“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
Hey Everyone, we just wanted to give some back story as well as our current and future story of where Innovation has been, where we are at, and where we are headed in the future.
To say that things have changed since we have had our vision dinner on February 25th would be a total understatement. From the start of our 21 day fast on March 1st, to the end on March 22nd, we have seen God confirm many things in our mission and beyond.
So let’s start with some back story.
Before all the Covid-19 started we as a church were preparing to move into our unique purpose that God has for us.
In 2019 we started to realize a few things.
One was that we could not reach everyone just as Innovation Church and that to better utilize our building and to reach more people from Jesus we could partner with other churches that had the same passion for Jesus changing lives as we do but were reaching a totally different people group than we were.
So we opened up our doors to a ministry called Ministerios Tierra Prometida, and they have been able to meet at Innovation on Sundays at 1:30PM for the entire year.
We were also approached in October by Charity Baptist Church . They were looking for a place as well and have since been meeting on Sunday evenings.
We were also approached about combining our youth ministries with 3 other churches and so we jumped onboard with FUSION STUDENT MINISTRIES, and have had a great time gathering with others and strengthening not just our students faith but others’ that we would have never been able to impact if we would have continued to operate like a typical church.
As a part of the before we started taking every month that contained a 5th Sunday and started shutting down our Sunday services and actually going out and serving our community by establishing stronger community relationships with other organizations that were doing great things. On these Sundays we did everything from moving lawns, feeding firefighters and policemen, working at the Domestic violence shelter, doing landscaping at Lafayette Transitional Housing. and much more. We wanted to start to let our community know what THE CHURCH is FOR, as many people worldwide only know what the world is against.
We also had begun working with The Villages foster care agencies by hosting their large events. But in the process we also began the discussion about getting them a larger facility to help meet their needs in our city. That also goes for helping Bauer Headstart establish a facility on the Southside of Lafayette, as they were previously meeting a need within our school system, but due to overcrowding had to relocate and in the process lost 80% of their clients due to distance in 2019.
With all these things already in motion we began to pray and fast for the future, as well as the possible expansion into more buildings on our 8 Acre property on the Southside of Lafayette.
The Day that COVID-19 shut down THE CHURCH. – Just a few days before the fast ended.
The day that the CDC dropped the guidelines to 10 ppl we knew that we had to shut our doors to keep everyone safe and we didn’t know when we would be able to meet in person again. So our Pastor was leaving the office and he looked out at the same parking lot that has been full of cars and flashed back to the drive in movies that we have done for years in our parking lot. He then looked up at the awning and saw the place that we have DJ’d and done giveaways from and then he got in his truck and saw his FM transmitter that allows him to listen to his phone on his radio and ran back into the building to begin formulating a plan to still meet together doing DRIVE -IN CHURCH.
That Next Sunday Drive-In Church launched and has been growing and going strong every week and with attendance doubling that of March it seems to be a hit. The weekend that the fast ended we had our local news out doing a story not just about the drive in church but also about what Innovation is all about. Not only did the entire church around the globe have to innovate and do new things, but so did we.
Yes, we could have been like every other church and just stream out services like we had been doing for years, but that’s not why we’re called Innovation. This church started not because the community needed another church, but because this community needed a different kind of church than what was already being done. To reach the people that nobody is reaching, there has to be a church that will do something that no one is doing. We are that church.
Innovation Exists to connect others to their unique purpose, and that means that we will do our best to follow Jesus, to take risks, to work better together and to continually love on the 67%.
But attendance isn’t all that has grown we have also been able to do what we love to do on a whole new level. The second week on Drive-In Church was a “5th Sunday” and we were able to serve our community in amazing new ways through partnerships with Project Sweet Peas, The Children’s Gospel Box, helping provide supplies for the YWCA domestic violence shelter, Chalking our Blocks, passing our free toilet paper, and our FIRST (of many to come) Blood Drives with the Red Cross.
We have also subscribed to a resource of over 20,000 helpful series with everything from Parenting advice to how to handle anxiety and depression. In one place you can find great resources for your fear and your faith and help one become much more elevated than the other. If you haven’t subscribed yet please do so as it’s FREE and a great resource for you and your family. https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Account/Invite/InnovationChurch
We have also been able to help resource 5 other churches to get up and running for their own drive in services. Proving once again that it’s NOT a competition.
Lastly, we had already planned to reveal a new Innovation T-shirt on Serve Sunday that people could earn by serving in the community only by serving 67 hours and THIS SUNDAY May 3rd there are already those who have earned their shirt. These and many others have begun to live out Jesus’ words in John 13:35 – “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I am thrilled that we are starting to BE THE CHURCH that the WORLD NEEDS TO SEE.
So many are so ready to “go back to normal”. But could there be a group of people that look back and see how normal wasn’t working? That “normal” was stressed out, overworked, in debt, un-healthy and burned out on church that was turning into just another way to be entertained? May we strive for a new normal after all this has settled down. May we budget better, live healthier, balance out our time with those that matter, may we realize that we are the church and then Be the church each and every day that the world needs to see.
That may not be what you were expecting, but maybe what we needed.
You were most likely looking for the date on when Innovation will be meeting in a climate controlled facility again, eating our bagel, drinking our coffee, worshipping God together, hugging, shaking hands and much more.
Well… We are still working on that with a team of people and going over the White House guidelines and working also with out county officials like we have been from even in the beginning of Drive-In Church.
Right now it looks like we will be driving in for May and working towards a June opening date, but that all depends on how our community and health situation trend in the upcoming weeks. But for some more good news, we have a 5th Sunday in May, and you know what that means if you read this long letter. We have another SERVE SUNDAY, and we also have secured another Red Cross Blood Drive, so go and sign up HERE right now and get pumped up to serve our community yet again in new and creative ways!
We truly do look forward to gathering again on Sundays, not to go back to normal, but to continue building on what we had started before COVID, as well as what He’s done during. We are looking forward to our future as we believe that THE BEST IS YET TO COME.
The Building is OPEN!
Thats right Innovation is resuming in person meeting on JUNE 7th 2020! Well actually we had a service in there on the 31st but it was a “soft launch” to navigate the climate and test out our security and cleaning procedures. And we realized that we will need 2 services on the 7th. So it’s not just at 10:40AM anymore. 915 & 10:40AM services start back up on June 7th!
So what will things look like as you enter into Innovation THIS SUNDAY?
Well according to your survey responses and the feedback that we received from our leadership team we have adjusted our services to be accommodating for all family members to continue to grow together in their faith in person and online. But the overall response was to get back to in person meetings as soon as it’s safe.
So with the help of Helping Hands Commercial Cleaning we are able to spray down all surfaces with a disinfectant that will make all surfaces safe for you and your family. We also have many sanitizing stations around the building and have made sanitizing wipes available in all our restrooms if you feel the need to disinfect before using.
We have also set up our facility to socially distance but In-Style. 🙂 So we are asking that families sit together at the individual spools.
As far as masks we are not requiring them but we love seeing all the fun designs and latest mask fashion trends.
As for checking temperatures before you can enter. That is not something that we feel comfortable and are asking that if you feel sick that you just plan to join us online.
At this time we are not limiting seating or doing any reservations due to the fact that we always want to be open to you, your neighbors or your friends that may be showing up for the first time since you invited them three years ago. We always want to be a church that anyone can come to anytime without a special reservation. All are welcome and if that means that I give up my seat so that someone else can participate then I will.
We have also chosen to not open the children’s services at this time until we can provide the cleanest and safest environment possible. But we hope to have it back up and running July/August time frame. Until then make sure and see Miss Ashley or Mrs Brandy at the kids check in station for the kids follow along guide for the service.
We also do hope to have our cafe back open as soon as we are able to get it re-staffed and operating in a safe manner.
As for some of the other things mentioned in the survey. We are working with some others churches on a possible VBS that we can get together for your kiddos for the summer and as for camps foursquare has chosen the virtual camp route and we will be getting that information out as soon as we get it. Check out this link and see the kids and youth camp virtual experiences that are planned. – https://www.foursquarenextgen.com
If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to email Pastor Billy at firstname.lastname@example.org