UPDATE | Wednesday 17 June, 2020
24th April, 2020
Dear Church Partners,
On behalf of the Elders (Mel Potter, Paul Campey, Kev Sheehan and Tim Cornish) I wanted to connect with you about a number of matters during this season of social isolation and church online
I pray that you and your families are adjusting to some form of new normal during this season and that Coast Community has been a helpful part of your lives at this time. If you have any needs that we can help you with or of you are feeling isolated or in need of pastoral support, please don’t hesitate to be in contact with the Elders or Ministry Leadership Team (MLT) through our website, https://www.coastcommunity.church/contact. It has been wonderful to hear the stories of neighbourly love in action and people connecting and supporting each other from throughout our church.
Our prayer for you is that you have found meaningful ways to connect with God (praying, reading His word, practicing spiritual disciplines you may have learnt on retreat etc.) and that in the difficulties that you are able to experience God as our provider, now and always.
Where are we at?
Our Ministry Leadership Team have done an incredible job in leading the transition to being an on-line church and we are so proud of how they have adapted to this challenge. Thanks to Kev for his strong leadership and vision through this change.
We hope that you have been able to access church online via www.coastcommunity.church, our YouTube channel, or Facebook. In addition, the church’s website enables you to access a range of other new initiatives and resources including the ‘Going Deeper’ chats following Sunday messages, weekly bible reading plans, home group resources, prayer requests, and Kids Connection online material. It has been wonderful that so many Home Groups have been able to meet online in some way.
Coast Community Care has also increased its support of community needs by offering emergency relief grocery vouchers. Coast Christian School has adapted well to online teaching, are still conducting enrolment interviews, and are eager to recommence face to face learning when able. Noah’s Ark Preschool has employed a new Early Childhood Teacher and is now currently full!
I thought you might also be encouraged to hear that we had more people access our Easter messages (Good Friday and Easter Sunday) than ever before with each service viewed by approximately 1,000 people! What good timing to encourage our community to engage in the “good life” found in being part of the Kingdom of God. As the world seeks meaning, understanding and purpose amidst this change and uncertainty, we are living testimony to the different, living-giving way of accepting Jesus and living in His Kingdom.
From a budget perspective, Brad and the MLT have been leading the change and adapting to the situation well. We have been blessed by Fresh Hope (the organisation that oversees the ministry of Churches of Christ in NSW and the ACT) who have been generous in their support of our church during this time, with advice, one-off grants and most particularly in deferring payments of our loans for a six month period. These acts of generosity have largely off-set losses of income from our tenants at this time who have faced challenges in their own organisations that have limited their ability to continue paying rent at agreed levels.
As for church, staffing expenses continue at the same levels for the time being in adapting to change and in preparation for return to physical services. Offerings, whilst strong in March, have dropped
slightly in April (broadly equivalent in value to the offerings usually collected in services on a Sunday – though not a direct correlation). If you would usually contribute your tithes and offerings physically at a church service on Sunday’s, we would encourage you to consider electronic giving. Thank you to those who have done this already. Our website is the place where you can easily set this up. https://www.coastcommunity.church/offerings Thank you for your regular tithes, offerings and one-off gifts. Overall, we feel blessed and are grateful to God for his ongoing provision.
Coast Community Church post-Coronavirus
It is our strong belief that such a time as this also brings opportunity and the Elders and Ministry Leadership Team believe that God is working through this season and we are expectant of change and growth in line with the annual theme that God has led us into. As the team prepares to lead us again in person once social distancing restrictions are eased, they are already considering strategies that will support this change and growth; this will include the continuation of some of the new inititiatives we have started in recent weeks . If you have any ideas that you would like to contribute to the discussion of ministry ideas or strategy moving forward, please don’t hesitate to email or to call one of the Ministry Leadership Team for a chat.
Ongoing Partner Support
Please continue to pray for the team as they lead in this time of change. As Kev and the team have said several times, our theme verse for the year – “Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense” Isaiah 54:2 NLT, has certainly been relevant and applicable, despite taking on a meaning only God could have foreseen. Please continue to pray about how this verse and the messages we have heard this year might apply to you and your personal situation.
Thanks so much for your partnership with us in being part of the Church on the Central Coast.
We look forward to being in church with you again shortly.
On Behalf of the Elders, Coast Community Church
If you are reading this letter through our web-site and you are not yet a Partner, please be encouraged and connect however you feel called. If you are interested in being a Partner of Coast Community Church, please visit https://www.coastcommunity.church/partnership
Update: 25 March 2020
A new week and a new set of Government requirements and stricter recommendations from health professionals as we navigate COVID19 together. In what seems like a contradiction, these days of isolation and distancing have presented us with opportunities to strengthen relationships and build community perhaps like never before.
This week, like last week, we are looking for new and imaginative ways to enlarge our house and spread out our home.
Be sure to stay well informed about requirements and recommendations, as they are changing rapidly. See: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
On March 23, the Department of Health issued a notice that all non-essential gatherings be discontinued. This includes places of worship, both indoors and outdoors. While it grieves us to stop meeting in person, our greater responsibility is to love one another and serve our community well by adhering the very best health advice at this time.
In response, we will not be conducting services, or any other ministries, on site at either Tumbi or Bensville campuses until further notice.
In the meantime, we are planning new initiatives to help us to stay focused on Christ and connected as His body in these testing days. Take a look…
Q: Will there be an online service?
A: Of course! We will publish a single service each Sunday morning from 9.30am at https://www.coastcommunity.church/live The messages will be recorded, so you can watch any time.
Q: What about kids programs?
A: Glad you asked! Kids programs and materials will be posted each week athttps://www.coastcommunity.church/kidsonline
Q: How will youth stay connected?
A: Nothing new here… keep in touch on social media.
Q: How will we know what’s going on each week?
A: These are great questions! Each week we will post a video message here: https://www.coastcommunity.church/updates which will include important updates as well as perhaps some questions and materials for your weekly home groups. We will also send links to these updates via SMS and email
Q: Are other activities taking place at Church during the week?
A: Unfortunately not. All non-essential gatherings have been cancelled until further notice. This includes craft groups, Woven, youth and kids ministries etc.
Q: Are we still going to try Home Church?
A: This is a tough one. With requirements around social distancing and non-essential gatherings getting tighter, gathering people in your home in this way is no longer permissible. Instead, you might want to connect via skype, hangouts or zoom either before or after the weekly message. We will pull together some tips for hosting a virtual home church… stay tuned!
Q: Is Home Church different to Home Group?
A: Seriously… these are very good questions! Yes – they are different. Home Church is gathering on a Sunday (ideally), either remotely or in-person, for a church service. Worship, a message and even communion are important parts of this gathering. Home Group, on the other hand, is mid-week and follows different formats in different groups. Some are for Bible study, others focus on conversation and prayer. Under these new restrictions however, gathering physically for Home Group is not allowed until the government lifts restrictions.
Q: What else can we do to stay connected?
A: Be intentional about picking up the phone checking in with each other. Think about people outside of your normal church connections. For example, who sits near you on a regular Sunday morning… do you have their number? Do you have a system or roster in your home group to check in with everyone?
Similarly, if you are the one feeling a little isolated and out of touch, please send a NOTE and we’ll be in touch.
Q: What if I have friends, neighbours or colleagues who are feeling disconnected?
A: You guys are good! Here is our chance to extend kindness in new and practical ways. Invite them for an ‘e-coffee’ over skype, or zoom or messenger etc. Perhaps invite them to watch a service online. And as far as it is safe and reasonable, extend whatever practical support you can.
As we navigate these strange days together, remember that we can have great confidence in our ever-present God. Listen to what the prophet Nahum says:
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
Coast Community Church
Ministry Leadership team