been difficult on everyone and I am praying God will use it to grow our faith and love for Him, as well as our love for one another. The Lord has greatly and continually humbled me over the last few months and I am truly grateful. I want to thank you for all your prayers and for being so gracious as we have tried to navigate difficult waters.
I sent out a letter to our church on May 20th (I will quote from it and you can find it here) where I explained why we temporarily stopped physically gathering and moved our services online. I argued “public safety falls under the sphere of governmental authority” and since the stay at home order was generally applied and not content specific we should comply. I also gave several criteria for when I believed biblically civil disobedience would be right and necessary. First, if the government told us to not worship God (or preach the gospel or deny Christ in some way) we would not comply because worship is “clearly outside the sphere of governmental authority. We would disobey man in order to obey God” (Acts 4:19). Second, if the government allowed other “congregating crowds,” but continued to ban religious congregating then the order would move from an issue of public safety to an issue of religious discrimination. Such a situation would be a “dividing line” and we would immediately meet in person to worship. Third, if at some point the government’s orders “become completely unreasonable, then we will begin to meet.” While I believe there are other criteria as well, I still believe in the biblical and theological reasoning and veracity of these criteria. Thankfully, soon after sending the letter the governor lifted the stay at home order for churches and we began to meet in person while streaming the service online for those who are high risk.
Last week the governor put out new guidance for churches, which includes a prohibition of singing or chanting in public worship services. The order is neither generally applied nor is it content neutral. I shared with our church Sunday that as for now we are going to continue to sing praises to the Lord for two reasons. First, as stated before, God simply has not given government the authority to dictate the content of a worship service no matter how well intentioned the motivation. We must acknowledge God’s absolute sovereignty when it comes to how we worship. Second, in the Bible from the time of Moses (Exodus 15) all the way to the early church (Eph 5:19), God’s people have gathered to sing praise to the Lord (Psalm 150). Paul told the church in Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
I understand there may be those who disagree with this decision. People of good faith and conscience can disagree. The apostle Paul said God has received us, therefore, we are to receive one another and not despise one another due to issues of conscience (Rom 14:1-6). Let’s rejoice that God has received all of us in Christ, and “with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 15:6). If you cannot sing and worship in faith and with a clear conscious before the Lord due to health concerns or to the governor’s order, then I encourage you to join us online so that you can sing unto the Lord with a pure heart.
I want to encourage us to pray. We must pray we never develop a spirit of rebellion, and for the Lord to give us grace to have a humble and submissive spirit that honors God. We must fervently love and pray for our leaders. Our government officials are having to make many difficult decisions in very difficult circumstances. There simply are no painless or perfect solutions where everyone will agree. We are all having to think through things we have never faced and as fallible humans will inevitably make some mistakes along the way. We should pray for our leaders to make good decisions (1 Tim 2:1-3) and give them grace when they make mistakes. We must continue to honor those in authority (1 Peter 2:17) in every way we can while being faithful to God. As always, I am happy to discuss any of this with you. The Lord has taught me so much through you, and I desire to grow in wisdom as I learn from each of you. May God bless you richly.
The question we are all asking is when we will resume in person worship services? The answer to that question is, “Soon, Lord willing.” We have decided on a “Returning to Church Plan,” and you can find it here. The Governor has announced health guidelines being released for in person worship services; so our plans may be modified, but these are our plans for now. We also are considering meeting outside in our courtyard initially.
Another question we have asked is why have we not met in person for so long, and why are we not meeting immediately? I want to address those questions directly. As believers and as a church we have many biblical commands and sometimes it is difficult to know how they apply in any given situation (especially the complexity of a pandemic). I want to share my thinking and heart with you. I also want to say it is okay if you disagree with my reasoning (I have changed my view over the last few weeks as well). These are complex issues of balance and proportionality and there is certainly room for us to disagree in good conscience with one another and still exercise love. I think it is important to exercise humility and grace as we all seek “to live to the Lord” (Rom 14:8) in this pandemic. There are a host of important constitutional and political questions related to the Governor’s orders. These are very important questions for us as Americans, but I do not believe the church should make its decisions based upon politics or anything outside of Scripture. I have personally disagreed with many aspects of the government’s response, but I do not want to base what we do upon personal opinions of governmental actions.
I want to give two biblical reasons we have temporarily not met in person. First, Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love God supremely and love others as yourself, and upon these two laws hang all other laws. In light of the initial uncertainty and danger of Covid-19, we chose to exercise caution and temporarily move our services online. This decision would be wrong if motivated by fear, but I believe it was right because it was motivated by a love for others. As believers we do not fear death, but we also do not want to cause death either.
Second, the Bible says God has appointed the institution of government for the good of society, and by submitting to government we are submitting to God. This God-given authority, however, is limited because the Bible says we are to obey God rather than men. Jesus put it this way, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22:21). The government asked everyone to avoid all crowds and gatherings for health and life reasons and public safety falls under the sphere of governmental authority. If the government told us to not preach the gospel, or to not worship God, or to deny Christ in some way, we would not comply because those issues are clearly outside the sphere of governmental authority. We would disobey man in order to obey God. If the government’s order was a matter of persecution of Christians or gospel proclamation, we would not comply because to comply would be to deny the supremacy of Christ. But I do not believe at this point the governor’s order is a matter of religious persecution. He has banned all congregating crowds, not just religious ones. He has even closed schools which are central to his personal ideological perspective and agenda. With that said, if at some point the government’s objective moves out of the realm of public safety and into the realm of persecution (the government were to open schools but not churches), we will immediately meet in person to worship- that is the dividing line. If the government’s orders become completely unreasonable, then we will begin to meet. I think we may be approaching both of these criteria in which civil disobedience would be necessary, but I do not think we are yet at that point; so I think patience (while government and judicial processes continue to work out the legal issues) is the most biblical and prudent course of action at this specific point in time. If civil disobedience becomes necessary and it may, we would do so not with a spirit of rebellion but with a humble and submissive spirit that honors God while lovingly praying for those in authority over us. With all that said, I anticipate we will be worship together in person soon. As always, I am happy to discuss any of this with anyone and everyone, and desire to grow in wisdom as I learn from each one of you. I look forward to seeing you soon. May God bless you richly.
Dear Shoreline Family,
We want to share with our church family our Coronavirus Response Plans. Of course, this is a fluid situation and can change at any point, but we want you to know our current response. We are certainly not panicked, but we want to do what we can to exercise caution. We plan to continue to have Life Group and Worship Service on Sunday, but in light of the virus we are taking the following precautions:
As believers, we are not to live by fear, but rather to live by faith. If you start to worry, I encourage you to pick up your Bible and spend time with the Lord in His Word and prayer. Let’s pray for one another, our neighbors, and most of all for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with others. I love all of you and if you have any needs let us know.
One of the most important aspects to church ministry is communication. It is hard to be involved in what you don't know about. We want to make sure everyone knows about all the various ministries of our church so people can be as involved as they want to be. We have multiple avenues for communication: our bulletin, our website (including church calendar), announcements, church newsletters, ministry specific newsletters, and Facebook. Now we have one more exciting way for you to know what is going on at Shoreline: a new church app for your mobile phone. Our new app is called "Church Center." Here is a list of how it will help us communicate all is going on to you and to each other.
Don't have church center?
You can access the "app" on your browser here.
Or download the app on your smart phone (Apple App Store or Google Play Store)
There is an "Events" tab on the app that allows you to see all the church events scheduled for the next three to six months. If you want to just look at all the events for a specific ministry, you can search by category (all categories, Agebusters, Children, General, Men, Women, Young Adults, Youth). Each event has a description of the event, day, time, cost if any, and allows you to register for the event if registration is required. This will allow everyone to know what is going in our church.
There is a "Groups" tab on the app that allows you to see all the ministry groups you are a part of. Each group contains a list of all the people who are a part of the ministry group with their email and phone numbers. The groups section also includes our Church Directory (if you have signed up to be in it) with everyone's name, picture (if taken), email, and phone number. The groups section also allows you to request to join new ministry groups. For instance, you could sign up to join a new Life Group.
There is a "Give" tab on the app that allows you to use your phone to give online.
To access the sermons simply log in to Church Center (our church app) and click "Sermons". Depending on your phone (or browser) the link will be on the top/bottom tab of your screen. Sermons are available for August forward. We are in progress of adding all the sermons from when we started to stream so stay tuned for those!
There is a "Give" tab on the app that allows you to use your phone to give online.
To access the directory simply log in to Church Center (our church app) and click "Directory". Depending on your phone (or browser) the link will be on the top/bottom tab of your screen. Click here for details on how to access/add yourself to the directory if you do not see everything you need.
There is a Profile icon that allows you to edit your personal information (address, phone number, etc.), check your giving, and view all of your event registrations (past and present).
Need steps to help you get setup?
As we approach the end of another year and we begin to reflect on what has happened over the year, I wanted to provide a brief update on what has changed on our church campus. The Building a Legacy campaign is going strong and Pastor Matt will be sharing an update on that very soon, but that is not the only beautification happening. Within our regular budget we have been able to paint all of the classrooms in the education building upstairs and all of the preschool classrooms currently in use, thanks to our church family volunteering, led by Kato Mearig and Young Park. Pastor Dan’s office has had a complete makeover, with new flooring, lighting, and paint. There are new curtains in all of the preschool rooms that match our color scheme. We have also begun the task of improving the exterior lighting on the campus. During this next year we are going to continue to improve the lighting, continue with the interior painting, and reseal and stripe the parking lot. We are so blessed to have this campus to use for tle Lord in reaching out to minister, and I am thankful for the heart of our congregation in wanting to make it as beautiful and useful as possible. Thank you!
We have had several recent changes in our church leadership team. Recently Heidi Schultz stepped down from leading our Preschool Ministry in order to focus on her new job as a Christian School teacher and to help Brad in our youth ministry. We are thankful for all of Heidi’s hard work in leading our Preschool Ministry, and are praying for her in the new ministry assignments the Lord has given her. As you know, Kandyce Register has been leading our Children’s Ministry and has been doing a great job. Now she will be leading both our Preschool and Children’s Ministries. Our Sunday Preschool and Children’s Ministry has grown by over 50% in the last year. God is bringing new little ones to our church and we have the privilege of sharing with them the love of Christ. Pray for Kandyce as she leads these two very important ministries and if you sense God wanting you to get involved in these exciting ministries let her know.
We also have added a new position to our church team. Breanna Herd is our new Social Media Coordinator. We are using social media to communicate with our community and our church all that we are doing as a church. So many people use social media as the primary way they connect and communicate and we want to utilize it for the sake of the gospel. If you are not sure about an event, now you can go not only to our church calendar for information, but if the event is soon you can find it on our facebook page. In addition to our church facebook page, we also have pages for our children’s ministry and our weekday Preschool. We invite you to “like” and follow them.
Ken Fox has served as our part-time church administrator for over three years now and has done a great job. He is now coming on full time as our Church administrator and Facilities Manager (beginning in November). This move will allow our church to be more effective and efficient in our ministries and also to present a clean and neat campus for the purpose of seeing people come to Christ and live for Him. The Lord deserves the best we can give Him and I am happy to see Ken lead us in giving the Lord our best both in our organization and in our facilities.
Dear Shoreline Family,
Over the last few months, there have been a lot of difficulties people in our church are facing: cancer, sickness, injuries, the loss of family and loved ones, and many more. Every week my prayer list has grown longer and longer. In each case, you could have allowed these difficulties to push you away from God, but instead you allowed God to use them to draw you closer to Him. I have never seen so many difficulties in such a short period of time, but I also have never seen more growth in faith and love. The ministry needs have been greater than I could meet, but together you have ministered to one another in the name of Christ. You are a constant encouragement to me.
Remember Jesus said in as much as you have done it to My brethren, you have done it to Me. Let’s continue to faithfully pray for and minister to the hurting in our congregation.
God has really been working in people’s lives. I encourage you to come to church each week in faith and with anticipation that God is going to speak to us through His Word, and that God is going to work in our life and in the lives of others. God is bringing new people to our church every week- let’s make sure to show them our love for them, pray for them, and minister to them. We have a lot of new believers and new members in our church, let’s welcome every new member of our faith family with open arms and not cease to pray for them.
We all know people who need to come to know the love of Christ. I especially want to ask you to pray that God will give us a burden of compassion for the lost. I am thankful for the fifteen people who went through our evangelism training class, their passion was exciting and I look forward to the fruit God will bring from it. But let’s ask the Lord to give all of us boldness to share Jesus with our family, friends, and those He brings into our life. The Lord has blessed us with a great church family, and I am so very thankful to the Lord for you.
This past year we made many changes in our church budget structure. We combined all of our ministry budgets into one church budget so that we can see what the actual cost of each category is, for example, we can now see what our total electricity usage is for the entire campus. This is now true for all categories so that going forward we can have a true picture of what we spend as a church. Since all of our operations are ministries of the church. We focused a lot of resources on beautification of both the inside and outside of our campus. Our general budget covered painting all of the upstairs and downstairs classrooms in the education building. Building a Legacy covered the outside of the entire campus, including some much needed repairs with the painting.
The overall financial picture for last year is good. We are expecting to be very close to our projected budget. We expect to end in the black by $5,000-$10,000. Our revenue is expected to be short by about $40,000 but we also reduced our expenses to match. We spent about $10,000 more on the building than we planned because the painting has gone faster than projected, and that amount was planned for this next year, so we will recover it after September.
Building a Legacy. We have brought in just over $125,000 and currently have spent $76,000. A new sign for the front of the building is in process and we hope to have it approved and in construction soon.
For 2018/19 we have increased salary cost projections to finally allow for some much needed raise for our awesome church and preschool staff. This new budget is still very conservative and we are optimistic that the revenue will surpass our plans, but we want to maintain a practice of preparing conservatively and spending carefully.