A Message from Pastor Ken Regarding COVID-19
March 20, 2020 Update
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” — The words of Jesus, John 14:27
In times of social distancing, pandemics, and quarantines, these words of Jesus remind us that he offers what the world cannot – real peace. As believers, let us hold on to these words and find our peace in him.
As I announced during a recent Facebook Live session, we will have online services only through the end of March. Our staff has done a tremendous job of making many of our “in-person” resources online. These include not only our weekend services but also programming materials for our kids, students, and GROW classes. You can find these at mtnvw.org/live.
We are also working on ways to make our weekend service available on platforms other than just Facebook. We will be testing one of those this weekend and hope to be able to share it next week.
At the end of March, we’ll reassess the situation and plan our weekends accordingly.
Office and Weekly Programming
Our office will remain closed until the CDC allows schools to return to in-person classrooms. Our staff is working remotely from home and we have been using Google Hangouts for our meetings. They are available to answer any questions you might have regarding our ministries.
We are exploring how our weekly programming might continue in online formats. As you might imagine, some of these events are more adaptable to an online format than others.
We are partnering with Backpack Society to collect food items for students in Highlands Ranch who are on the free and reduced lunch program. We will be collecting items on March 21 and 22 from 10 – 2 pm.
Drive Up Prayer
One of the drawbacks of social distancing is that it can easily lead to social isolation. As people of faith, we believe in both the power of prayer and community. On Sunday, March 22, we will have one hour of “drive up” prayer from 11 – Noon. Myself and others will be available to pray for you. All you have to do is pull in, roll down your window, and share your request. We’ll stay six feet away and pray loud enough for you to hear! We believe this is a simple way to stay connected to both God and each other.
Care Ministry – Meals
We have been blessed with a wonderful care ministry and part of that includes free meals to share with those in need. If you know someone who needs a meal or if you’re willing to deliver a meal, let us know. You can email Dan Hettinger for more information (email@example.com).
We appreciate your prayers and continued generosity during these difficult times. We have chosen to embrace this time as an opportunity to glorify Jesus through his church.
– Pastor Ken
March 16, 2020 Update
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
On Sunday, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) revised its guidelines for public gatherings and asked that no more than 50 people meet in one place at one time. On Monday, the White House reduced that number to 10 people.
We have decided that we will suspend weekend worship services at the building at least through the end of March. As we’ve been doing, we will continue to assess the situation and revise as needed.
In addition, we will follow Douglas County schools and suspend all programming and use of the building by outside groups for as long as the schools are closed. If you have questions about a specific ministry, please contact the appropriate staff person.
One of the challenges surrounding COVID-19 has been getting reliable information. Since Mountainview has been blessed with highly capable people (doctors, scientists, etc.), I will be asking several of them if they would serve as temporary advisors in times like these (starting now!).
We are actively working on making our “offline” resources available online. These include classes, devotionals, and trainings.
If you wish to submit a prayer request, we have created an online connection card that can be accessed here. Our staff will be working from home as long as the schools are closed. We have been using Google Hangouts to video conference on a regular basis.
How Can You Help?
- Pray! We believe in the power of prayer to heal and sustain. Pray for those affected and for God’s word to reach people in new ways.
- Engage with us online. Watch our worship services each weekend, participate in special Facebook and Youtube live events, and submit prayer requests as needed. We’ve created a page to find helpful resources.
- Check in with people. If you’re in a small group, class, or Bible study – call, text, and email each other. Talk with your neighbors and see how you might help them, too.
- Utilize online giving. The ministry of Mountainview continues and your support is needed to help us navigate these challenging times.
While these actions require each of us to adjust our normal routines, we believe this allows us to be socially responsible and best serve our community by focusing on working on containment together. It also allows us to protect the most vulnerable, at risk members of our church.
– Pastor Ken
March 13, 2020 Update — REVISED 9:40 PM
*** 9:40 PM ***
As we have continued to monitor the news and information, we will NOT have worship services at our building this weekend. We want to love God and our neighbors and believe this is a good way to do both.
We will have an online service Sunday at 9 AM and want to encourage everyone to log on to our Mountainview Facebook page and join us (facebook.com/mtnvw).
You will also find children’s and student weekend resources here. We’re encouraging families to watch these videos together.
We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we try to navigate these challenging times.
– Pastor Ken
At today’s press conference, Governor Polis announced a temporary ban on public gatherings of 250 or more people unless they can ensure that there is six feet of separation between smaller groups of 4-to-8 people. At 2 pm, I was part of a conference call with the Governor as he addressed faith leaders directly.
The ban is in effect for 30 days. This means that larger groups are allowed to meet as long as the crowd is divided into small groups of 4-8 people and the various groups are separated by six feet or more. During his conference call with faith leaders, he reiterated that groups could meet as long as they meet these requirements.
Although Mountainview has many of the benefits of being a large church, we normally have 200 or fewer adults in our worship center during our largest services. In order to comply with the spirit of the Governor’s guidance and minimize risk to our most vulnerable members, we will be doing the following:
- We will add more seats and rearrange the chairs in order to create the necessary distance between groupings.
- We are asking people who are sick, showing symptoms of sickness, or vulnerable to infection to stay home and worship with us online (facebook.com/mtnvw). Our livestream is Sunday at 9 am.
- We are asking people who normally attend our 9 am service to consider worshiping on Saturday night or on Sunday at 10:45.
- We are working on a way to upload our children’s and student programming material so that families can stay engaged while at home.
We will also continue to implement the changes that I shared in our March 11 update below. We will continue to monitor the situation and make further adjustments as needed.
I realize that these steps will require us to adjust the way we normally do things, but as Christians we want to be good neighbors and to show our community that we care and are doing our part.
March 11, 2020 Update
Greetings from Mountainview!
Tracy Van Vleet, our Executive Pastor, and I have been researching best practices for how churches should respond to the coronavirus. At our recent staff meeting, we discussed various procedures that we will be implementing starting this week.
Last Sunday, we adjusted the way we normally serve communion. Instead of passing trays, we had our servers wear gloves and individually serve each person communion bread. We will continue to serve communion in this manner for the foreseeable future at all of our services.
Volunteers handing out connection cards will wash and sanitize their hands. We will have collection boxes in the worship center for your tithes and offerings, as well as for connection cards with prayer requests. You may also recycle your connection cards in a box outside the worship center. Old connection cards will not be reused.
To eliminate the need to touch door handles, we will be leaving doors open into the worship center. We will also ask every volunteer to wash their hands before and after serving.
Our children’s and student check-in kiosks will not be self-serve. We will have a volunteer at each check-in station to assist with check-in so that people aren’t touching the same screen. Any toy or object that is put into a child’s mouth will be taken out of circulation and sanitized.
In between all services, we will wipe down and sanitize all common hard surfaces in the coffee shop, lobby, restrooms, classrooms, student center, and worship center. In addition, hand sanitizer is available throughout the building. We would encourage you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when you arrive and when you leave.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We will be adding extra seats and encouraging everyone to spread out.
Any staff or volunteer who is feeling sick will be asked to stay at home. We are also asking anyone who is showing symptoms of illness to please stay at home as well.
Finally, although Mountainview is a friendly church, we are asking you to refrain from handshakes and hugs. To avoid injury, it might be wise to avoid chest bumps as well 🙂
Smiling and greeting one another with a friendly “hello” is still strongly encouraged!
WATCH US ONLINE EVERY SUNDAY MORNING
As a reminder, we livestream our Sunday 9 AM service on Facebook. You can watch it live at facebook.com/mtnvw or watch it any time throughout the week. If you normally bring your tithe and offering to a weekend service, you can also give online at mountainviewfamily.org/giving.
May God’s blessing be with you!
Pastor Ken Hensley