Christian Fellowship’s Weekly Update

March 10, 2020 By: Christian Fellowship

Last updated 09/16/2020

Christian Fellowship family,

​As Pastor Phil shared on Sunday, we are planning to relaunch our 11 am service in October, and we don’t want to do it without you! It’s no secret that CF wouldn’t be what it is without our many volunteers, especially those who have served faithfully throughout the pandemic.

To sustain a second service, however, we need more volunteers. If you are comfortable coming in-person, we want to encourage you to serve in some way. We need people to greet, usher, prepare communion, work with cfKidz, and be part of the worship community and production teams. It is amazing how much serving even one service a month can help!

​Whether you have volunteered with us in the past, or this is your first time, we encourage you to jump in.


Join us in serving together as one body.

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

Important Information + Resources

09/10/2020 CF Update

See video from Pastor Phil here.

As a church family, we have been praying and giving toward our new building in Chapel Hill Meadows for years. More recently, we’ve watched the ground being cleared, concrete being poured, and the steel going up.

And this month, we get to celebrate a significant milestone – collecting over $3 million toward the project. Specifically, our goal was to raise $17k in the seven weeks leading up to Labor Day. The good news – you gave over $40k for a total collection of $3.22 million to date!

And now we have the chance to celebrate as a church family. You’re invited to join us at the property from 5:30 – 7 pm on Friday, September 25, for prayer, worship, and a chance to tour the site.

As God reminds us in Ecclesiastes 11:1, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.”

09/03/2020 CF Update

See video from Pastor Donnie here.

Last week I shared about the importance of walking through life together as a community. This week, I want to encourage us to go a step further and live out the value of gentleness amidst the culture of outrage. To embrace loving others, and have the hard conversations, even when we don’t see eye to eye.

Some ways to grow in this with CF:

God created us as a diverse people, and he yearns for us to love those who are different than us, especially at times when it is hard or uncomfortable.

08/26/2020 CF Update

See video from Pastor Michael herehere.

The past six months have been full of challenges, anxiety, and fear. We want to take this time to remind you that you are not alone. We are a community here at Christian Fellowship and that means that we walk through things together. Both in the times of celebration and in the times of sorrow. If you are grieving or working through pain of any kind, we encourage you to let others come along side you.

​What can that look like at CF?

  • Sign up for a Healing Prayer session
  • Ask for prayer either online or outside after the service on Sunday mornings
  • Talk to your small group
  • If you aren’t a part of a small group, contact us and we will help you get connected

We also encourage you to reach out to those who may be struggling and check in on them. Together we believe we can not only make it through this season, but thrive, living a life full of the peace that only comes from a relationship with God.

08/20/2020 CF Update

As we move into the fall, we know many of you are still torn between whether to stay home or venture out in more public settings. As the church family, we want to provide spaces where we can gather safely while still connecting with each other face to face. Our heart is that everyone would discover and develop a relationship with Jesus in community, even if community looks a little different in this season.

You can find a full list of groups, classes, and events on our website, but here are a few opportunities we’d like to highlight:



  • “Union with Christ” book discussion led by Pastor Clay
  • “Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy” book discussion led by Deb Schaefer
  • Church History class led by Pastor Donnie
  • Discovering CF led by staff


  • Prayer with Pastor Clay
  • Healing Prayer – sign up for an intentional prayer session in-person or on Zoom
  • Sunday morning prayer outside in the church parking lot after the service

08/13/2020 CF Update

See groups and classes teaser trailerhere.

Although we are still working out the final details, we are too excited to keep it a secret any longer. We have several classes planned this fall that will begin after Labor Day! Connecting can be hard during this season, so these small gatherings are a great way to experience community with others while growing in your faith. Here are a few of the classes you can look forward to:

  • Church History with Pastor Donnie Berry
  • Book discussion on “Dark Clouds Deep Mercy” by Mark Vroegop with Deb Schaefer and Lori Galaske
  • Book discussion on “Union with Christ” by Rankin Wilbourne with Pastor Clay Spencer

Keep an eye out for more about these and other groups, classes, and events happening this fall here on our website!

08/06/2020 CF Update

See video from Pastor Michael herehere.

“Noah built and the rain came, but he didn’t have a promise of rain. We’re building and I believe the crowds will come.”

It feels strange to be building a new church facility when we cannot fully gather in our current building due to COVID-19. But we have faith that after this season has passed, we will meet again and that our church family will grow to fill the space God is giving us.

We are currently working toward the goal of raising $17k in seven weeks, with the hope of reaching our $3 million mark and celebrating together in September. We are excited to announce that in the last couple of weeks we have already raised over $11,000 toward this goal. Thank you to everyone who has participated!

If you have not yet been part of our Increasing our Influence initiative, we invite you to pray into what it would look like to join in with us. Practically, to reach $17k, each family would need to donate $8 a week for seven weeks. You can learn more and give financially towards our new building HERE.

07/16/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Donnie here.

“For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes. 3:1

No matter what you may be going through, we want you to know that you are not alone. Your pastors, staff, and CF church family are here for you in times of laughter, times of tears, and everything in between.

Maybe you are like me and have felt laughter, tears, love, and frustration all at the same time. This season is about finding one another and trusting, hoping, and being with one another. God’s presence is most often understood through His body expressing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Like Pastor Donnie said, things are different, but we will figure out how to do life together in new and creative ways during this season. Here are some practical ways:

Personal Prayer and Ministry for one another:

Celebrations that we can share in together:

Worship and Teaching that we can engage in together:

I’m excited to come alongside one another as the body of Christ and walk through this time together.
NOTICE: Due to a positive COVID-19 case among the staff, as a precautionary measure, the office is closed until July 22. The staff is working from home, but will be checking phone messages and emails. Sunday services will continue as usual. We appreciate so many of you letting us know how you are praying for us as we work to serve our church family. Thanks!

07/09/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Phil here.

Many of us may be more used to translations of 1 Corinthians 13 where the word love is used instead of charity, but our use of this version was very purposeful. The Merriam-Webster definition of charity is “the benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity.”

More than ever I believe we need to press into what is the church – or rather, who is the church? In this season, we understand to a greater a degree that we are the church. Buildings and properties and gatherings are wonderful tools to facilitate expressions of worship, fellowship, and ministry one to another, however, “they will know you by your love for one another” is the way Jesus says the church will be known – not by names of organizations or addresses.

So, in a day when for public health reasons we are not able to gather in locations, our call to love one another has not changed. Love for one another is really a 24/7 thing. Ephesians 5:19 says, “keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit!” Why? Because we are full of the Holy Spirit (vs 18).

Let us not let the spirit of this time, the spirit that wants to disrupt our lives, be the thing that guides us and causes our actions. Rather, let charity be our guide in these days so that love may abound among us.

07/01/2020 CF Update

See video announcement from Pastor Phil here.

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.

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.


  • 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


  • 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

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.