We are thrilled beyond words to be gathering all together on Sunday, October 4 at 10:00am at the Defiance YMCA! God has answered our prayers for a new location that meets our needs as a growing church. When you come on Sunday enter through the Defiance YMCA Youth Center entrance on the northwest side of the building. Please park south of the YMCA, and if you need to park closer there are some spaces available on the west side of the building.
A Church on the Move
We’re hardly undergoing the afflictions of the Israelites wandering the wilderness for forty years, but it’s crazy this will be the fifth Sunday worship space for KCC in our seven-year existence.
1. We launched public worship gatherings in September 2013 at The Compass, aka The Skylark (2013-2014).
2. Less than a year later we moved to the Schomburg Auditorium on Defiance College campus (2014-2016).
3. We moved to the Stroede Center for the Arts and have happily worshiped the Lord in that bright and beautiful space for the last four years (2016-2020).
4. For four months we worshiped outside in the splendor of creation at Independence Dam State Park (June-September 2020)
5. Now we’re settling into a new “home” at the YMCA, starting this Sunday.
Notice, I’m not including the months of virtual services as a location. Gathering online isn’t a real, in-person gathering of the church to sing together, pray together, hear the Word together and love one another (Hebrews 10:25).
One could say that we’re homeless as a church. In some ways, I love that. It’s my nature to look for a silver lining, but I truly rejoice in not owning a building. For one, it’s a reminder that the mission of the gospel is about God’s glory, lost people, and loving one another. I’ve heard it said from more than one church-planting pastor that once they got a building the resources and energy of the church became far too building-centered. If we owned a building, I suspect we would not have the financial ability to do the Pastoral Development Residency or give such a large percentage to church planting and global missions.
I also love not owning a building because it’s a reminder that our ultimate home and hope is in the place Jesus is preparing for us in His Father’s house. In my morning Bible reading today I read where Jesus tells His followers, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going” (John 14:1–4). Among all the things to look forward to in that passage the most glorious is this: “where I am you may be also.” Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
Unfortunately, the year is still 2020, and we still live in a world concerned about the spread of COVID-19. The state government’s mask mandate applies to us as we move indoors, so as guests of the YMCA we need to do our best to be good sports about it. Like I said in my sermon on Sunday, let’s lean into loving one another and not let something as small as masks bring division in the body of Christ. There are strong and differing opinions on masks in our church, but spend some time meditating on how much unity we have in truths of mountainous importance! Christ died and rose again! God is three in one! Jesus is coming again to establish a new heaven and new earth! How silly our squabbles about masks will seem on the day of the Lord!
What is the plan with COVID restrictions?
- Please Mask Up: We ask people to wear masks and practice physical distancing though we aren’t demanding it. You can bring your own mask or we have disposable masks available. According to the Ohio Department of Health Mask Order the mask mandate does not apply to children under 10 years old, or those exempted by a doctor for health reasons. There is a mask exception for those “officiants of religious services” so those upfront will remove their masks.
- Seating will be in groups not rows: We are coming together in a large four-court gym that has good ventilation. We’re not planning to set up chairs in rows, so when you come in you can grab chairs from the perimeter of the room and set it up wherever you like. We will also have ushers to help carry chairs. We have plenty of chairs, so there is no need to bring your own. This way we can sit in family units, or with whomever we want, and keep a reasonable distance from others.
- The Lord’s Supper and Giving: We will continue to practice the Lord’s Supper with greater contamination caution, as we have been outside. We will continue with the giving box and online giving.
- Facebook Live Stream: We plan to continue to stream the worship gathering to Facebook live for those who are particularly vulnerable to sickness or are home sick. We use Facebook because it’s free and simple to set up on a smartphone. You do not need a Facebook account to access the Facebook live feed. You only need this link to our Facebook page, and a computer or smartphone.
Why is this our approach?
We understand that some folks feel wearing masks expresses a lack of faith or a loss of freedom, and we see where you’re coming from. We have read the opinions of Christians who are not taking COVID precautions, and we are not convinced there’s a sound biblical argument for defiance of the mask mandate. The KCC elders believe following the Ohio Department of Health Mask Order is an application of submission to governing authorities (Romans 13:1-6), love for others (Mark 12:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10), and an attempt to live a quiet humble life that doesn’t demand our rights but looks to the interests of others before ourselves (1 Thessalonians 4:12-13; Philippians 2:1-11). Wearing masks also helps others feel more comfortable and safe. On top of that, we are guests at the YMCA. When we go to someone else’s house, we follow their rules, and the YMCA is seeking to follow the state’s order.
The pastors of KCC do not fancy ourselves as a mask enforcement task force. Let’s all give grace to one another when we see inconsistencies because God has given us grace, and we all know that when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions there are inconsistencies left and right.
Nursery and King’s Kids
We are currently organizing to start Nursery and King’s Kids but we don’t yet have a start date. When we do start, King’s Kids will be only for 3-5 year-olds, and we will continue to provide activity folders for other children to stay in the sermon with their parents. We will need people to serve in both of these vital ministries of loving children, and loving parents by giving them a moment to focus on the Word of God. If you can help in serving in the nursery, contact Cassie Verhoff. If you can serve in King’s Kids, contact Chelsea Andres.
I don’t know of any kids who have taken a monastic vow of silence, so we do expect kids to make some noise during the gathering. That’s life, and we love children. But if kids need to be taken out of the gym, the YMCA Youth Center library is a spacious “parental reprieve room” for parents to take their kids. The audio of the service will be played in the lobby along with the slides on the screen.
Thank-you for faithfulness and flexibility over the months. We look forward to worshiping our Lord Jesus with you on Sundays at 10am at the YMCA.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What entrance do we use at the YMCA and where do we park?
A: When you come on Sunday enter through the Defiance YMCA Youth Center entrance on the northwest side of the building. Please park south of the YMCA, and if you need to park closer there are some spaces available on the west side of the building.
Q: How can I help?
A: I’m glad you asked. If you want to help with set-up/tear-down teams contact Josh Wagner. If you want to help with nursery contact Cassie Verhoff. If you want to help with King’s Kids contact Chelsea Andres. If you want to help with the greeting team contact Josh Wagner.
Q: Will the service be streamed online live?
A: Yes, on Facebook live on the KCC Facebook page. You don’t need a Facebook account to access this link. But if you’re healthy and not particularly vulnerable to sickness we encourage you to gather with us in-person.
Q: Will there be a nursery and King’s Kids?
A: Not yet, but soon. See above.
Q: Do we plan to go back to the Stroede Center after COVID restrictions go away?
A: Maybe. That is a bridge the congregation will decide together to cross when the time comes. My hunch is we will enjoy the extra space and convenience of the YMCA and will stay there for the foreseeable future.
Q: Does the church plan to buy or build a building in the future?
A: Owning a building can be a great tool for ministry, and we are not against the idea. When possible, the elders see that the giving that comes in that exceeds our budget goes into a building fund, so if a building that suits our needs becomes available we are well-situated to make an offer. But none of our leaders are pushing to break ground on a building project as long as there are spaces available like the YMCA.
Q: Will there be coffee? (How was this not asked earlier?)
A: Initially coffee will not be provided. But, you can bring your own coffee into the YMCA! (one point for YMCA over Stroede). If someone wants to spearhead a coffee hospitality team, let us know. We have the equipment, and there’s a small kitchen in the YMCA Youth Center lobby.