Keep scrolling after you watch the video for Kids, Student and Young Adult information, as well as a FAQ section.
The new normal is now normal.
Instead of longing for the pre-COVID days we need to embrace more fully our current reality. The church must begin strategizing for the long haul in order to fully seize the opportunities presented to us in this crisis.
We will not be gathering again until 2021.
As we have been waiting for the COVID fog to lift many of us have been hoping for the best. Yet, the reality is the circumstances of this pandemic are not improving. This means that it just isn’t likely that there will be a possibility for us to gather on a weekend again this year. It just isn’t going to happen. Now, if a miracle vaccine comes along we will adjust our plans. If the COVID fog lifts we’ll re-strategize. We’ll flex. But let’s be honest with each other, we can’t safely gather and it looks like that’ll be the reality until at least the beginning of 2021.
We are launching a House Church movement.
Friends, however long we see ourselves in this waiting room we need to embrace a transition from being a church of 5000 people in 5 services to becoming a church of 5000 in hundreds of house churches. Normally, this time of year we are gearing up for a launch to the ministry year. We have decided to put all our effort into launching the fall with house churches. This is not uncharted territory for the church. The early church lost her ability to gather in the temple during persecution, and she was scattered. Those early family members of ours chose to meet in houses. This did NOT slow momentum for the church. In fact, in some cases, the greatest move of God in that nation took place in house churches. Think about this. What if we are on the cusp of a significant move of God?
Birth and Toddlers
OMNI will continue to equip you with weekly online videos and activity resources to build the foundation of faith in your child. In addition, we’ll continue to create ways to get fun, at home, story related activities into your hands.
Our grade school staff is launching a new version of C3 Homeworship on September 13. Our hope is to support and deepen the faith journey of our viewers. At the same time, we are increasing our availability for in-person house visits.
Middle School & High School
On Sundays, September 13, 20, and 27, middle and high school ministries are joining forces to provide a rallying point for 6-12 graders. If we are able to secure a location, we will have a COVID-aware outdoor gathering with fun and spiritual elements. However, if this is unattainable we will have an online youth service for students.
October through June
Beginning in October, our online service or gathering will be replaced by our mid-week grade-and-gender groups (Crash small groups for Middle School and Huddles for High School). Groups will be around 10 students and students will need to register to participate. Students will have the option of registering for either an in-person group meeting on the Salem Alliance campus or an online group through Zoom.
YA Home Groups will be rebranded as House Churches but will function in the same way. They will meet at someone’s home, eat dinner together and have a time for questions and discussion.
A house church can either be the group of people that you have already been meeting with OR a group that you will gather from among your friends, neighbors, family, etc. It is a place that invites and welcomes newcomers, with eyes to see those who aren’t connected with spiritual community.
Some house churches will meet in homes. Some will meet on zoom. Some will meet in public spaces.
The structure of the House Church gathering is based around the “Four W’s”: Welcome, Worship, Word and Witness. Different House Church members, including children if present, may lead any or all of the sections. Some House Churches often vary the order of the sections (i.e., worship after word).
Welcome: This is about getting to know one another and connecting with one another. It usually includes chat about the past week (reflection), an “ice-breaker” question to get people talking, and it may include prayer or ministry to one another. It may also include a meal, snacks, coffee, etc. It often functions as the meeting before the meeting.
Worship: When we worship we turn our focus on God, celebrating what he has done and is doing. Some prefer to have their worship time before the word segment and end their meeting with prayer. Whatever works best for your House Church is what you should do. The worship time releases presence, prayer and power in the midst of the group in a way that builds up each other’s faith and spiritually bonds everyone together. The worship time in a House Church can include singing, praying, viewing art, reading poetry, dance, etc.
Word: We want to connect Scripture to everyday life and help one another put it into practice. Reflection on what was learned last week is important. In most House Churches the subject is the teaching of the Sunday sermon. There are multiple ways to engage with the Word. One is to use questions specifically addressing what the preacher said on the weekends. Another way is to use the Bible study guide that goes deeper into the Scripture preached on (starting in October). Both of these resources are/will be available on the Salem Alliance Church website.
Witness: We want to focus on those outside the House Church. As you close the gathering each week, you can share vision for multiplication. This is vital to keep the group looking outward through mission, ministry and multiplication. Serving opportunities, planning fun outings and reaching out to those who don’t know Jesus as a group promotes a balanced discipleship pattern.
- Some of you will meet on Sundays to watch Livestream together and respond to the sermon (using the sermon questions or the bible study guide).
- Some will meet during the week to process the sermon or to discuss the Bible Study.
- Some of you will meet over Zoom rather than in person.
- Some of you may meet on the church campus. Due to social distancing guidelines, we will have a limited number of rooms available at the church for more vulnerable groups that literally will not be able to meet unless they meet on campus.
- Some of you might do a hybrid of these options.
- Some of you will find new ways to engage in Welcome, Worship, Word and Witness together.
Because we can’t currently meet all together like we used to, we encourage all of our small group gatherings to see themselves as the mobile Church continuing to meet. The name change to House Church helps us to remember the essentials of what church is and that it does not have to be limited to a location or a size. The name brings a broader vision to what we do when we gather.
For some of you who have traditionally spent most of your small group time together studying the Word, we will be encouraging you to think about ways to make more space for Welcome, for Worship, and for Witness. It’s a way to determine together that Christ’s church is alive and well in spite of the challenges that we currently face. This name change helps us to focus in on the WHO, WHAT and WHY of church, even though our WHERE has been disrupted.
Our tech team is currently working on putting together instruction videos for using zoom.
A house church movement positions disciples to make disciples who can they go and make more disciples.
You may have heard us use the word "multiplication." Multiplication is all about finding ways to make space for those who aren’t yet connected to church community as well as friends, neighbors, and family who don’t yet know Jesus.
Not all House Churches will be in a position to think multiplication right away, but all House Churches can find ways to actively engage in Kingdom advancement. We would love to coach your House Church about what disciple-making can look like for your unique House Church.
The honest answer is that we don’t know. Our sense is that house churches are our best way forward for the time being. Let’s all keep praying that we would be diligent followers of Spirit as He continues to lead us through times of uncertainty.
We want to honor and respect the fact that other churches in our city have made decisions to attempt limited openings. Due to our sheer size, it has not been doable or practical for us to open.
The current state guidelines require:
-no more than 100 people for an indoor venue
-required tickets or pre-registrations for all participants
-masks for everyone including the worship leaders and preachers
-disinfecting of fabric on pews between services
-cleaning of bathrooms between services
We are choosing to obey these guidelines because of what the Scriptures teach us for moments like this (Romans 13:1). Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.
We also believe choosing not to gather is an act of selflessness and love not just to the vulnerable at Salem Alliance but also to our city. We would be heartbroken to know that a gathering at Salem Alliance caused the unnecessary death of a congregant or caused anyone in our city to lose a loved one.