IMPORTANT: Here are the latest updates regarding our response to the Coronavirus

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Regarding Coronavirus

Church Family - Please find current updates below

April 2

As we make our way toward the weekend, we wanted to update you on a few items. This week we want to give you an overview of the regular communication and resources you will find from us.

SUNDAY

Realizing that our local shelter-at-home order continues until April 24, and the President has recommended we discontinue any gatherings until April 30 (Jackson County orders disallow meetings over 10 people until May 15), we don’t believe we should try and guess and try to communicate each week how long we will not be able to gather. Until local authorities have removed their current requirements, SWBC will not hold any public in-person gatherings. As soon as these restrictions are lifted (even if it is on a Saturday!), we plan to gather together.

Until then, we will continue to provide our teaching and suggestions for Sunday online.

MONDAY – “THINK ON THESE THINGS”

Each Monday, look for an email from us called, “Think on These Things” (Philippians 4:8). We will make a few suggestions of articles to read, songs to sing, sermons you can listen to, helps for Bible study, and links for official information about current statistics. Our greatest hope is for us all to keep our hearts filled with helpful Christ-centered content.

TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY

Look for our Mid-Week Bible study. Dalton Vansell is teaching through 2 Timothy and we will make his Bible studies available to you through our website.

GSM groups are still meeting each week to discuss the application of the word and pray for each other. We have an adult study where we will do the same. If you are interested in joining, let us know and we’ll send you the link to join the video/phone group.

THURSDAY

Each Thursday, look for a short video providing you all of the latest ministry updates we have. Especially watch for next week as we anticipate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. We will still aim to provide suggestions for in-home worship and video sermons for both Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

FRIDAY

In addition to our weekly email newsletter, we are going to try something new. As another means of biblical touchpoint, we will host an afternoon Bible Q/A chat. We’ll send out a link to our members for a video/phone call where you can ask and Pastor Bret will do his best to answer questions you have about the Bible. Feel free to send out the link each week to anyone you would want to invite into the conversation. You can also send in questions by email (bret@swbcls.org) if you like.

IN GENERAL

AWANA Parents, keep working on verses with your kids each week and keep track of their progress. Kids will still be able to receive end-of-the-year acknowledgements of their progress for the 2019-2020 AWANA season.

Also, don’t forget to use our SWBC Spotify account. It is free to use and is full of all of the songs we sing together every Lord’s Day. It is a great way to learn new songs, and sing those songs we look forward to singing out together when our gatherings resume.

Thank you all for your generosity in supporting the ministry of SWBC not only financially but also through your prayers, phone calls, video conferences, and creative ways to encourage one another. It is an honor to serve the Lord alongside each of you.

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March 27

Here are a few items to consider related to SWBC ministry this week: 

SUNDAY 

As a reminder, this coming Sunday, March 29, 2020, the facility will remain closed, but we will look to post a recording of the morning sermon by 9:00 am and we plan to continue our regular study of the book of Hebrews (6:13-20).  

As a reminder, we have sermon study material you can download and use through the week that will take you through an inductive study of the passage in preparation for the message on Sunday.  

In addition, we will continue to post suggestions for Scripture reading, songs, and prayers you can make use of in your home with your family or for personal prayer and meditation. 

We encourage our Growth Groups to utilize online means (we sent instructions on using Zoom to all leaders) to meet with members to discuss the application of the message, pray, and follow up with each other on a weekly basis. 

WEEKLY MINISTRY 

Due to the Shelter-in-place order by Jackson County, the office has been closed and the staff are all working from home until the order is lifted. We are still answering the main line (it is forwarded to us) and staff will be responding to email, phone messages, making calls and sending notes to members. You can still reach any of the staff throughout the day. 

Sam Walker is communicating with our families in how to maintain progress with AWANA, as well as how to develop ongoing family discipleship and worship times. This is an excellent time to capitalize on these helpful opportunities. 

Our Mid-Week Ministry of GSM and the Adult Study are cancelled this week. However, beginning next Wednesday evening, we will begin a Mid-Week Bible study, where Dalton Vansell will be teaching through the book of 2 Timothy. He has been teaching this book to the students on Wednesday evenings for the past few weeks, and we will begin to make video of this teaching available to all our church body (beginning April 1, 2020). We will provide information on how interested adults can be involved in virtual discussion of the content as well as pray for one another. 

GSM student leaders will also be communicating with small group leaders in how to use video conferencing to discuss the message and follow up with students’ small groups. 

Beginning next Friday (April 3), for as long as we are unable to meet as a congregation, we will publish a Bible Q&A video and blog. We encourage members to send Bible questions to Pastor Bret (bret@swbcls.org) and we will begin putting together a short video responding to questions we receive. This is just another way to help us all think on God’s word through the week. 

So, starting next week, look for a ministry update on Monday, a Tuesday email of online resources that we think would spiritually assist you, the Mid-Week Bible Study in 2 Timothy on Wednesday, and a Friday Bible Q&A video.  

ONGOING DISCIPLESHIP  

Discipleship is a constant emphasis in our church. During these days where we are not allowed to get together in large or small group settings, we still want to see existing discipling relationships flourish and perhaps new ones begin. 

Our elders and staff will be contacting members throughout the week, seeking how to pray and serve any unique needs during this time. If you know of a specific need from one of our members, please don’t hesitate to let us know (elders@swbcls.org or staff@swbcls.org), or fill out the online form we have created and we will follow up quickly with it. 

We are also reaching out to area churches to learn of ways we can pray for them and their members and will be communicating these to you through our Suggestions for Sunday posts each week. 

We encourage you to make use of our Summit Woods Spotify playlist. It includes all of the songs we sing throughout the year congregationally. Play it during the day while you work, during some down time, in a quiet time, or listen while you are on a walk in the neighborhood. 

This week, Dawson made available a document that gives step-by-step instruction on how to use the online video conferencing tool, Zoom. We have found it to be the easiest and cheapest (free) way to conduct one on one or group video chats. Elders will be using it to conduct membership interviews; Ironmen and Titus 2 groups should look into it to keep up with one another; Student ministry is using it for their small groups to meet each week; Growth Groups could use it for weekly meetings as well. 

In short, while we are sheltering-in-place, we don’t have to remain completely disconnected from each other. We can still read the word together, follow up on reading we are doing, responses to the sermons, ways to pray, and even pray for one another in ongoing ways.  

If we can be of assistance to you in working out the technical bugs, feel free to let us know (staff@swbcls.org).  

ENCOURAGEMENT 

Let me encourage you during these abnormal times, to normalize as much of your life and schedule as you can. Our family is finding it helpful to have a regular schedule that tries to maintain much of our normal routines. We still begin each day at breakfast with one another where we read the upcoming sermon passage together, talk through it, sing a hymn and pray. We have now added reading a psalm and praying through it just before we go to bed each evening, wanting God’s word more than the nightly news to be on our minds. Whatever works best for you in your context, we pray that you are not only using your time well for God’s glory and others’ good, we pray you can establish some normal to your abnormal days. Cultivate gratitude (Ephesians 5:20) during days filled with somber news. Deepen your prayer life for each other and your fellowship with the Lord. These days can actually be ones of spiritual progress rather than discouraging regress. We love you and are walking through this with you. And just so you know, I still really miss seeing you each week. 

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March 20

Friends

Since our update this past Wednesday, Jackson County has clarified and amended its statements regarding group events during this period of a state of emergency. While not applied exclusively to religious groups, the county, in concert with other surrounding governing agencies have removed the exemption of faith-based or religious activities from their original state of emergency.  

With that amendment, the elders at SWBC are amending our previous statements encouraging Growth Group leaders and discipleship groups to consider how they might meet together during the state of emergency.   

We are asking all of our discipleship groups, Growth Groups, and any other small group gathering connected with our church to not meet over the next two weeks.  

Instead, we do encourage such groups to consider alternative ways to keep up with one another through video conferencing, phone calls, email, texting, and other social media options available  

Video meetings can be conducted using a number of free software options such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom (free accounts are limited to 40 minutes) and many others. While these are unprecedented days, we have access to unique means of staying in touch with each other.   

Of course, we are encouraging all of us to find some way we can keep up with one another, especially to discern any unique challenges any of our members may be facing. Again, if you learn of a unique need, please communicate that to us by email (elders@swbcls.org), or through our newly created online form that will allow us to discern the best way the resources of our church can be used to assist. Know that we are looking at every option available to us to be able to aid our members, especially those who will find themselves out of work and in potential financial need during these days.  

Know of our love for you and our prayers for each of you as we navigate through these new and very choppy waters.  

______________________________________________________

March 18 (Amended March 20)

After considerable prayerful conversation, the elders of Summit Woods are taking the following steps in response to requests, recommendations, and prohibitions from health and governing agencies. These are certainly unique days we are living in and we will do our best to respond in a thoughtful, measured, and biblical manner. While many declarations have called for large groups not to gather for the next eight weeks, we will be making those decisions week to week, assessing the developments, recommendations, and prohibitions as they tend develop and change very rapidly. As of today, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, we are taking steps that will reshape what our gatherings will look like for the remainder of March. We will certainly be providing further updates well in advance of future dates.

We encourage our members not to minimize the seriousness of the spread of this virus. As health officials are indicating, the social distancing recommendations are to minimize the spread and thus minimize the strain it may have on our medical system.

GATHERINGS

SUNDAY MORNING & EVENING GATHERINGS

In light of recent local government restrictions, national government and health care officials’ recommendations, SWBC will cancel our in-person Sunday morning and evening gatherings through March 29, 2020. Instead, we will publish a video of our regular morning sermon, along with suggestions that small groups and/or families can utilize for singing, prayer, giving, and responding. Sermon Study material will be communicated and available at the beginning of each week for individuals to use in order to study the passage that will be taught on the Sunday to come. We will aim to have the sermon published on our website and available by audio and transcribed video by 9:00 am on Sunday (note: the church facility will not be open Sunday, or at the time when the sermon will be recorded).

Jackson County has clarified and amended its statements regarding group events during this period of a state of emergency. While not applied exclusively to religious groups, the county, in concert with other surrounding governing agencies have removed the exemption of faith-based or religious activities from their original state of emergency. 

We are asking all of our discipleship groups, Growth Groups, and any other small group gathering connected with our church to not meet over the next two weeks. 

Instead, we do encourage such groups to consider alternative ways to keep up with one another through video conferencing, phone calls, email, texting, and other social media options available 

Video meetings can be conducted using a number of free software options such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom (free accounts are limited to 40 minutes) and many others. While these are unprecedented days, we have access to unique means of staying in touch with each other.

We will communicate any further notices about future gatherings on or just after March 30.

SUNDAY 9:00 AM EQUIPPING CLASSES, STUDENT MINISTRY, & CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

All regular Sunday 9:00 am ministries will also be suspended through March 29, with more information about resuming in the future to come on or just after March 30. Our aim will be to have classes to resume as soon as possible, with teachers collaborating together as to what changes should be made to the schedule. At this point, we have not made any decisions about class schedules or content beyond March 29.

MID-WEEK & MINISTRY THROUGHOUT THE WEEK

All Wednesday ministry activities (GSM, AWANA, Adult Discipleship, Elder Training, etc.), will be suspended until April 1, 2020, upon which further communication about future ministry will be provided.

Furthermore, because it would create an unhelpful environment for us to maintain, the church facility will not be available for small group meetings on Sunday or through the week, including all Mid-Week meetings, Titus 2 Groups, Ironmen, and other group discipleship meetings.

ADDITIONAL UPCOMING MEETINGS

Outside groups, such as Bible Study Fellowship and Classical Conversations have been notified that the facility is unavailable for the next two weeks, minimally. We will communicate with these groups regularly as to meeting status.

Our scheduled SWBC Weekender will be cancelled for March 27-29. The elders will give consideration to the possibility of rescheduling at a future date.

Our scheduled Membership Matters class for March 28 will be cancelled and we will communicate a future date when the elders believe it is wise and safe for such groups to begin meeting again.

Our scheduled Membership Meeting for March 29 will be suspended, and we will communicate a future date for it being rescheduled.

ELDERS AND STAFF MEETINGS/OFFICE HOURS

As of now, our office remains open for staff to work and individuals to meet with staff (M-Th 8:30 am to 4:30 pm). Elders and staff will continue to meet at the office or by video/audio conference for their regularly scheduled meetings. Staff will monitor the phones for messages and return calls as quickly as possible, even after office hours.

CARING FOR MEMBERS

The elders and staff will be making specific and regular contact by email and phone to members each week. Staff will aim to make visits to hospitals when and where medical personnel permit it, and it is in the best interest of the one being treated. We also encourage Growth Group leaders to make regular contact with the members to assess needs and communicate them to Dawson Bryant as soon as possible.

In addition, an online form for members to communicate personal or known needs has been created. All submissions will be sent to our Deacon of Congregational Care, Jonathan Jackson and he will arrange the appropriate contact and response to them as they come in.

COMMUNICATION

The elders and staff will continue to communicate with members through our online options (Facebook, email, website, REMIND, and our weekly Newsletter). If you are not signed up for any of these, please contact the church office so we can include you on all or any of these venues. If you know of those who are not using or do not have access to such means of communication, please encourage them to sign up or let us know in the church office and we will do our best to contact them by phone.

FINANCES

As of Monday, March 16, 2020, at the recommendation of our Finance Team, all non-essential expenses have been suspended. Essential expenses include payroll, utilities, and contractual obligations. Any exceptions to this suspension will be made in writing before the expense is incurred (both credit card expenses and/or reimbursements). Pastor Bret will review these with Brett Harris, chairman of the elders, for approval, delay, or non-approval. Current and future capital improvement projects will be suspended until further notice.

Currently, our church is in a strong financial position and we do not have present cause for alarm. We have an unrestricted cash reserve of about two and half months, and we have access to additional capital if necessary.

We also know that this time will create financial challenges for some of our members. If you have need, please communicate that need to us directly, or if you become aware of a need by one of our members, please use the online form for making needs known. We will do our best to assess the best solution, including wise use of our benevolence fund.

We encourage our members to keep in mind that the stewardship of our resources in regular giving to the work of the church is a statement of our trust in the Lord, whether in financially strong or weak times. Please consider before the Lord your ongoing giving during these challenging times. Please note the giving options below.

GIVING OPTIONS

NORMAL GIVING OPTIONS

Our church offices remain open during the week and members should feel free to bring their offerings by during operating hours or send a check in by mail. Members should also consider having their bank send payments to the church through their bank’s automated bill-pay services.

ONLINE GIVING

The church has established an online giving option through our website. This option allows members to give by credit card or with an e-check through their bank account. During the period that we are not meeting, those giving online can elect to have all of their gift go toward supporting the ministry by offsetting the processing fee with an additional amount, or the church’s general budget will absorb the processing fee. When the church begins to gather again on Sundays, processing fees will be added to gifts given online.

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March 13

In light of the recent national, state, and local emergency declarations combined with Eastern Jackson County's request for gatherings larger than 250 people to suspend meeting, SWBC will be replacing our regular in-person gatherings this Sunday, March 15, with a video steam of the sermon.

This means that there will be no meeting at the church facility this Sunday (we will assess each week as we move forward). We will also assess the situation regarding mid-week activities day to day. In addition, we will be cancelling our Ministry Training Day tomorrow (Saturday). Other future events on our calendar will be assessed on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis and communicated as quickly as possible.

We recognize that these steps are unprecedented and will create a number of challenges for our congregation. However, because this is a national, regional, and local health crisis, we believe it to be the best expression of honoring the governing authorities God has ordained (Romans 13), and an appropriate expression love for one another and our community (Matthew 22:37-40).

As stated previously, in place of our Sunday morning gathering, we encourage you to set aside time as a family or in small groups to pray, sing, read and discuss God's word together (Resources for Sunday, March 15). We will be providing suggested songs, and passages to consider. At 11:00 am, the regular Sunday message (Hebrews 6:9-12) will be streamed through our church's web page. We encourage you to read, sing, and pray together, then join us at 11:00 am online for the morning message.

Also, we will leave it up to the discretion of each Growth Group if they desire to meet this Sunday. Groups should feel free to watch the message online and still gather together to discuss its application, pray, and fellowship together.

We encourage you to keep in regular contact with one another, especially with some of our older members, members who have been ill recently, and those who have been hospitalized. Also be sensitive to and aware of the financial burden this time may create for some of our members. If you know of needs, please feel free to communicate them to the staff (staff@swbcls.org), and/or elders (elders@swbcls.org).

The church office will remain open through the week and staff will be working and available during our normal office hours (M-Th 8:30 am to 4:30 pm). These days can create a time of financial strain on the church as well, so we encourage our members to consider bringing their regular giving to the church office or mailing it directly.

During these days, encourage one another with God's word, thoughts on the goodness of his perfect wisdom, deep love, and ultimate sovereignty. He is trustworthy. Allow the world to see His impact on our hearts through our responses throughout these days.

On behalf of the elders and staff,

Bret Capranica

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March 12

The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to garner global attention as the disease spreads and is now beginning to impact life more locally to us here in Lee’s Summit. As the outbreak is having almost daily, if not hourly impact, our elders and staff are staying abreast of the latest information produced by our local and national governments as well as information from the Center for Disease Control.

As of this moment, SWBC plans to continue with our regularly scheduled Ministry Training Day this Saturday, and our normal gatherings on Sunday. However, as with weather-related announcements, SWBC will communicate any changes through our REMIND text service, Facebook, email, and the home page of our Web-site. Please check these sources for any communication of changes as we are continuing to monitor guidance from local and state officials; those changes could be last minute decisions.

Our staff and volunteers at SWBC will be diligent to ensure the facility is appropriately cleaned and provide adequate means for sanitization.

We urge our members and guests to take recommended precautions. Older adults with serious chronic medical conditions including heart and lung disease and/or diabetes, should take specific precautions. All others should continue to be mindful of recommended procedures to prevent illness.

As believers, our hope is in the Lord (Psalm 46). We govern our thinking not by the waves of cultural reaction (Philippians 4:6-8), but the steady and sure confidence we have that our God reigns and is ruling over all things (Psalm 103:19). Our lives are in his hands, and he calls us to be wise in our stewardship of all he entrusts to us, loving our neighbors, and resting in the goodness of his sovereign purposes. Our responses are a witness to our world.