Christian Fellowship’s Weekly Update

March 10, 2020 By: Christian Fellowship


Last updated 07/01/2020


Good afternoon Christian Fellowship family,

We believe God has been leading us to increase our capacity and our influence to receive and reach more people throughout our community and the world with the gospel of grace. Part of fulfilling this calling has us, as a church, in a multi-stage building initiative that began in the fall of 2014. As of June of 2020, we have:

  • Paid off $1 million of capital improvements at our current location.
  • Raised over $2.9 million towards phase one of the Chapel Hill facility.

We are excited to announce that we are only $26,000 away from our fundraising goal of $3 million. Thank you to everyone who gave and continues to give!

To help us reach this goal, we will have Summer Sacrificial Giving Sundays the first Sunday of each month during July, August, and September. Our goal is to have as many people and families participate as possible, so if you haven’t had the opportunity to give, or would like to give more, we invite you to pray about giving sacrificially during this season.

God is doing amazing things in our midst and we are encouraged as we continue to raise funds for our new church building, which is currently under construction.

You can learn more about the progress of our building on our Increasing our Influence page and give online to the building campaign here (be sure to select the “Building Fund” category). You can also give with a check or cash.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Michael on behalf of our elders, pastors, and staff here at CF

Important Information + Resources

06/24/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Phil here.

We have missed you greatly over the last few months.

The Passion translation of Proverbs 4:23 reads: “So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.”

Let me encourage you to take a moment and check in with yourself. We ask everyone to take three minutes to fill out the survey below. Your responses will help us know how you are doing, as well as how to plan ways for us to connect as a church family in the months to come.

CF Family Survey (please fill out by Wednesday, July 1)

We are praying and discussing how to serve the church, and we know there isn’t a way to simply get back to normal. In just four months we have all experienced a pandemic of sickness, a state of general fear, and a nation that is politically, racially, and socially divided. Yet HE is faithful and will bring us through together, full of love, compassion, and vision.

Thank you for your time, we look forward to hearing from you!

06/10/2020 CF Update

See video on what to expect on a Sunday morning here.

Over a growing number of years, we as a church have become more conscious of the divide that continues to exist in racial relationships in our society. We do have a fourfold mission for advancing better racial relationships through understanding, harmony, and unity, which can be found here.

With everything going on in this season it can be overwhelming and intimidating to try and figure out what we can do to love each other and our community well. We hope you find these suggestions helpful and that you will join with us as we grow alongside each other through this moment in history. In all such activities let us not forget to let love be our aim.

What you can do on your own:

  • Read the book “We Need To Talk About Race” by Ben Lindsay.
  • Pray that God would show you areas of your own heart that are biased.
  • Watch our latest Ask Your Pastors video entitled, “What Do I Do With My Disappointment In Other Christians?”

What you can do with others:

  • Ask a friend or acquaintance who is of a minority group how they are being affected by these times we are living in.
  • Join us for a book discussion on “We Need To Talk About Race” (date TBD).
  • Join us for prayer led by Nate and Lisa Buxman at 7pm nightly at Providence and Stewart Road.
  • Celebrate Juneteenth on June 19 with our community in person and/or virtually. This is a celebration of the freeing of the last of the slaves, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

We know that these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg and encourage everyone to find ways that they can engage in what is happening around us with a love like Christ toward one another.

06/03/2020 CF Update

See video on what to expect on a Sunday morning here.
We are excited to be opening our building for people to attend services this summer. We will start by having 40 to 50 people for the 9 am service, and hope to increase that number as time goes on. We do ask that you help us to love each other well by respecting other’s risk tolerance. If you have not already read Pastor Phil’s letter to the church, you can find it here for guidelines.

​What does this mean for you?

  • You can sign-up for an in-person service in June or July.
    June Sign-Up July Sign-Up
  • We encourage those who can to gather a group of family and friends and “be the church” together in someone’s home.
  • You can still tune into our live stream service on Sundays at 9 am or watch later on Facebook or YouTube.

We know that the in-person meetings will be a little different than we are used to, but we are hoping that this approach with be a safe way for us to gather together and stay better connected this summer.

05/28/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Phil here.
With love as our aim, as we cautiously re-open our church building in June, we want to keep a spirit of being respectful of different levels of risk tolerance among our members. Here is a summary of our decisions and how they’ve been influenced.

There are three factors unique to churches that we have considered when deciding next steps:

  • Sustained contact. The risk of contracting Covid-19 is higher the longer you sustain contact. Sitting in a church service is a much higher risk than passing someone in a store.
  • Singing. Worshipping together through song produces a higher risk than sitting quietly or talking.
  • The nature of community. A church family gathered together creates a higher risk because of the temptation to make physical contact.

The best defense against these factors are the following:

  • Social distancing. Remaining a minimum of 6-feet apart is critical, and even more space is required when singing.
  • Proper sanitation. It remains imperative that we wash our hands and sanitize hard surfaces between groups occupying the facility.
  • Wearing masks. Covering our mouths and noses is another effective way to contain the respiratory droplets that spread when we cough, sneeze, or sing.

Bearing these things in mind, beginning June 7 we are hoping to:

  • Allow groups of 40-50 to sign-up for an in-person service at 9 am.
  • Set up our auditorium with 20 feet between rows.
  • Suspend children’s ministry, coffee service, and use of water fountains.
  • Maintain proper sanitation and social distancing guidelines while encouraging (but not requiring) the wearing of masks.
  • Begin hosting a select set of classes on-site during the week.
  • Continue to provide a live stream of the service for those watching at home.

What does this mean for you?

  • You will be able to sign-up for one in-person service this summer beginning next week.
  • You can gather a group of family and friends and “be the church” together in someone’s home.
  • You can tune into our live stream service on Sundays at 9 am or watch later on Facebook or YouTube.
  • You can access Pastor Phil’s full letter to the church with additional information here.​

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Michael on behalf of our elders, pastors, and staff here at CF

05/20/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Phil here.
Along with the creative ways to stay connected Pastor Phil mentions in his video, we also have virtual groups and classes for all ages during this season. You can find a full list on our website, but we wanted to highlight a few here:

cfKidz – We have Sunday virtual classes for SOAK, CLIMB, and LAUNCH following our morning meeting.

twelve30 – Our virtual Wednesday meetings for middle and high school students will continue into the summer.

​Adults

  • cfWomens Summer Class: “Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy” led by Deb and Lori
  • How to Read the Bible led by Donnie Berry
  • “The Next Right Thing” Study led by Beth and Miriam
  • Financial Peace University led by staff and volunteers

Prayer

  • Healing Prayer – sign up for an intentional prayer session on Zoom.
  • Prayer Trios – sign up to be a part of a prayer group.

05/13/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Phil here.
We have a variety of ways for you to stay connected with us as a church on our website. However, today we want to focus on less known ways to stay connected with our church family during this extended time of social distancing:

  • Follow us on Facebook and Instagram
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel
  • Join one or more of our private groups on Facebook – cfWomen: A group where women at CF can share prayer requests, recipes, funny stories, and more. Community Group: A place where church members can share about small groups, resources, prayer requests, and more. cfKidz: A group for friends and parents of cfKidz at Christian Fellowship.
  • Families can join in on cfKidz Sunday morning meetings starting this week!
  • Get creative by having a few friends over in your yard, inviting another family over to watch the live stream, going for a walk with someone, sending letters (snail mail), or having a “drive-thru” birthday party.

We miss you and want to connect through photography in this season. We invite you to send photos of you worshiping with us and ways you are connecting with others. You can either email them to Becky Jo in the church office or tag us on Facebook or Instagram. We truly believe that being able to see each other in this way will help us feel together even if we cannot physically be together.

05/07/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Phil here.
While our lives have been put on hold in many ways the last two months, I want to remind us, as Phil just mentioned, God is still moving us forward!

Behind the scenes there are so many encouraging things happening to prepare Christian Fellowship for the future. God is at work and I’m excited to share a few more details:

  • Our Chapel Hill Phase 1 building on the corner of Chapel Hill Road and Louisville Drive is beginning to take shape! Underground piping in going in and footings are being poured. It is just a matter of time until we move in.
  • Plans and projects are underway to more fully integrate and align Christian Fellowship Church and Christian Fellowship School into one, cohesive organization. Much of the infrastructure will be complete before the school year begins this fall as we prepare to have two facilities.
  • Since March 1, we’ve hired four organization-wide, future-oriented positions. Max Vikhter and Beth Bramstedt joined our team in March, Andrew Swanson starts as our production director next week, and Steve Boul will join the pastoral team in August. These hires represent progress toward planning and preparing for our future growth and leadership transitions.
  • We are planning and positioning our ministries to receive more people and increase our influence with this new space.

It was nearly 20 years ago that I Chronicles 4:10 began to shape our thinking: Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.

After seeing what is unfolding in front of us, it feels as though God is granting what we’ve been praying and dreaming about. Our borders are enlarging, and we are now touching the edges of that reality. Wow! Just wow!

So, whether you have been with Christian Fellowship for a few months, or since the beginning, we are looking forward to journeying into our future together living out the gospel of grace.

04/29/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Mike here. While we are excited for the reopening of businesses in Columbia, for the sake of the safety of our community and congregation, the elders and pastors have decided that we will be precautionary in reopening our facilities for in person meetings. Our building and corporate gatherings are ideal for the coronavirus to spread, and the results could be debilitating. ?

Given this reality, we are not opting to rush back to normal or return to corporate worship too quickly. And when the building does gradually reopen, there will be extra efforts to sanitize, promote hand washing, and encourage the six-foot social distance between attendees. Here’s what you can expect:

  • We will continue to abide by the restrictions and recommendations put forth from our state, county, and city. In many respects, we may move even slower than the authorities suggest.
  • We will not open the building in May for church or outside events.
  • We will continue the live stream of the Sunday service through May. As restrictions lift, we encourage small groups to begin gathering together in homes for worship.
  • We will be launching another series of online classes in mid-May to help you stay connected.
  • We will have a soft opening of the building in June, perhaps allowing for smaller groups and classes to begin meeting onsite. If allowed, we will consider multiple in-person Sunday services with limited participation.
  • We will continue to practice our core value of prayer. We will pray that the virus remains contained and that the Lord grants us wisdom and discernment in how to proceed.

Acts 20:28-29 gives us picture of the elders’ responsibility to you, our flock. It reads “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

It is in this spirit of protecting the flock that we communicate this plan for moving forward as a church in this next season. Spiritually, let me encourage us to trust in Lord and put all our hope in Him who is with us; however, pragmatically we will remain vigilant for community safety.

Below are the resources that influenced our decision:

04/23/2020 CF Update

Good afternoon CF family! This season has been hard in a variety of ways, and we know that the difficulties it brought will not disappear when the stay home order is lifted. You can find resources for those in need, prayer opportunities, and ways to help below.

  • If you have practical needs in this season, we encourage you to click here for community resources. If you cannot find what you need please let us know by filling out this form so we can help.
  • Prayer is a core value and a part of who we are at CF. If you need prayer, please click here to let us know.​​
  • If you are in need of a more intentional prayer session via zoom, we invite you to learn more about our Healing Prayer ministry.​​​​
  • If you would like to help meet the practical needs of others in our church and community, a few ways you can do so are: volunteering with CF, volunteering with ForColumbia, or giving financially (giving type = benevolence, memo = COVID-19).

Acts 2:42-47 gives us an awe-inspiring vision of the community of faith. There was devotion to teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, and prayer. There was a commonality shared by the believers, but not everyone’s situation was the same. Some obviously had need and others had provision.

As we walk through this season as a church, we are no different. We have the common experience of the stay at home order, uncertainty about the future, and a longing for the physical presence of friends and family. However, some have had no change in work and financial life, while many others are experiencing job loss, layoffs, or a reduction of business.

Let me encourage us with the opportunity to share what we have, while trusting that God has put us together in our differences in this season.

04/16/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Phil here.
Good afternoon CF family! As we continue in this season of social distancing we have a few church life updates we want to make you aware of:

  • Starting this Sunday, April 19, we will have communion every week at the end of the service. We encourage everyone to have juice (or wine) and bread ready to partake in communion with us on Sundays.
  • The sermon notes are now available on our website each Sunday morning before the service for those who would like to use them to follow along. You can find the link here.
  • We want to remind everyone that there are a variety of groups and classes happening online during this season, with more to come. You can see a full list here. If you have any questions on how to stay connected with our CF family, please let us know by contacting the church office.

In this 50 days of Easter we pray that each of us will engage a little more in the wonder and awe of the God who brought life from death and light out of darkness.

Eugene Peterson says, “Without wonder, we approach spiritual formation as a self-help project. We employ techniques. We analyze gifts and potentialities. We set goals. We assess progress. Spiritual formation is reduced to cosmetics.”

Wonder opens us up to our God who can transform our inner being. Rather than simply being reflectors of light, we become light from the inside out.

04/08/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Phil here.
Good afternoon CF family! We have heard there are issues finding our live stream meetings, so we have made updates to help make the process easier.

  • We have added a new link to the homepage of our website.
  • We will have a longer countdown timer leading up to each meeting.
  • If you have issues live streaming, please do not hesitate to text us at 573-445-8561 or send us an email for help.

Just a reminder that we have variety of ways for you to celebrate Easter with us this week!

  • Holy Thursday live stream on April 9 at 7pm.
  • Good Friday live stream on April 10 at 3pm.
  • Sunrise Service live stream on April 12 at 6:15am.
  • Easter Service live stream on April 12 at 9am.
  • Easter Outdoor Celebration on April 12 at 11am at MU’s parking lot RP10 located off Providence Road.

For full details on each of these Easter meetings click here. We hope you will join us as we celebrate all that Jesus accomplished on the cross.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Michael on behalf of our elders, pastors, and staff here at CF

03/26/2020 CF Update

We pray you are well during these unprecedented times of social distancing and global pandemic. In light of these words, it has never been more important to consider this prayer:

“Our Father, dwelling in heavenly realms, may the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn. Manifest your kingdom realm and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth, as it is fulfilled in heaven.”The Passion Translation

Manifesting the Kingdom looks like the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These fruits are not simply ways to act but are core to who we are as believers. The Spirit of God leads us and will continue to lead us. Of this, we are confident.

Although we cannot meet in large gatherings, church life continues, and we want to keep you informed, especially regarding our Sunday service and offering.

  • Sunday Service: We are now live streaming the entire service at 9 a.m. on Facebook and YouTube. If you need help viewing the live-stream, contact us by text at 573.445.8561 or by email. The service is recorded to view later if you are unavailable to join us at 9 a.m.
  • Tithes and Offerings: During this season, we encourage you to continue giving either online, by personal check, or by computerized check through your bank. Please use the following link for details: Giving During This Season.

Why continue to give? Please know that this is not intended to be a high-pressure exhortation. We understand that some, perhaps many, have experienced job loss and are financially stressed. Please let us know your situation, so we can pray and walk through this season with you.

For those who can continue to give or perhaps are able to even give more, I would like to encourage you that during this season:

  • It is worship to give. Our hope is in God.
  • While we can’t gather together in person each Sunday, our pastors and staff are working harder than ever. They have been amazing at rearranging, retooling, and creating new ways to engage online as a community in Bible studies, courses, virtual prayer sessions, and more in addition to live streaming the full service each Sunday.
  • Most of our staff and pastors are working diligently to reach out to our families and check-in with them. While we work from home, we are all involved in virtual meetings to maintain church life and care for those we are privileged to serve.
  • We expect to hear of many that have need, and we are preparing to serve them diligently through prayer, counsel, and finances if needed.
  • Our school ministry has fully launched and is now supporting remote learning for our nearly 300 students.
  • We are committed to keep everyone on staff and work through this season without layoffs. We believe that God desires us to be hope and peace-givers as we walk through this time with all of humanity.

Church life will continue, and God will bring us through. Together.

Grace and Peace,

Michael Acock
Executive Pastor

03/19/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Phil here.
Recently we’ve had to focus on communicating the suspension of all CF in-person activities, including Sunday services.

But today we are thrilled to announce what we CAN do together as a church family in this time of social distancing. Here are ways you can stay connected with our CF church family in this season:

  • ​Live Stream worship on Sundays at 9am on Facebook and YouTube (video will remain available after the service is over)
  • Participation in online groups and classes that are being launched
  • Be a part of our pastoral care plan to make sure people’s needs are met. Learn more and sign up here
  • Pray for and submit prayer requests here
  • Continue to participate by giving financially to care for CF operational needs and our people


Grace and Peace,
Pastor Michael on behalf of our Elders, Pastors and staff here at CF

03/17/2020 CF Update

Effective Wednesday, March 18, we will suspend all in-person Christian Fellowship activities for eight weeks or until social distancing is no longer needed. This is in line with what our government and health officials have stated in recent announcements. These measures are proactive to help keep the spread of this disease within the capacities of our healthcare facilities.

As a people who value genuine community and connectedness, we will not let the fact that we cannot meet in person keep us from being the body of Christ. CF staff and volunteers are currently working to create opportunities for us to meet using technology, including but not limited to phone calls, groups and classes using Zoom, online prayer, and live streaming of the Sunday service. We will be updating the website with these opportunities in the days to come.

We encourage all of our CF family to take this time of social distancing as an opportunity to be intentional with one another. Call, text or video chat with others. If you would like to be a part of CF’s outreach plan, please keep an eye out for future emails that will outline how you will be able to help.

Though this season will not be easy, we will have full faith that God is walking through it with us and has not left us on our own. We pray that our faith will be stirred up and made stronger. That through this we will become more like Christ through our intentionality with one another.

03/16/2020 CF Update

Good evening CF family. This week our staff, pastors, and elders are meeting and discussing what it looks like to be a church during this season of social distancing. As we look to live out discovering and developing a relationship with Jesus Christ in Community, our heart will not change, but the way we connect will look different. I am confident, however, the value for genuine community and connectedness will lead us to new and innovative ways to be the church.

How many of us live our daily lives is changing rapidly and this can cause discomfort, anxiety, fear and more. All of these are normal by the way; we are human. Our faith in our God guides our response to these emotions. My statement as we move forward is this: We will move with faith and not fear; full of precaution and wisdom for the sake of our brothers and sisters as well as our community at large. We have faith that God will use this time to knit us closer together (even if not in person) with not only other members of our families and church, but also our community as a whole.

In order to combat the sense of isolation, we will be implementing some pastoral care strategies and online community opportunities in addition to live stream of the Sunday worship and message. These strategies will include old fashion phone calls, online small groups and discussions, meeting practical needs, and more. We will roll opportunities as they become available and are working to mobilize anyone who has the time to reach out to fellow church members from their home.

With a nationwide health situation such as this, things change on a regular basis as more is learned. We will continue to up-date everyone as we have more information and are able to provide direction for our church community.

03/14/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Mike here.

03/10/2020 CF Update

Most of us are aware of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak that is occurring around the world, including parts of the United States. The first case of the virus in Missouri was reported the first weekend in March. We pray for everyone whose lives have been affected by this virus.

As a church family, we want to focus on being resilient in times of uncertainty. This includes accepting risk, managing fear, taking appropriate action, and communicating openly.

Since we have yet to have a confirmed case of the virus in Columbia, we are currently in the alert phase of this outbreak. This means that both Christian Fellowship Church and School have been following the information and guidance provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our local health department.

In this phase, schools and houses of worship are directed to follow basic hygiene practices to prevent infections of any respiratory virus. These preventative measures include:

  • Keep surface areas as clean as possible. Have soap and hand sanitizer containers readily available.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if exhibiting a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or an unexplained rash.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and place immediately in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid sharing glasses, water bottles, or silverware with others.

If a case of COVID-19 were discovered in connection with a student, church member, or staff member, we will notify everyone immediately. We will maintain communication with the local and state health departments and will follow their directives. To make sure you stay informed please make sure we have your most up-to-date contact information by filling out this quick form. If you are confirmed with COVID 19, please notify us in the church office at 573.445.8561. Your name will remain confidential as we share that there is a confirmed case accordingly.

Should the threat progress to where we are unable to maintain standard classroom instruction for our students, we are working on a continuity plan with systems for implementing video and online student learning. Should we be unable to hold public church services, we will continue to live stream our sermons on Facebook and Youtube. You can also submit your prayer requests online so they can be prayed over throughout the week.

Please help to keep our congregation and students safe by staying informed, practicing good hygiene, and keeping children home if they have been running a fever or are exhibiting signs of a fever. As we approach spring break, families are also encouraged to be aware of travel restrictions or high-risk areas.

Should you have any questions or concerns please reach out to us. If we can help answer a question or direct you to health services that will provide you answers, we will. Your questions will also help us a prepare future communications for all involved at Christian Fellowship.

As we respond with appropriate cautions regarding this virus, we continue to put our trust in the Lord and join with the Apostle John in praying, “that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

Coronavirus Resources

cfKidz Ministry Well Child Policy

When the following symptoms are present, a child should NOT be admitted to cfKidz ministry:

  • Fever > 100.4 in the last 24 hours,
  • Uncovered open sores,
  • Had more than 4 watery stools in the last 24 hours,
  • Vomited more than once in the last 24 hours,
  • A severe cough that causes them to get red or blue in the face,
  • Pink eye, tuberculosis, lice or scabies,
  • Chicken pox until all spots are crusted.

Children on antibiotics must have been on medication for 36 hours.

We realize that some children have gone for extended periods with a particular health problem. We desire to minister to the child and parent even when the child cannot be allowed into the nursery. We would encourage parents in this case to ask members of their small group to share their need by helping them care for the child in the overflow room or in the main auditorium.

Steps being taken by Christian Fellowship

Below are some of the steps Christian Fellowship is taking to make the school and church environments as hygienic as possible:

  • On a daily basis, our custodial staff cleans and disinfects all common areas, giving appropriate attention to restrooms, door handles, and water fountains.
  • Restrooms are monitored to ensure the soap dispensers are full, paper towels are available, and to address any cleaning or hygienic concerns.
  • Using disinfecting wipes, teachers and students clean classroom desks, tabletops, and door handles at least twice a day.
  • Keyboards and Chromebooks are cleaned with a disinfectant wipe after each use.
  • Lunchroom (multipurpose room) tables are sprayed and wiped with a disinfectant after every lunch shift.
  • Hand sanitizer bottles are available in every classroom and in each foyer of the building.
  • Students are directed to wash their hands frequently and particularly before lunch and after using the restroom.
  • We have ordered “foot pulls” for our restroom doors, so the use of door handles can be minimized.
  • On a daily basis, staff will disinfect all common surfaces giving appropriate attention to the restrooms, door handles, and kitchen/coffee bar in the church office.
  • Staff will monitor to ensure the soap dispensers are full and paper towels are available in the church office. If the restrooms need attention, please let them know immediately.
  • Office staff will be responsible to use disinfecting wipes on their office desks, tabletops, telephones, keyboards and other hard surfaces in their personal space.
  • Hand sanitizer bottles are available in the church office at the reception desk and the coffee bar. Staff and guests are encouraged to wash hands often and use sanitizer regularly.

We love our children, but recognize they are not known for following basic hygienic practices, but we do our best to instruct and direct them to do so. Please continuing praying God’s protection upon our community as we trust in Him for all things.