May 16, 10:15 AM
Dear Church Family,
This coming Sunday, we will begin to implement Phase 2 of our back-to-church plan. We are making these changes while consulting and cooperating with other churches, following state guidelines, and receiving guidance from our own leadership team.
This Sunday, we will be providing nursery and preschool programs during our 10:30 service only. We are asking for all those families who will be dropping off infants and preschool-age children to enter the building through the back (east) doors of the church. All other families and individuals, please continue to enter through the north and south portico doors.
At this time, we will continue providing two services, utilizing every other row, cleaning and sanitizing between services, and our ushers will direct you to a pew. Until we are able to move to Phase 3, please continue to enter and exit the church facilities promptly, do not congregate in the foyer or hallways, maintain social distance from non-family members, and refrain from handshaking. We do not have a hard timeline for moving to Phase 3, but you can anticipate that we will continue in Phase 2 until at least the first of June.
Thank you for your patience and continued good attitude as we work our way back to a new normal. We had a tremendous Wednesday night service, and I am looking forward to seeing even more of you on Sunday. We will continue to provide streaming services for the most-vulnerable of our church family, and encourage you to join us this Sunday morning online.
April 26, 11:30 AM
Return To Church Plan
Over the past several weeks, we have faced a unique challenge as individuals and as a church family in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. In choosing to participate in the national and global strategies to slow the spread of the disease, we chose to meet together by holding online church services for the past 7 weeks. Though challenging, I feel we have proven ourselves faithful and resilient during this time, and have grown as a church family and staff.
This past week, both our president and governor have given churches the approval to assemble together again. While we do not believe it is the state or federal government's decision to tell us whether we can meet together or not, we have decided to cooperate with their guidelines in the spirit of Romans 13. Also, we have wanted to make every effort to mitigate the spread of the disease in our own church family.
So, after consultation with our leadership team, other pastors, and local officials, we have decided we will assemble together again physically beginning Sunday, May 3rd. Our format will continue to be modified to provide greater protection and safety for our church membership. We will phase into our normal routine and format over the next weeks, and I am asking for your continued patience and cooperation as we make our way back to normalcy.
PHASE 1 PLAN
Two Sunday morning services at 9:00am and 10:30am.
No Sunday evening services for a week or two.
We will also meet together on the church property Wednesday evening, May 6th at 7pm.
Online streaming services will continue indefinitely. We do not want those with greater health risks or compromised immune systems to feel pressured to come back to church immediately. Everyone should have a plan and timeline to come back to church, but we want you to phase back in as you feel safe doing so.
Please attend our online services if you are currently sick or have symptoms of illness such as coughing or fever.
Our ushers and greeters will be wearing masks, and please feel free to wear one if you would like to, although masks are not mandatory to attend.
We ask that you refrain from shaking hands and hugging at this time.
There will be two entrances open into the building. You may enter at the North or South portico doors at either side of the foyer.
We will only be utilizing every other pew in our auditorium to allow for social distancing. We are asking space to be maintained at all times between non-family members while on the church property.
Entrance into and out of the building will be controlled by our ushers. Family members must enter the building together if they wish to sit together. All services will be family services. Nurseries and children’s services will not be provided during Phase 1.
You will be escorted to your seat by an usher. Please maintain an arm's length of distance between non-family members while seated in the pews.
Once seated, please remain seated and minimize movement in the auditorium.
Offerings can be given in the foyer, or you can continue to give online. No handouts or bulletins will be distributed at this time.
You will be dismissed by row at the conclusion of the service.
Please do not congregate in the foyer after service.
The facilities will be sanitized between services, and hand sanitizer stations will be accessible as you enter and leave the building.
IMPORTANT SERVICE INFORMATION
We are suggesting that the Prime Time, Freedom, Open Door, Compass, and Heritage classes meet during the 9:00am service. Please arrive between 8:40 and 8:55.
We are encouraging the Journey, Synergy, YMC, and the Married Life classes meet at 10:30. Please arrive between 10:10 and 10:25.
We will have one service on Wednesday nights beginning May 6th, which will start at 7:00. Please arrive between 6:40 and 6:55.
These are suggestions and are not mandatory. However, once auditorium seating becomes full, we will use rooms 206 and 208 as overflow rooms.
Room 143 will be used as a cry room. We are shortening our services to accommodate these family services, but do ask if your baby or children are disruptive, please use the cry room.
Please be patient with these necessary modifications as we phase back into meeting together. Normalcy will return in time. Please understand we are simply trying to make everyone feel safe, limit liability, and act responsibly toward each other and our community.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
Update April 15, 12:00 PM
I want to provide our church family with an update on our response to COVID-19, and give a word of encouragement as we make our way through these challenging days.
Because of our love for one another, and a mindset to participate in our nation's strategy to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus, we have chosen not to assemble together physically for the past few weeks. However, I believe we have still been able to maintain our strong sense community, we have been unbelievably faithful in our giving and demonstrating support for our church, and we have worked hard at staying connected in safe in responsible ways. I have nothing but words of commendation and gratitude for the way we are navigating this challenge.
I do not know when our leadership team will feel it appropriate and responsible for us to meet under the same roof again. I hope we might be able to assemble sometime during May, even if in a modified format. However, there is the very real possibility we might not be able to do that until the month of June.
With that reality in mind, I want to encourage you to continue to give your best effort toward staying connected via our online services, through your Adult Bible Classes, and through your personal efforts in reaching out to others.
As the weeks go by, the temptation to fall out by the way or to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (in this modified format) might become very real. Forsaking is the intentional neglect of meeting together; falling out by the way speaks of an incremental drift away from the right path.
My exhortation during these next few weeks is, let’s not forsake or be slack about meeting together in our online format. I believe there is great value and importance in assembling unitedly, albeit in our separate homes, at 10:30 on Sundays and 7pm on Wednesdays. Doing this allows us to meet together, even while we are physically separated. So, please continue in your faithful attendance and participation in these services. Don’t allow convenience to substitute for dedication and commitment. Let’s not grow slack in our giving, our efforts to stay connected, or in maintaining our relationship with the Lord.
I love each of you! We are all in this together, and are doing a great job. Let’s keep it up and pray we can be back in our church building soon.
Update March 25, 7:45 PM
Dear Church Family,
With the continued spread of COVID-19, and the recent executive order by our Governor for all non-essential businesses to close for the next 21 days, our online services of necessity will continue for a few more weeks.
On Tuesday, President Trump said that he would like to see churches open to hold services by Easter, but this timeline conflicts with our Governor's recent order, so our expectations of meeting on Easter or before should be muted. Each state is in a slightly different progression of the spread of the Coronavirus, so adjustments of when we can meet together again will depend—in some measure—on what is happening here in Oklahoma. Nationwide, the pandemic continues to escalate, and therefore decision making and adjustments will be fluid.
So, let me encourage you to resolve yourselves in a greater way to continue to be faithful to our church by participating in our online services on Sundays and Wednesdays. Maintain the habit and discipline of viewing the services at their scheduled times, and talking about the messages with your family. It is important that we connect with others by engaging in communication and fellowship with those in our Sunday School classes and church family through safe and creative ways.
We are expanding our attempt to connect with our church family by the addition of children’s videos on our YouTube channel and a dedicated Facebook page. We will be utilizing the Zoom teleconferencing tool for our teens, so they can meet in small groups on the web, and we are encouraging greater communication from our Sunday School teachers and department leaders.
We also want to make sure we are made aware of any needs or concerns you might have during this time. There are some in our church family who have recently lost their jobs, and we want to pray with you and make sure we are doing all we can to help. Some are facing health issues and procedures that need our prayers. If you are simply lonely and feeling isolated, please let us know so we can arrange a visit for you and someone to talk to. If you have any prayer requests or special concerns, please contact your Adult Bible Class teacher, children’s teacher, or the church office, and let us know so we can add you to our prayer list, and direct you to someone who can assist you.
Let’s apply the message we heard tonight from Jeremiah 29 by making the most of our present situation. All of us can trust in the Lord in a greater way and use this time to grow in our faith. We can grow in our appreciation for our church family and look forward to meeting together soon. Let’s make sure we do not take for granted how easy it was to meet before this crisis, by resolving to meet together online, and then even more faithfully when we can assemble physically again.
The staff and I love each of you,
Update March 22, 9:00 AM
Dear Eastland Family,
As we prepare to gather together this morning for our first Sunday morning service online, I would like to offer a couple of thoughts to make the experience more meaningful.
First, let’s all be together in spirit by meeting at 10:30 am this morning. Even though our service remains posted online and can be watched at a later time, let’s maintain the discipline of meeting at a shared time, knowing our entire church family is gathered together in their homes, all worshipping at the same time.
Secondly, during the service time, minimize distractions. While participating in the service, let’s put away our cell phones, minimize conversation, and give attention in a reverent and meaningful way to the singing and preaching time.
Thirdly, let me encourage you to personally participate by taking notes, giving your offering online or writing out your check to be mailed later, and praying together as a family at the conclusion of the service. This can be a unique and special time in our homes, and an opportunity to train our children that God and His church are a priority, even when we cannot meet together. Instead of allowing this challenge to minimize our commitment, let’s purpose in our hearts to utilize this time as an opportunity to make the Lord an even greater priority in this challenging time.
Finally, reach out and contact or connect with someone in our church family today. While our ability to fellowship may be limited in one way, we can still maintain connection in other ways. Send a text of encouragement to 3 or 4 friends. Share our service link with someone who may not have a church home or is isolated during this time. Consider creative ways to be a personal help or blessing to someone in our church or your community. Let’s all continue to think of others, and do what we can to still be salt and light in the coming days.
March 17, 5:00 PM
I trust that by now you have read Pastor’s commentary regarding our response to the COVID-19. If not, please take the time to do so on our website at: eastlandbaptist.org.
I want to inform you of a few items as they relate to our operations in the weeks ahead:
1) Online Services
Services will be held online, Wednesdays at 7 pm and Sundays at 10:30 am.
Services will begin on time, just like they do each week.
Currently our website is under construction as we make these changes and will be ready by service time tomorrow evening.
You can join online services by going to our website and clicking on the “Online Services” button on the home screen.
Or, if you have a smart TV, you can go to our YouTube channel: “Eastland Baptist Church Tulsa” and view the service there.
2) Online Giving
You can still give online through our website by clicking on the “give” tab at the top.
Also, checks and cash can be mailed to the church or dropped off at the office Monday through Thursday between 9 am and 4 pm.
We want you to continue being a help and support to others. Invite people to view our online services and be aware of needs that others may have during this uncertain time. If you become aware of needs that you cannot meet, please notify the staff.
This a time to be especially thoughtful about our church family and people who may not be as closely connected.
If you know of someone who is not on our churchwide text thread and would benefit by the information being shared, simply instruct them to sign-up by texting: “JOINEBC” to 474747.
Additionally, all updates will be posted to our website and can be viewed at any time.
If you have questions, our staff is standing by to help in any way we can.
We look forward to being together online, tomorrow evening at 7 pm.
March 17, 9:00 AM
Dear Eastland Family,
We are all aware of the rapidly changing situation being caused by COVID-19. There are reports across our country of escalating measures being taken to protect our population from this virus. Our President and local leaders, in cooperation with the CDC and health officials, are asking all Americans to avoid socially gathering in groups larger than 10 people for the next 14 days.
After meeting with our deacons, trustees, and staff last night, it was unanimously agreed upon that we should move our service meetings to an online streaming format for the remainder of March. We will evaluate and monitor this situation each week, and will be in continued communication with you.
If you have not yet listened to my Sunday morning message where I communicated our heart and motives for ongoing decisions, please do so. Here is the link:
I want to strongly encourage you not to view this as the forsaking of assembling ourselves together. We are not deciding in antagonism or indifference not to meet. Rather, we are trying to honor a reasonable request made by the authorities God has in place, demonstrate genuine love and care for those in our own church and community who may be in greater health risk, and share a spirit of cooperation with our nation in combating the spread of COVID-19.
This is a time for us to all draw together as a church and be strengthened in our commitment to each other and the Lord. The staff and deacons will continue to be available to you for any needs at all times. Our Helping Hands ministry can assist anyone with special needs, whether it is getting necessary groceries, etc., or providing help in your home.
The office will be open to take calls, and of course you can email us at anytime with questions or concerns.
This is new and uncharted territory for us, so please have a heart of understanding, cooperation, and grace. I would ask each of you to give effort and attention to other members in our church as much as possible. I'm asking our adult and children’s teachers to stay connected with all of you and be aware of your concerns and needs.
We need to love each other in the greatest possible ways in the days ahead. Eastland pulls together in difficult times, and I expect this to be no different. We have always been our best in the most difficult times.
Finally, I would ask that you be faithful to your commitments in tithes and offerings. Our obligations and commitments should not change because of this temporary crisis. We still have monetary obligations to staff, missionaries, building payments, and all of our associated ministries. We have staff who can help you with online giving, or you can mail in your tithes and offerings to the church at:
1835 S 129th E Ave Tulsa, OK 74108
If you prefer, you can physically bring your commitments to the church.
I will have Bro. Daniel and Bro. Jesse communicate with you later today on the details of how to view our upcoming services. Our first attempt to meet together online will be this Wednesday evening at 7pm.
March 14, 3:00 PM
In light of the growing health concern presented by Covid-19 I would like to encourage all of us to be mindful of a few courtesies as we gather together tomorrow.
Please be willing to greet one another with a smile and cheerful countenance instead of a handshake. This is a simple act of deference and courtesy we can extend to one another while health concerns are so prevalent. All of us are connected to someone who may have a greater health risk, and this can help us minimize their risk and make everyone more comfortable while we are together.
Secondly, you can extend courtesy and thoughtfulness to others by staying home if you are sick. In a culture looking for excuses and reasons for missing church, staying home when ill is not one of them. It is responsible and thoughtful.
Thirdly, if you have a cough but are not contagious please make every effort to cover your mouth and, if appropriate, use our live stream room.
There will be some minor modification to our service format tomorrow to reduce risk and ensure greater safety. We have done all we can to clean and disinfect the building and entryways. We ask for now that every adult class suspend bringing food from home to our Sunday school classes. Potential future modifications based on a changing health climate may be necessary. We are monitoring all recommendations from local government and health officials.
Despite the circumstances surrounding us, great things are happening at Eastland Baptist Church and I am looking forward to our time together tomorrow.