It's almost Easter! Your countdown to that special Sunday likely looks a lot different this year. But just because so much of our lives are on pause doesn't mean our faith is on pause. This is a time of embracing compassion for others, focusing on community efforts for good, and directly seeking more of our amazing God. Maybe Holy Week, or as some refer to it, Passion Week, has been a traditional schedule of events. Maybe not! Either way, we have a unique opportunities to experience Holy Week individually and as a family by ordering a Holy Week Kit and downloading the app Easter Now.
Each basic kit will come with communion and a few gifts. If you have kiddos, order one with an activity pack for kids. You can also choose to include a candle that the app will walk you through lighting. It is the Christ Candle, and any candle you have will do, but we have some! The app will provide devotions, deeper analysis of the significance, symbols, and revelations attached to the events of Holy Week leading to Easter.
You can text "kit" to 210.361.3943 or fill out the form below. You can also use this link to access and share the form:
SAF Church Online will host a Good Friday service, and Easter Sunday will be live at 10:45am as usual with some special "digital guests!"
Pastor Matt will go live at sunrise to deliver a special Easter message.
Let us take what this mortal world has meant for bad and partner with how God is meaning it for good - study His word, speak with Him more in prayer, and listen in new ways without the noise of the day to day.
Did you know that you no longer need a Facebook account to watch live videos! Now you have more choices for tuning in Sundays!
What a difference a week, or two, make in every detail of our lives. We are all making efforts to protect our communities, to show love to all God's children via sacrificing for the sake of health. As Pastor Matt said last Sunday, God uses these things to develop our character. It's not that he sent COVID-19 to teach a lesson, it's that He will use our response to it to use our "suffering to produce perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:3).
SAF.Church is still on mission, even if our methods have changed! We still invest in body, mind, and spirit because of God's grace:
- WAC is still serving our community with a public food pantry each Tuesday from 10am - 2pm,
- Small groups continue to meet to facilitate "transformation through the renewing of the mind" (Romans 12:2),
- Sunday service is being broadcasted each week and the leadership team is flooding social media with posts to help encourage the spirit, guide us in the time, and call attention to the work God is doing through the community as we navigate this surreal season of life.
Here are two places we highly recommend browsing for information help us all to be alone together.
1. Join a small group! Visit saf.churchcenter.com/groups. All groups are meeting online and there are quite a few to choose from. Some groups are on hiatus, but there are still many open for you to dive into.
2. Join our Facebook group: SAF Community Board. It's a group linked to the SAF Facebook page, and it's a place where we can share helpful info, shout out thanks to one another, post a need, or give a testimony.
We are praying for you. We are rooting for you. We are here for you.
Your leadership team began meeting two weeks ago to discuss the best ways to promote wellness while at church. Based on the recommendations of health care officials and the leading of the Spirit, SAF.Church will not meet in person this week. We will not have service on Sunday and all small groups are cancelled for the week.
We will however broadcast our Sunday service live at 10:45am on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sanantoniofirstchurch! We invite you to join us from your homes as we continue worship together.
We continue to communicate with each other and stay apprised of relevant information regarding COVID-19. As we are all aware, concerns over this unique strain of coronavirus, called COVID-19, is an ongoing and developing situation. Therefore, we will decide each week about having service and small groups. We are dedicated to our commitment to provide a safe place for you and your family.
Following the advice of the CDC and local health officials, here are the best methods for promoting wellness and avoiding the spread of viruses, even during these current risks:
•if you have a fever: please stay home!
Runny noses and coughs are part of SA living! But a fever means stay home and see a doctor in order to protect your community.
•if you’re out and about: refrain from hugs and handshakes - go for fist bumps instead!
By doing this we can protecting one another from unnecessary germs.
•clean hands are the best practice!
The most effective step we can all take is to keep our hands clean and away from our own faces as much as possible.
What else should you do going forward? Here are a few tips:
1) Pray. God is still in the business of healing! There are those who are greatly impacted by all this. Many globally are fighting the virus itself, but even more are financially effected by the closure of events, schools, and organizations.
2) Keep a close watch for updates on our Facebook page or via text/email for any further changes that may come up in the coming days and weeks.
3) Avoid contact with those who are sick.
Be sure that we are monitoring the San Antonio Metro Health District updates to make decisions about services in the coming weeks. We will share updates via text, our website, email, and social media. By taking these steps, we can enjoy our time together while protecting one another. We continue to pray for all those who have been effected by COVID-19 and flu this season. We are grateful for the hard work our federal and local officials are doing to serve the wellness of our communities!
Ps. Matt Rice and the SAF leadership team
Today starts a new time... one built for spring and summer. But we aren't just springing forward by turning our clocks ahead. We are making progress in implementing a vision that God has given us as a church: To reach 550 new people in our community! We call it Vision 728. By serving 550 more people, our SAF community will grow to about 728 people. Additionally, in our efforts to serve more individuals in our community, we are increasing what we offer at large. This includes upgrading, renovating, and expanding our facilities and campus to meet the needs of the people around us, so that we can be a physical place that can be counted on. We host HOAs, weddings, parties, memorials, homeschool groups, Scouts, community classes like ESL, and more. Vision 728 is about upping our game when it comes to the mission: investing in body, mind, and spirit because of God's grace.
Here is what is going on right now in the SAF community!
Between the celebrations of Christmas and the New Year sits a space, a membrane which makes the senses slow and body trudge, yet feels like a vacuum. It’s the space between the closing of one world and the opening of the next. And the same occurs after New Year’s Day, after the routines begin to whirl and the rhythm of responsibilities regain their authority. It’s a space between holiday and spring, pumpkin spice and fruit punch, cozy and basking. Here in San Antonio, it’s hot and cold and cold then hot. Even the plants are confused about this space, and we all just want to start the next season. But the space between is an opportunity like a diamond in the rough. What beautiful things are revealed when we seek to find, uncover, and polish the sparkle of something buried. So in the space between, for what nugget of truth, of growth, might God have you mine? What outstanding understanding could God speak to you only when you exist in the space b etween distractions?
The year is off to a great start! And it's all about small groups right now!
Small groups have started, however, there is still time to join or sign up for some of our hybrid groups. Many groups do meet weekly, but some meet at specific times in the session. Take a look at the images of the Small Group trifold to find out more and sign up for a small group! You can also click here to be directed to the groups page.
Wonderful things happening right now at SAF Church. Plans are in place to improve the facilities in ways that will immediately serve our community better. These plans will make the food distributions and other resources from West Avenue Compassion operate with more space and support. Parking will be improved in flow and spaces. Restrooms, classrooms, and volunteer break rooms will be added and/or renovated. Big. Plans.
But not only with these steps help us serve our community with more excellence, we know that it will create a space for God to reach His people, speaking inspiration, truth, and love all those who are brought to this campus. Our goal, given to the SAF staff, pastors, and board by God through prayer, is to reach 550 new people and become a part of their faith journey, giving service and support. With 550 new people, we will have 728 people on a mission to flourish as God's people by serving, loving, and inspiring others as they have been.
As we enter the new year, consider how you might be called to become a part of this Vision 728. Of course we need funds. We are grateful for those who have continued to support this monetarily. But we also need hands and feet, and spirit support through prayer and wisdom in strategy. We want all hands on deck for Vision 728!
See what's happening below, and see you soon!
This Christmas we have events all month long to celebrate the joy of the season. We kick off Dec. 4th with an open mic coffee house in our lobby, at 7pm. You can catch a show on the 14th, join us for a night of Christmas worship on the 20th, and drive through the parking lot on Dec. 23rd at 7am to add some joy to your morning commute via free coffee, coco, and prayer! There's plenty of opportunities, so come on out and celebrate!
As many of you who attend on Sundays or listen to the messages on Facebook sometime during the week many already know, we have some new ways of serving our church family and our community. Doing so effectively takes individuals who have a willingness to help others and a desire to use their skills in a volunteer capacity. Look at the few opportunities below and see if you might be interested... or see if one is just calling your name ;)
1. The Connector
We have a new small resource center called "The Connector." It's all about connecting people to what they need, be it a book, a small group, a pastor, information on church services, help finding professionals, or even just wanting to support the vision of SAF.Church by purchasing some swag and representing our church in your daily life (things like lanyards and t-shirts). We even have notebooks for your sermon inserts so you can keep a journal of your Sunday spiritual growth experience.
We are looking for someone who can run a simple point of service. We use Square for our check out, and it's fairly straightforward. But, having someone with some retail experience, who can keep track of inventory and check people out, as well as help people find that they are looking for, would be a great blessing to everyone!
All proceeds from the The Connector go to Vision 728, which helps us serve our community better. West Avenue Compassion (WAC) may be putting items there also, which would go to support WAC .
2. Prayer Teams
If you are interested in joining one of the prayer team groups that commits to praying for requests and urgent needs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Drive In Church
On Dec. 23rd we will be hosting a Drive Thru prayer, coffee, and hot chocolate event in our parking lot for the Monday morning commute! If you would like to bless your community and serve those who are still working even 2 days before Christmas, when kids are home from school, and well...it's Monday. Come out and let's make their day!
4. Sports Leagues
If you have experience helping with a sports team, we need you! There are lots of visions and idea floating around SAF leadership about using our campus for kids sports. Get in touch if this is your passion!
Coffee House Open Mic Dec. 4th
If you have anything to share... now is the time! On Dec. 4th at 7pm - 9pm we will have a Christmas Kick Off Open Mic night, hosted as a coffee house in the lobby! Coffee Bar, Cooking Bar, and fun art and entertainment... come on out y'all!
Sign up with your song, poem, story, art piece, graphic arts and film media!!
Email Jackie@saf.church, DM us on facebook @ /sanantoniofirstchurch, text us at 210.361.3943, or call us at 210.349.4241
© San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene 2019