4/4/20

Crossview Family,

We have something a little different every week, so I’ll start with what is new this week.  Matt sent out an email yesterday introducing our interactive service at 10 am on Sunday.  As he said, it will be the same as the podcast, but you’ll be able to communicate with others from our church family during that time.

1) As a reminder, you can email crossviewcovidinfo@gmail.com to let us know if you are willing to help as needs arise.  We appreciate some of the creative ideas we received last week, but we think it would be most helpful to hear if you are willing to help with…

  1. a) errands and groceries
  2. b) phone calls to people in our church just to say hi
  3. c) walking people through new technology for connecting with others

 

2) Our elders are meeting weekly now.  We spent an hour this morning praying for the church and for wisdom.  If you would like to talk with the elders, we invite you to email us at eldersteam@crossviewefca.com and let us know how we can help or pray.

3) We did our first round of Zoom meetings this week, and they were really fruitful.  If you are interested in joining a Zoom meeting this week, please email me at jknitt@crossviewefca.com.

4) If you haven’t noticed, we are taking community very seriously in this season.  We’ve also started a private Facebook page linked to our main Facebook page that will allow us to share a few more personal prayer requests and stories.

5) I’ll mention this on Sunday, as well, but to prepare for our Good Friday service, I’m going to ask you to have bread and juice for communion available.  I’m also going to ask you to have 4 candles available and something to light them (if you only have one candle, you can make that work).

6) I’ll also mention this on Sunday, but we want to see each other on Easter, even if we can’t be together.  I think it’d be awesome if everyone could do a 5-15 second video of them saying something like…”Jesus Christ is risen!  He is risen, indeed!  Hallelujah!” or “Happy Easter Crossview” or “Peace be with you” or something else like that.  If you could just film yourself and send the short video to Matt at mcalio@crossviewefca.com by this Wednesday then he can compile it for Easter!

 

Blessings to all!

In Christ,

Jeff

 
3/27/20
Crossview family,
 
My week has been pretty full, even though it’s looked different.  I’ve been on two different international phone calls listening to pastors and Christian leaders talk about these new and trying circumstances.  One was led by Christians in Beijing and one came out of Europe.  We are not alone in the world, and I do think our church family is responding well.  We’re praying, we’re asking good questions, and we’re working to support each other.  I’m thankful for all of you.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I do think that the best thing we can do right now is get ourselves organized in case the needs of our community increase.  This email is going to contain a lot of information about 1) how to prepare to help and 2) how to connect yourself with others in our church family.
 
1) There are a few ways to prepare to help.  We’ve created an email for now.  I know we have other systems in place, but given the uniqueness of this time, we are going to have a separate email.  You can email crossviewcovidinfo@gmail.com and share whatever creative ways you would be willing to help those in need over the days and weeks ahead.  We are just gathering information right now.  The needs aren’t intense yet, but we want to be ready if they get intense.
 
You can volunteer to help with Meals on Wheels (815-758-3932), DeKalb Barb Food Mart (815-596-0141), or Salvation Army (815-756-4308 x 4311).  I believe they were looking for help with food delivery or food drive-thru’s for the community.  
 
Also, if you are elderly or in a situation where you are at medical risk to go out, you can call 815-758-6550 for help with food, groceries, prescriptions, or other basic essentials.  Elderly Care Services in DeKalb County received a grant, and they’re ready to help in really fruitful ways.
 
2) We are also trying to increase our community presence online.  We are looking to add some private groups to our Crossview Facebook page, where we can get a little more personal with how we’re doing and what we want prayer for.  We are also going to explore using Zoom for virtual meetings.  I led a small group with Zoom this morning, and I’m going to try to lead Formed tonight through Zoom.  If you’ve never used Zoom, it’s not super tricky.  You can download the app on your smartphone or tablet, you can use your laptop, or you can just call in.  We’re doing this because we believe time together matters today, and it will really matter as we continue to walk through this together.  You can join us, and for you introverts out there, you don’t even need to talk if you don’t want to or if you’ve never done a video chat before.  Just join in the community.  Our staff is going to provide leadership for these times as we talk, point each other to Jesus, and pray together. 
 
a) For Tuesday, March 31, at 6pm, Kyle White is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting…
Topic: Crossview Meet-Up – Spend time with others in our church family with Kyle as your guide.
Click here at 6 pm…
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/908246402
Meeting ID: 908 246 402
 
b) For Wednesday, April 1, at 4 pm, Matt is inviting you to join…
Topic: Peace in a Chaotic Time – Matt wants to talk about what’s disrupting our peace, and how we can encourage and support each other to find our peace in Jesus.
So click here at 4 pm…
https://zoom.us/j/140746129?pwd=YS9ta29OK0NxdDRHOEZ6RzNqZTRYZz09
Meeting ID: 140 746 129
Password: 441038
Or, if you want to call in…
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
 
c) For Thursday, April 2, at 11 am, I’m inviting you to a Zoom meeting.
Topic: I want to hear how you’re doing, talk a little about the Job series and where we’re headed next, and then we can pray together.
Just click here at 11 am…
https://zoom.us/j/968899446?pwd=dDVHc3FLeUQ1RitGczIzVVVvZjdmZz09
Meeting ID: 968 899 446 
Password: 009482 
Or call 
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) 
 
d) For Thursday, April 2, at 3 pm, Sarah Cantrell is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Kids Connecting – Parents, get online with your kids and other church families.
Click here at 3 pm…
https://zoom.us/j/2058668864?pwd=UXBUUWtaR3ZVVTlvR2o0MVhoZkFxdz09
Meeting ID: 205 866 8864
Password: Crossview
Or you can dial…
         +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
 
Praying with you and for you today,
Jeff
3/21/20
Crossview Family,
 
Things continue to change.  This truly is an unprecedented time, and I continue to be grateful for the hope we have in Jesus Christ.  We can go before the throne of the King of kings.  He is with us and for us.
 
I emailed yesterday, but things have changed since then.  I probably have more questions than answers right now, but the Elders just had another conference call meeting to provide some leadership for the next few days.  We can’t get too far ahead because of the constant changes that unfold.  Here are a few things to note…

 

1) The communitywide drive-in service has been moved to 3:30 pm today at School Tool Box.  We have no idea how many will come, but you are welcome to join us.

2) I started to get news that there may be a Shelter-in-Place being announced yesterday, and I didn’t know what it would mean, so I preached yesterday.  I would’ve loved one more day, but I wanted to make sure that was available.  The worship team was able to record on Thursday night, so we will have online church on Sunday. 

3) We will not have anyone at church this Sunday.  It is difficult for me to type those words, but it does seem to the Elders, given what we know, that the best way to serve and love our neighbors, particularly the most vulnerable, is to try to partner with our neighbors to slow the spread of the virus.  

4) We are anticipating all kinds of “ripple effects” over the days and weeks ahead, especially economically.  I want to continue to ask you to let me know if you are entering a difficult season (because I know it’s hard to ask for help).  We want to walk through this together.  Even if you just send me an email or give me a call to let me know that you aren’t there yet, but you may be soon.  The more I can prepare, the quicker we’ll be able to respond. 

5) Many of you have offered to help in a variety of ways.  I’m thinking it could be helpful if someone wants to volunteer to be a “hub of information” for our church family and put together a spreadsheet.  I can have people email you, and you can organize who has volunteered to help get groceries or make deliveries or whatever other things are needed.  Email me if you’re interested in helping in this way. 

6) The last thing I’ll say today is that I’m going to make a subscription to an online service so that leaders in our church can host virtual meetings.  We want to encourage virtual meetings.  If you’re a leader of any group, feel free to email me, and as I get a subscription in place, I will send you instructions on how to host your group online.  If you haven’t been leading a group, but you want to gather people, email me, and I’ll send you instructions.  Again, my email is jknitt@crossviewefca.com.

7) Keep praying.  Pray for the health of your own soul.  Pray for our church family.  Pray for our neighbors.  Our God is able.

With you in Christ,
Jeff
 
 

3/20/20

Crossview Family,
 
I miss seeing everyone here, but I was blessed to have some phone, text, email, and Skype communication with people this week.  While I’d rather see everyone face-to-face, I’m still grateful to hear your voices when I get a chance.  

For now, here’s a rather long email, trying to keep communication flowing…
 
1) We are keeping the same plan in place for Sunday that we had last week.  Our service will be online.  We will have a few leaders here on Sunday morning for prayer, but we will have less than last week due to trying to keep any gathering under 10 people.  Matt got things worked out, so there will be several songs online this Sunday from our worship team as a part of the podcast.  If you’re newer to using the podcast, feel free to call the church if you have any questions.  You can choose to either listen or watch the podcast.
 
2) I am grateful that we have excellent leadership across all of our teams in this church.  Several people had already been working to get us ready for online giving, and this week, they finished that project. You can either click here – https://www.crossviewefca.com/give/ – or you can click on “Resources” on our home webpage, and at the bottom of that tab, click on the word “GIVE.”  This is a secure website, and right now, you can only give through your credit card.  You can make a one-time gift, or you can set up a profile and make a recurring gift.  The only thing that might be confusing is that there is a convenience fee when processing credit cards, so you have the option of whether or not you want to cover that at the bottom of the page before you submit it.  We will eventually be able to give in other ways, but it takes more time to set that up well, so that will come in the future.  You can also mail checks to the church, if you want.  If you have any questions, again, feel free to call the church.  And, of course, please let us know if you’re entering a season of financial need.  We are all in this together.  
 
3) This coming week the staff is going to be working from home, but there are still people in and out of the building.  I know many people have keys.  We have set disinfectant wipes and plastic gloves throughout the building.  If you are here for a small meeting or to pick something up, please wipe down all hard surfaces and handles that you were around before you leave.  
 
4) Most of you are aware that Brett Sprietler passed away this week.  There was a very small, private funeral service for his family yesterday.  Cheri wants you all to know how grateful she is for your support and prayers.  She’s been amazing.  Their family is special.  Brett loved well and was loved well.  We are planning on doing a celebration of life this summer.  If you’d like to read a little more, you can visit this webpage – https://www.butalafuneralhomes.com/obituary/brett-sprietler.
 
5) On Wednesday, the local evangelical pastors gathered and planned a drive-in worship service for Saturday night at 5 pm in the parking lot of School Tool Box (12107 Barber Greene RD, DeKalb – at the corner or Peace and Barber Greene Rd).  I wasn’t able to be at the planning meeting, but they invited me to participate, so I’m going to be there sharing a few announcements on how we can serve our community.  Other churches will be providing people to lead in worship and preach.  I believe the plan is to broadcast it on the radio for those in the parking lot, so everyone can remain in their cars.  This first week is a trial run.  We’ll be learning as we go!
 
6) This week was a pretty intense week.  Next week, I hope to turn my attention to creative ways we can gather virtually.  Our staff team started making phone calls through our office directory this week, and we’ll keep working our way through that directory.  If you didn’t get a phone call and you want one, just send me an email (jknitt@crossviewefca.com).  We may not have your phone number, or we may have the wrong number written down.  
 
7) We are moving the date for the next Congregational Meeting from April 5th to April 26th.
 
8) I am excited for this week’s message.  I am, personally, finding great resources for the times we live in as I continue to read through the story of Job.  We truly have everything we need in Jesus Christ.  
 
And remember…
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” (Psalm 46:1-2)
 
In Christ,
Jeff
 

 

3/14/20
Crossview Family,

                This situation is very dynamic.  I just finished quite a long conference call with our Elders where there were many points and counter points.  I know there are varying opinions on this, and they are good opinions.  We don’t want to panic, and we don’t want to be overconfident.  It was a very healthy conversation where we listened and challenged and loved one another. 

                We believe this is a time to be brave, and it is also a time to love. We are not afraid. We are trusting our God and relying fully on Him. He is our Healer, our Provider, and our Hope. Yet out of love for our community and for the most vulnerable, we have decided to cancel services for Sunday, March 15.

 

SERVICES FOR SUNDAY, MARCH 15 HAVE BEEN CANCELED
Sunday School has also been canceled

 

The Elders and Staff will be at church from 9am-12pm tomorrow for prayer.  The doors will be open, but we will not have service.

We want to be good neighbors to those in our community who are vulnerable and limiting exposure to large groups is currently the most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We are not fearful of getting the virus, but we want to do everything we can to avoid spreading it to those at risk. We are hoping that by taking these steps this week we’ll be able to reevaluate our options for the coming weeks, and we fully intend to reopen as soon as possible.

Here are our steps forward…

1) Join us on Sunday

We don’t utilize streaming as some other churches do, so I am planning on preaching tonight so that the podcast will be available tomorrow morning.  Matt has provided the songs we will be singing this Sunday…

The King is Here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBnp0s9ufsQ
King of My Heart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbBQ94PZEkE
Before the Throne of God Above https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LULK2nZ6sCc
Who You Say I Am https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcC1Bp13n_4

 

2) Stay in community

As long as we take careful precautions (staying home when not feeling well, washing hands frequently, avoiding physical contact), we don’t see any reason to avoid our small groups or other meaningful relationships. It’s in times like these we need each other the most. We encourage you to continue meeting with your small group or other friends as you feel comfortable. Consider watching the podcast together or take time to pray for our fearful world.

 

3) Practice Spiritual Formation

We have talked about “sitting with Jesus” from a variety of angles over the past few weeks.  We’ve practiced praying Psalm 46:10 and asking Jesus for mercy to center us to the moment so that we can be attentive to His presence here and now.  Sit with Jesus.  Rest in His easy yoke.  Read your bible.  We all, in some ways, are being forced to fast from things that we’re used to participating in or consuming.  Replace those things with Jesus activities.  Write a note of encouragement to someone.  Give generously. Continue to give to the church or find others in need to bless.  I’m aware that this has impacted our economy, and we need to be ready to care for the needs that may develop in our church family and in our community.        

 

4) Seek Pastoral Care

 I know it’s hard sometimes to ask for help, but it’s okay to ask for help.  I know you can start thinking that the staff is too busy, but we have time for you right now.  Please let us know if there are ways we can help you.  We may start working our way through the church directory, just making phone calls to say hi this week.  If we don’t have your number, please email or call or let us know, so we can give you a call.

 

We are SO disappointed not to be meeting physically together this Sunday! We love Sundays, we look forward to them.  We’ve put intense effort into making this decision because we value being together.  We are saddened by this decision. We are going to miss you! That said, after much prayer and conversation, we believe this is the right course of action for this week.

 

In Christ,
Jeff & the Leadership at Crossview

 

3/13/20
Crossview Family,
                We’re all in this together as a family, so I thought I’d start with a note from one of our family members who far surpasses me when it comes to medical training and wisdom and knowledge and insight, the one and only Dr. Mike Thornton.
 
Hello Jeff and the Crossview family,
I serve as the Medical Director of DeKalb County Health Department.  We have been meeting to discuss community responses to the virus and recommendations for all of us in this trying time.  I have several recommendations for us as a congregation at this time:
  • First, people in our body who are over 60 and have medical problems that make them more susceptible to infections should consider not coming to church or being part of large gatherings.  This may mean missing regular church services.  We do not know how long this season will last but it may be several months. 
  • Second, use hand sanitizer frequently and avoid touching your mouth or nose as much as possible.  Wash hands with soap and water frequently.  Please don’t shake hands.
  • Third, please do not come to church if you have a sore throat, cough, or fever.
  • Fourth, I recommend that we cancel the all church dinner this weekend (March 15) due to concerns about spread of the virus in the setting of a church meal. 
  • Finally, I am reminded that throughout history when civilization has been threatened by a plague or catastrophe, it is the followers of Jesus who demonstrate the love of Christ in tangible ways to a fearful and hurting world.  We need to draw near to Him and look for opportunities to shine His light into the darkness.  This may involve sacrifice or risk on our part.  We are called to be His agents of truth in a world of lies and fear.  Let us remember Him and His sacrifice for us. 

God is our rock and our redeemer.
Mike Thornton
 
Thanks, Mike!  We are going to follow Mike’s advice on this, so that’s going to impact things.  Here are a few more thoughts in numerical form because it’s long, and I’m trying to keep things somewhat organized…

  1. I’ll start with pastoral thoughts.  As I wrote earlier this morning, we don’t need to be anxious, but that doesn’t mean we are all of a sudden automatically not anxious.  If you are feeling anxious, I recommend praying through Psalm 23 multiple times.  Try praying through things you are thankful for.  I believe gratitude matters.  I also want to say that you have a genuine invitation to call the church if you are feeling anxious.  I would love to talk with you, listen to you, and pray with you.  Sarah, Matt, and Kyle are also available.  That’s one of our privileges of serving this church.  If no one answers, please just leave a voicemail.  I get email notifications when someone leaves a voicemail, so even if I’m out of the building, I can call you back and pray together.
  2. The CDC has recommended not having gatherings of over 25 people, so we are cancelling meetings of that size other than Sunday morning worship and youth gatherings.
  3. As Mike stated above, if you are at risk, please don’t come to church.  If you are coughing or have any sign of the virus, please don’t come to church.  This won’t last forever, but for a short time, you can pretend you are back in the first century, doing house churches as they did.  This week, we’ll do our best to get the podcast up as early as possible.  However, as this continues, I will try to preach earlier in the week, so that we can post the podcast Sunday mornings for everyone.  Matt is going to put together some worship sets online, if that would also be helpful.  We’re still sorting through whether or not we can post our Sunday morning musical worship due to licensing restrictions.
  4. Kyle has done an excellent job of reminding me that community matters.  If you are home for a long period of time, as we all wait this out together, please do not isolate yourself.  Call your friends.  Try social media.  Schedule a Skype time with someone.  As you pray, if the Holy Spirit brings any name to mind, just give that person an encouragement, check-in phone call.  Maybe we get crazy, knock on our friend’s door, and drop off toilet paper!  Apparently, that’s an important commodity these days.
  5. Sarah continues to pray for our kiddos and maintain a high standard of cleanliness in the kids area.  She is also compiling helpful resources if parents are trying to find ways to navigate this with their kids.  Feel free to connect with Sarah if you’re interested.
  6. I think there is wisdom in leaving a seat or two open between you and the next person if you are with us this Sunday.  We will not be shaking hands during the Meet and Greet this week.  We will also be adjusting how we receive the offering this Sunday.  We will have ushers stand in the back to collect offering on the way out of the service, so we will not be passing a basket down the aisles.  We’ve been looking into online ways of giving for a while, so we may launch that in the next week or so, if it all comes together.  While we can be deeply grateful that Crossview sits in a healthy financial situation today, regular giving is still important to how we operate as a church and maintain regular support for our local and global partners.
  7. We will keep our eyes and ears open to ways we can serve our community.  If you find out about opportunities, please feel free to let us know.  We want to be a loving presence and good neighbors.  To quote the great author Kyle White, “Yes, think about what we Don’t Do (shake hands, touch our faces, etc), but also imagine what we Can Do.”
  8. If you are not someone who is high risk, and you want to get out, we could probably use extra volunteers to put on gloves, grab wipes, and help keep our facility clean.  We will be regularly wiping down handles and hard surfaces.  Just let me know if you’re interested, and I can try to organize a “cleaning party” of less than 20 people.
  9. Pray.  Pray for people with the virus.  Pray for people dealing with fear.  Pray for our church family.  Pray for our neighbors. Part of loving our neighbors is sharing the hope that we have.  This might be a season ripe with opportunity to love well by sharing His peace with those around us!  Pray that Jesus’ name would be lifted high.  He is with us always, all the way through this. 
In Christ,
Jeff and the Leadership at Crossview