COVID-19

GENERAL UPDATE

Due to the coronavirus COVID-19, all of our church services and activities were moved online in March 2020.  In June we started meeting physically again for Sunday morning services in our outdoor courtyard while maintaining the online option.

Join us for ‘Church Outside’ or ‘Church Online’ on Sundays from 10am – 11am.  Click HERE for the online option.  Check below for updates and insights from the Elders at Belmont regarding COVID-19, spiritual growth, and our reopening plan.

OUTSIDE AND ONLINE – ALL SUMMER

We’re having such a great time outside, we’ve decided to stay all summer! We will continue to gather in the Courtyard as we stream our live online service, and we’re moving the time back an hour to beat the heat. We will meet from 10am-11am both online and outside. In the case of inclement weather, we will cancel the outside service but continue with online as normal. Learn more about how we’re keeping our gatherings safe for everyone by reading our Belmont Outside Plan.  

OUTSIDE AND ONLINE – JUNE

Beginning June 7, we will continue online services and add outside services to our Sunday mornings. We will gather in the Courtyard as we stream our live online service from 11am-12pm. 

REOPENING PLAN – MAY 

The Governor of Virginia has announced that we are entering Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan on May 15.  Part of that plan says that churches can begin to gather again with certain restrictions.  The Elders at Belmont have put together a Phased Reopening Plan for the church family.  We will meet online for the remainder of May.  We plan to start meeting in-person again on June 7 (outside in our courtyard).  Take some time to read the entire plan by clicking HERE.

RESPONSE PLAN – MAY

We want to keep you informed about  our response to the pandemic as we go through this together.  Mid-March through the end of April was like Phase One for us.  It was a scramble to make decisions to keep people safe, get online services and groups in place, and make sure all of our people were contacted and had what they needed.  Now we have entered into Phase Two of our response.  We are focusing our time and energy into six specific steps; three church-wide steps and three at-home steps.  Click HERE to check out the plan and ‘be the church’ by putting it into action!  

 

RELIEF OFFERING – MAY

We don’t want to just sit by and wait out the coronavirus.  We want to wade into the action.   Being generous in a time like this may not be our first reaction but it is the right response for people who follow Jesus.  Because of unexpected needs, opportunities, and responsibilities we are taking up a special relief offering.  Click HERE to read more about this offering and how it will be distributed.   Pray and ask God what he would have you give!   Click HERE to donate online.  Choose the ‘Be The Church’ fund in the drop down menu.  You can also give by texting BelmontLife to 73256 and then follow the directions.  Thanks so much! 

APRIL UPDATE

Out.  Of.  Control.  That’s how things can feel these days as the coronavirus pandemic makes its way around the globe and into our communities. Things are changing quickly as people and organizations scramble to get prepared.  Sometimes the plans that were made one day have to be altered the next because things have shifted suddenly. 

If you dwell on it long enough, that out-of-control feeling can even spread into your soul and leave you feeling shaken and unsettled.  That’s not a fun place to be; wondering if the plans that you have made for the future, or for tomorrow, will once again be upended.  If you find yourself in that place let me ask you to take a 5-minute break from planning and just start praying.  As you pray, you will move toward the rest that we have available in the Lord. Here are three things for you to pray during this time:

  1. Pray and agree with God that the plans that you made for the upcoming months or even days were never guaranteed to happen.  Even though planning done the right way is a wise thing to do, our human plans are not set in cosmic concrete. Acknowledge that you were never really in control like you might have thought you were.
  2. Pray and agree with God that you can’t know or control what will happen tomorrow so there is no need to worry about it.  You are a valuable person made in the image of God but worrying will not add one more hour onto your life. Ask God to replace your worry with trust in Him.  
  3. Pray and agree with God that He is in control and is not surprised by any pandemic, natural disaster, or health condition.  Say this out loud, “God, if it is your will, I will live another day on this earth.  I give all of my life and my plans to you”. Ask God to replace your pride or self-assurance with a humble spirit.  

I am praying for you that the peace of God will flood your heart and soul, 

Pastor Jon

Bonus Info:

  • Our Community Groups went online this week and were a big hit!  If you have been making excuses about checking out a group please don’t do that anymore.  Now is a time that we all need each other.  Send an email to groups@belmontlife.org and we will get you set up to try out a group next week.  
  • Our Worship Service will be held online again this coming Sunday at 11am.  I will be giving a message from James 4:13-17 on how to plan during uncertain times.  Read ahead of time to prepare your heart and then meet everyone here at this link.  Go above and beyond by inviting two friends to join us!
  • Mission Opportunities are all around you now.  Just look out your window at your neighbor’s house!  Click this link for a good article on how to practice hospitality during this crazy time.  

MARCH 18  UPDATE

By now we have all been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) in multiple ways.  At the time of this writing there are 77 confirmed cases in Virginia and government agencies are working to keep the public safe and informed.  Your church leaders have been hard at work as well; praying for you and planning ways to accomplish our mission in new and innovative ways.  Here are some things you will want to know regarding the life of the church:

Safety Steps:

  • For the safety of our members we plan to follow the guidelines from the CDC and government authorities in regards to gathering in groups.  For the time being we will replace meeting in real life with online meetings.  
  • The church building has been sanitized thoroughly and most admin work is being done remotely.   If multiple people were to be at the office at one time they would be keeping a safe social distance.
  • Events that were on the calendar have been postponed until further notice.  Those include the Kasey Van Norman event, the Men’s Breakfast, and the Senior’s Brunch.

Planning Process:

  • Our Management Team met this past Monday evening to seek the Lord’s direction and to lay out some practical steps.  Our upcoming meetings will be online via Zoom. 
  • For the sake of planning, our leadership team is currently viewing this as a three-month event.  We are praying that it will be shorter than that but know it could easily go beyond that time-frame as well.  For now, we are approaching this as a 12-week interruption from March 15 to June 7.
  • As things progress we will adapt this plan and keep the congregation up to date on those changes.  For now, all church gatherings have been moved online until June!

Ministry Matters:

  • Worship Service will still be on Sunday’s at 11am!  Instead of meeting at the building we will meet online at https://belmontlife.online.church/   Get your tech set up ahead of time, gather with family if that applies, and tune in for a encouraging message from the book of James.
  • Community Groups will still meet at their regular times starting next week.  Instead of meeting at a physical location they will meet online via Zoom. https://zoom.us/  Go ahead and download the Zoom app onto your device and get ready for a great time with your friends from church.  The leaders did a practice run today and it went great.  We will send out a link for each group soon.
  • Mission Opportunities are coming right to your front door!  This is a time where we can Love Our Neighbors in very tangible ways and they are more willing to receive that than ever before.  Each of us should see ourselves as missionaries to our own communities.  The Missions Team will be sending out some practical steps that you can be taking over the next three months to make a difference in people’s lives. 

We have the most important work in the universe; to share the good news about Jesus with a world that is confused, lonely, and lost.  Now is not the time for us to shrink back.  Instead, let’s lean into the mission.  Make a commitment right now to stay engaged in worship, to stay involved in community, and to keep making a difference through giving and serving.  If you are willing to join our newly forming online tech team please respond to me right away.  Together we can expand the reach of the gospel like we never imagined before.  With the love of Christ,

Pastor Jon

MARCH 14 UPDATE

“Not how I thought things would go; joyful for the chance to grow.”  This was a thought from the first message in our ‘Grow Up’ sermon series.  James 1 tells us that when we encounter trials we should choose to see them as an opportunity for spiritual growth.  The entire world seems to be going through a trial right now as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads and concerns about it spread even faster.  We are seeing this as an opportunity not only for concern but also for spiritual growth.  

Based upon recommendations of medical professionals who attend Belmont, concern for the people in our church family, and the guidance of the CDC/government, the Elders have decided to cancel church service for this Sunday, March 15.  Instead of meeting, we are asking everyone to reserve the time from 11:00 to 11:30 for prayer and Bible study at your home.  We do this in unity with members of our own church family and with Christians around the country and the world.  We will give updates on future services in the upcoming days. 

We are praying that God would use this situation to help us ‘Grow Up’ more in him as we think about what it means to BE the church even when we can’t gather together.  In the meantime, here are a few steps that I would like to encourage you to take this weekend and in the weeks ahead:

1. Pray with Faith- 

This corona-virus situation is a reminder that we live in a fragile and fallen world.  As believers, our trust is an unchanging God and not in our health, our bank accounts, our government, military, or any other human structure.  Do NOT give in to fear or panic.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and not on social media or the ever-changing news cycle.  Pray with faith and do not doubt. Do not be double-minded.  

2. Plan with Wisdom-

God promises to give us wisdom from heaven when we ask for it in faith.  Let’s receive that heavenly wisdom and put it into practice to make needed decisions.  Don’t waste your time on worrying or on ignoring the situation.  Take the steps necessary so that if needed you can stay at home for a few days or even weeks if the virus continues to spread.  Instead of wasting time and resources plan some positive experiences or projects for the time that you might be keeping your social distance. Do not be foolish in your planning.  

3. Prepare to Love-

The early church grew rapidly when they were scattered due to persecution.  During this current time that we are being ‘scattered’ we can still effectively be the church.  Make preparations to love your neighbors during the upcoming weeks. This situation will open doors for you to pray, care, and share with your community.  Let’s love like never before because Jesus has loved us even when we were sick with sin and no cure was in sight.  He became the cure by giving us his very life.  Let’s be life-givers in our neighborhoods. Do not be so concerned about yourself that you can’t love others.  

We have been blessed with a great church family.  I look forward to traveling through this uncertain season with all of you.  Because of Jesus,

Pastor Jon

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