Updates Related To COVID-19
Message from our Lead Pastor:
Our staff and leadership miss being together as a church and seeing every single one of you. From small groups, worship services, events, and more—we are feeling what we already knew to be true, we were built for in-person connection. While technology has been a blessing, it definitely is a stop gap to what God created us to be. We are excited, yet cautious, as we regather with all the PPE steps in place. The amazing surprise during this chapter has been how God has used this time to continue to grow the church. More people are worshiping together than we’ve ever seen, small groups are thriving, giving (which was already healthy) has been stronger than we’ve seen in years, and all this during a global pandemic. The building slowed down during this time, but they’ve picked back up and it will be finished in August 2020 if all goes well. We’ve seen baptisms, healing, and growth all due to God’s amazing grace.
With all of the good news, it has still been difficult to manage. Schools closed, jobs furloughed, and in this time of change it has raised the level of anxiety and depression for many. I’m reminded daily of Psalm 94:19, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”
God’s movement supersedes any other feeling we may have. It doesn’t discount our feelings. God affirms us as people and simply says, “I have a better way.” It is with His calming love and grace that we move to help people meet Jesus. Our goal as a church is to communicate to our city and those searching for God, "Forefront Church is a place where you are welcome, safe, and able to bring all your skepticism and doubt."
We thank you for your time and patience as we move forward. None of this has been easy, but we're trusting God at each step of the journey. Our prayers have been with all of you as you’ve navigated uncharted waters. Your love for your neighbors and our city has been awe inspiring. It has confirmed what we’ve always believed, “The church isn’t a building or a bunch of stuff. It’s people helping people to find and follow Jesus.” While we never asked for a global pandemic or shut down, we will continue to trust God and move forward with grace and love.
Lead Pastor, Forefront Church
Updated 07.06.2020 at 08:52 AM EST
Forefront Church Regathering Procedures
In this plan, we acknowledge that the federal/state leaders could change guidelines at any time. All of these are currently based on the guidelines as of July 1, 2020. With this being fluid, we appreciate your patience as we navigate this time of change. To view Virginia State Information concerning COVID-19, visit their website.
Phase 3 (Current)
In the state’s latest address, there is a 250 person limit social gatherings, masks are required, heightened cleaning standards, social distancing is at 6ft, and possible other measures. With these requirements, we see a gradual shift back to what we all know and love as the church moves back together.
- Sunday Worship Services return in-person at 8:30am, 10am, and 11:30am.
- Reservations for services will be available weekly and go live each Wednesday via our email list and on social platforms.
- Outdoor covered areas will be provided for people to connect with social distancing.
- Online services will continue at 8:30am, 10am, and 11:30am, and 8pm.
- Children's programming will be available On-Demand through digital platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Website).
- There will be no children’s programming initially. We will open back up smaller children in mid August when our new Family Ministry Center is completed. Leadership will assess elementary regathering as the school year begins. We will have packets for children in service. We also encourage parents to bring a device and headphones for children to enjoy their kid's church service as the adults engage the message.
- Student ministry will return to regular evening gatherings at 5pm on Sundays.
- Small Groups will return to in-person gathering or optional digital gatherings via Zoom.
- Office hours will resume and no appointment will be needed.
- Masks during this phase are required while indoors. Masks will be made available for anyone wanting one that does not have one.
- Upgraded cleaning protocol will be in place along with all PPE items and signage required by state and local government.
Forefront Church PPE Response & Cleaning Protocol
Our staff has acquired the needed cleaning and PPE supplies to be able to ensure, to the best of our ability, that we can fall 100% within the guidelines given by the State of Virginia. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Hand cleaning stations
- Disposable masks
- Disposable gloves
- Commercial supplies
- Bathroom upgrades
- Pre-packaged communion
- Offering stations at the doors as you exit
- No-Touch Lobby Connections
- Coffee area will reopen at a later date
- Commercial cleaning company regularly cleaning the building from top to bottom
- All connection cards will move to digital
- COVID-19 signage across campus in compliance with guidelines at the state level
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will we be asked to wear masks when we return to church?
A: Yes. Masks are required for all indoor activities in Phase 3 in accordance with state guidelines. We will have masks available for anyone who wants to wear one, but doesn’t have access to one.
Q: Will children’s areas be open immediately? Are children’s volunteers going to have any checks before serving with kids?
A: To your first question, no, not immediately. We will be opening our new Family Ministry Center in mid-August, which will give more room for babies and kids. We look forward to them having a brand new space that is best suited for operating in this moment in time with COVID-19 and PPE requirements. As to your second question, yes. We will be checking with volunteers on their health before they serve, as well as temperature checks of all staff and volunteers weekly. Each volunteer will stay home if they are feeling sick, have a fever, or showing any other symptoms.
Q: During adult service will we have different seating or will it be like we’ve known it to be?
A: Yes, all churches and businesses are required to keep seating at a 6ft distance. Our seating has been limited to just under 50% capacity and will have reservations for each week’s services, along with overflow in the lobby.
Q: Will handshakes and hugs be restricted or can I hug all my people?
A: We love this question. During this time of change, we would encourage people to ask before going in strong for a hug. Be mindful of others and make sure they are open to a bear squeeze or simply a fist bump or elbow bump. Some people will want to keep their distance for now, and we will be respectful of where each person lands during this time.
Q: When will things be back to normal?
A: Truthfully, we don’t think “normal” has ever really worked for us at Forefront Church. We like to fit what we do to our community and city to reach people far from God. We are positive we will emerge from isolation with many lessons learned, new ways to approach connection, and holding on to the essentials of loving people with reckless abandon. We hope that we never get settled into anything comfortable, but always keep pushing to be people helping people to find and follow Jesus.
Q: With “no touch” policies in businesses, will we still pass buckets and communion during service?
A: We will have pre-packaged communion that each person will receive on the way in, so we are not passing trays through the auditorium. Offering will be done at stations as people enter and exit the auditorium as well.
Q: How has this impacted the church? Attendance? Giving? New Building?
A: Short answer, it has impacted us in a good way. Attendance is up. We have more people engaging services than when we were in person. Isn’t that awesome? We have members of our church who’ve never been to the building before. As far as giving, people’s generosity has been phenomenal. We cannot remember a time in the last 8 years that giving was this strong. We’ve always had a generous church family, but this has cemented the fact that we are a church that knows what it means to be generous. Finally, the new building slowed down during the initial isolation period, but it’s picked right back up and moving full force. We are excited to have the building open some time in August 2020.
Q: What if someone tests positive for COVID-19 and has attended a Sunday service, small group, or event at Forefront?
A: In the event someone tests positive and has attended a gathering at Forefront Church, our first goal is to care for the person. They are required to quarantine for a 14 day period. We will do everything we can for them to help ease their burden. Next, we would immediately contact anyone that may have come into contact with the person that tested positive. As we contact people, we are required by the local health department to contact them and see what further steps need to be taken.
Q: I’ve heard there could be a second wave that could cause another shutdown or isolation time. What is Forefront’s plan for that?
A: As we did in this time of mandates, we would follow the guidance of our federal and state authorities to comply in any way we needed to. We’ve seen that God can move during a time of isolation, so we will choose to move in faith and not fear, while also honoring the authorities that are in place.
Q: I have a pre-existing condition, but I want to come back as soon as we open. Is that okay?
A: Yes. We ask everyone to use their own discretion when deciding when and how to come back. If you are more prone to infection, please follow the direction of your doctors and medical experts.
Q: This may be a weird question, but how is the staff doing with all of this?
A: This is Jason answering this one. You are very kind to ask that. Our staff has been amazingly resilient during this. They all basically were fired from their current jobs and rehired for a much different role. It has led to longer work hours, learning new technology, and engaging people in new ways to keep people connected. They are doing well. Honestly they are all a little tired. Working in this way has not been easy on pastors, counselors, and others helping people navigate isolation and a global pandemic. We’re proud of them and have continually encouraged breaks, creating margin, and shutting off devices when able. If you think about it, send them a note to say thank you and maybe share a story of how they’ve helped you. A little note goes a long way.
Ministry Area Changes and Updated Procedures
In this section you will find some ways each ministry area is updating their day to day operations to best serve you and our Forefront Church family. This is not an exhaustive list, but we want to keep everyone in the know on how we are moving forward.
Student Ministry: 6-12 Grade
- Adhering to all new cleaning and sanitation requirements
- Serving only individually packaged food and drink with gloves
- Increased space between rows at 6ft distancing
- Minimizing physical contact during games, small group & large group
Family Ministry: Birth to 5th Grade (When kids reopen in phases, starting in mid-August)
- All “teething toys” and other small toys that can fit in mouths will be eliminated. Additionally, every used toy / item will be removed from circulation as it gets handled throughout the morning.
- “Cleaning Attendants” will do walk-thru “swipes” on all main surfaces in between all services.
- Children, ages 2 and up, will be encouraged to sit in chairs as opposed to the floor. Large groups gathering on floors/rugs will be eliminated and instead use tables and chairs during group time.
- Hand Sanitizing stations will be conveniently located at all times.
- Volunteers will be “assessed” every Sunday regarding any fevers or symptoms.
Creative Arts: Band, Tech, Set Design Teams
- Midweek rehearsals resume as normal
- Continue to wipe down all surfaces used (instruments, computers, sound board, microphones, etc)
- Production stations will be cleaned before and after practices and services
- Team members showing signs of sickness will be asked not to participate in practices and/or services.
- Team members must wash hands frequently.
- Recommend groups keep meeting. (Normally we shift to a light schedule or groups take off over the summer). Because of the unique circumstances of the pandemic, groups are vital to connection for many.
- Some Zoom accounts will be retained for use upon request.
- Groups using the building will be required to perform a light cleaning of all areas when done. Instructions for cleaning will be provided.
- Parking Team - No Change
- Pens and Connection Cards will not be used
- Communion will be provided but not be passed
- Offering buckets will be available upon exit from the auditorium
- Single Ipad will be used by the connector to show a visitor how to access the features of forefrontchurch.info. (No touch)
- Kids’ Check-in (When kids reopen in phases in mid August)
- Volunteers do check in for family
- Hand sticker to family
- Counting Team
- One person with a witness, bag each offering with gloves.
- Spray inside of bag and outside of bag with Lysol
- Count on Monday
- Other precautions will be communicated directly to the team
- Coffee Bar - reopening to be determined
Thank you for taking the time to learn how Forefront Church is moving forward and reopening. If you have any questions, please contact us:
Email: [email protected]
Mailing Address: 2520 Holland Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23453
CURRENT OPERATIONS UNDER PHASE 3
WEEKEND WORSHIP: IN-PERSON & ONLINE CAMPUS
Beginning July 12, we will resume our in-person services and continue our online campus. In-Person worship will be Sundays at 8:30am, 10am, and 11:30am. We will have a reservation link (released each Wednesday) for people to reserve their seat. Online Campus will be Sundays at 8:30am, 10am, 11:30am, and 8pm. Online Worship can be found at http://forefrontchurch.info/live as well as on Facebook and YouTube.
FAMILY MINISTRY: Pre K and K-5th Grade
Currently for in-person services, children will worship along with their parents. We are looking at mid-August to begin a slow roll out of kids programming on campus. We understand the pressure you're feeling with having the kids home for an unknown period of time. With that also leads to a question of how to foster their spiritual engagement? Don't fret, we have a plan in place.
We have On-Demand programming available for students. 8am on Sundays you can view and engage those experiences at Family Ministry Live, on YouTube, and in our Family Ministry Facebook Group. Our K-5th graders will experience a live host along with songs, bible teaching, and everything that they're used to... ONLY LIVE ONLINE! That tablet or device that they may normally play games on is now a chance to hear about the love and hope of Jesus.
It's being hosted by Becky Bruner, our Family Ministries Director each week On-Demand available at 8am on Sundays. Make sure to click the button above and join. We do not want your kids to miss out on a chance to learn about Jesus in a way that is just for them. Also, joining that group gives you exclusive access to parenting tips, connecting with our leaders, and learning about more ways to partner in guiding your kids.
Also, you can access all the wonderful music your kids listen to and love at: Orange Kids Music on Spotify
COLLIDE: Student Ministry, 6-12 grade
Beginning July 12, our 6-12th grade students will resume meeting in person Sunday evenings from 5:00-6:30pm. We will also continue to make our teaching available online (student Instagram & Facebook accounts) for those not ready to come back initially for gatherings. We're thankful to be able to continue connecting with our students in this way!
What is Collide? Well, a collision is simply the meeting of two forces at the same place. Often a collision can be just the thing we need because when two objects collide, at least one will walk away changed. In fact, every time our lives collide with Jesus, we walk away changed. COLLIDE is a time for students to gather where they will get have fun, get to know each other, connect with leaders who care about them, and learn from the Bible in a practical way. COLLIDE happens Sunday nights at 5PM on campus.
We encourage you to GIVE your tithe and offering online, or text GIVE to 757-606-9976. You can always mail in your offerings to:
2520 Holland Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23453
While we're meeting together online instead of in person, we want you to be aware of two things:
1) 80% of our giving is done online and we are thankful for that use of technology.
2) Each week 3,000-4,000k of our offerings come in through cash and buckets donations in services. This goes a long way to meet needs in our community. If we are unable to meet, we encourage you to move all of your giving online to help ministry continue to happen.
As much as you are able, we encourage you to stay connected with your small groups. Many have returned to in-person gatherings, while some are continuing to meet digitally. Not in a small group? If you'd like to join one or would like more information, you can find it here.
Don't have the Zoom App yet for meeting with your small group? Don't worry, we've made it easy for you to find. Click the link depending on your particular device and get ready for your online small group.
Zoom for iOS device: Download
Zoom for Android: Download
Zoom for Mac: Download
Zoom for Windows: Download