updates from our pastor

November 25, 2020

We are getting into the colder season, and it appears that COVID cases are spiking some again. We want to continue to take precautions to prevent the spread. I know everyone has his own opinion concerning the severity of the virus and what safety measures should or should not be taken. Here's my encouragement: Continue to love each other well. Give grace to one another and continue to bear with one another. While we are not requiring masks in our gatherings, please feel free to wear one! If you don't wear one, please respect those who do by maintaining proper precautions. 

August 27, 2020

I’m excited to announce that we will be going back to one service starting on Sunday, September 6th. The service will begin at 10:30am, and we will offer limited childcare.

 

While this is closer to “normal” for us, I want to emphasize that we are not fully back to normal. There are several implications and details that I need to communicate to you regarding this, so please read the following categories carefully.

 

Precautions

The deacons and I have been reviewing the numbers and stats regarding the virus. We still believe that we need to be vigilant in practicing certain precautions. However, we also believe that we can arrange our seating in a way that will allow us to gather together safely. We are going to add more chairs to the sanctuary and mark off certain sections not to sit in, which will allow us to maintain the social distancing we want to practice.

 

Please continue to be mindful of others in your interactions as some will be more/less comfortable than others. The foyer will be the most congested area, so please be intentional not to congregate in that area. Also, if you feel sick, please stay home!

 

No Pressure to Come

Just because we are going back to one service, that does not mean that we are pressuring everyone to come. If you are still uncomfortable in gathering with a group and you want more time to evaluate the virus, we understand! We will do our best to minister to you from a distance.

 

Core Classes

We will continue to offer one core class that will meet in the gym before the corporate worship service. This class will start at 9:30am and will conclude at 10:15am.

 

Childcare

We will be offering childcare for ages infant-5yrs old during the corporate worship service only. There will be no childcare for the core class hour at this time. We will continue to evaluate this going forward.

The following precautions will be in place for childcare:

* All children will check in at the check in desk located in the children’s ministry wing.

* As a part of the check in system, all children and volunteers will have their temperatures scanned upon entry.   Any temperature of 100 F or higher will be considered as a fever and will prevent a child or volunteer from     entering.

* Likewise, if a child does not have a fever but is showing other symptoms such as a cough, runny nose,     congestion, etc, the child will still not be allowed to enter the classroom.

* We will be monitoring room capacity to ensure that we are not overloading rooms.

 

**Parents** please help us in maintaining these precautions. While we want to love, welcome, and care for children, we want to prevent the spread of sickness. Therefore, we will be practicing strict adherence to these guidelines and will err on the side of caution concerning questionable cases. Please do not be offended if we have to decline a child’s entry into a classroom because of sickness.

 

We continue to move forward slowly and cautiously. Thank you all for maintaining these precautions well. I look forward to gathering as one church on September 6th! 

July 10, 2020

The situation with Covid-19 continues to influence how we meet together and function as a church. The deacons and I have been in discussion about how we can continue with precautions while at the same time moving forward with ministry at Abner Creek. We don't think it would be wise to ignore Covid-19 and resume with normal church activities, but at the same time, we recognize
that we must begin to move forward with ministry while acknowledging
it will look and feel much different than before. 


Therefore, I'm excited to announce that beginning on August 2nd, we will offer two core classes each Sunday morning. These classes will meet during our two service times. Therefore, there will be one core class meeting at 9am and another meeting at 10:45am. This will allow you, if you so desire, to meet for a core class and then attend the corporate worship service in the other hour. These classes will meet in the gym so that we can maintain proper social distancing. 

The first two class offerings will be taught by Scotty Stone and Steve Fisher. Steve Fisher will be teaching the 9am class which is entitled "Praying the Bible." This will be introducing a prayer model that you can use in your daily prayers. It's a wonderful model especially if you feel like you often get stuck saying the same things or not knowing what to pray. Scotty Stone will be teaching the 10:45 class which is entitled "Why the Bible is So Important." He will be looking at the characteristics of Scripture and how they should impact our daily lives. We know intellectually that the Bible is our foundation, but do we live in light of that truth? This class will solidify your confidence in God's Word. 

I also wanted to update you on childcare. Childcare is challenging because it's harder to keep children from physical contact. However, we are looking into how we might provide childcare in a way that is safe and wise. We are currently gathering data and numbers (how many children we have, how many volunteers are willing to serve at this time, are parents comfortable with childcare, etc). We hope to have some conclusions on this matter shortly. Thank you for your patience as we think through these important details. 

God is growing all of us in this time--to trust him more, to be content with the unknown, to love our neighbors well, to bear with those whom we disagree with, etc. He is working in this time in ways that we absolutely need for our spiritual well being and perseverance in the faith. Let me encourage you to see this as a good providence from the Lord. It's often uncomfortable and tiring, but that's often the road we walk in faith. God's grace is still sufficient for all of us today, and his mercies continue to be new every morning. Praise his name, for he is a good God! 

June 12, 2020

The deacons and I continue to evaluate the situation concerning Covid-19. Worshipping together has been wonderful over the last few weeks, and we continue to see more and more people returning to corporate worship slowly and cautiously. As we continue to meet and as our numbers continue to grow, please stay active in practicing all the necessary precautions. I recognize that many of you do not feel the need to practice these guidelines, but please be mindful of the members around you who do. It's an opportunity to love, respect, and serve one another in this time as we all are happy to meet together but may find ourselves with differing opinions concerning the virus. Let our love for Christ and unity in His Church rule in our hearts. See you Sunday!

- Donald -


May 14, 2020

Church family and friends,

 

Lord willing, we will resume our in-person worship gatherings on Sunday, May 24th. We will offer two identical services—9am and 10:45am. In an effort to cautiously resume our gatherings, we will only gather for the corporate worship service at this time. Therefore, we will not have our 9:30 Bible study hour, childcare for the worship service, or mid-week activities. This is certainly not ideal, but we will evaluate this on a week to week basis, and we will offer a more normal schedule as soon as we can. Below are a few details concerning our gatherings.

 

Building

In order to keep the building as clean as possible, the children’s wing will be closed off, unless needed for overflow seating. Please use the main entrance or the side entrance on the adult wing to enter and exit the building. Utilizing both entrances will hopefully prevent a bottle neck on one. Doors will be propped open and monitored by our safety team.

 

Social Distancing

We encourage you to follow the recommended social distancing guidelines. We know it will be exciting to be gathered together again with so many that we have missed seeing. However, please be mindful of others and refrain from personal contact such as hugging or handshaking. Also, we want you to enjoy fellowship with one another once again, but please do not cluster together, and if possible, carry your conversations after or before the service into the parking lot.

 

Sanitizing

We are going to do our best to keep the building as clean as possible. Please use the hand sanitizer that will be placed throughout the building. Also, we will be propping doors open before and after services to lessen the amount of touch points for you and your family. Between and after services, we will have a small team sanitizing various touch points prepping the building for the next service such as main entrances and bathrooms. Also for sanitizing purposes, we will not be offering coffee or the Lord’s supper at this time.

 

Seating

Because we are offering two services, crowd size for each service will be smaller naturally. However, we are also removing some chairs from the worship center to provide necessary spacing and additional aisles. Please sit where you would like unless otherwise directed by our ushers. Overflow seating will be provided in the children’s wing should we need it.

 

Giving

To lessen the amount of touching, we will not be passing the offering plate. However, you will still be able to give. As you exit after the service, an usher will be positioned at each exit to receive any offerings. Members of our finance team who normally handle the morning offering will continue to do so. Online giving and dropping off your offering at the church office will still be available as well.

 

Masks

While we are not requiring masks for services, you are free to wear masks and gloves if you would like. Also, if you are symptomatic or not feeling well, we would encourage you to stay home.

 

Online Content

If you are not comfortable yet gathering with us in person—that’s okay! We will be recording our sermon each Sunday morning and will have it posted on our website by 6pm on Sundays. VIEW HERE


Wednesday Night Bible Study

We will not have an in-person Wednesday night Bible study, but Scotty Stone will continue to teach through Amos on Wednesday evenings at 6:45 via Zoom. Meeting ID: 159-821-153


 

Visitors

Please continue to welcome our guests and visitors. Using wisdom and social distancing, please make our guests feel the Abner Creek welcome that so many of us have appreciated. This will be more challenging during this time, but let’s love them well!

 

Can’t wait to see you all on May 24!

 

In Christ,

 

Donald

May 8, 2020

I am excited to inform you that, Lord willing, we will resume gathering for our Sunday corporate worship service again beginning on Sunday, May 24th! Recently, South Carolina government officials lifted the stay/work from home orders and have allowed restaurants and many businesses to resume operations, not fully, but in limited capacities. Likewise, our gatherings, while resuming, will be at a slow and cautious pace. This first phase of opening will include the worship service only. Therefore, we will not have our 9:30 Bible study hour or childcare for the service. Gatherings will not look exactly as they did before initially, but I hope this will be a first step back in that direction, and it’s certainly better than not meeting at all!

A small team of individuals is currently working on a re-opening plan that will follow DHEC guidelines and other precautions as we seek to ease back into gathering together in a way that is safe and wise. This plan will also include options for those of you who may not feel ready to meet yet. We want to make sure you are still able to access weekly sermons as you are now. Full details and logistics for our time of gathering on the 24th will be coming soon, but for now, rejoice with me as we look forward to being together again, in limited capacity, on May 24th!

- - - - - - - 

Donald

April 22, 2020

Like many of you, I'm wondering when we will be able to gather together again. With each passing week, I'm hopeful that I will soon preach my last sermon to an empty room! The deacons and I are meeting and discussing what our gatherings will look like when we are able to meet again, along with some other logistics, but until we know a date, we will press on with our weekly recordings and Zoom meetings. As soon as I know differently, I will communicate that to you. Thank you for your continued support, patience, and faithful giving and watching in this time!

 

I do have something new to share with you. Starting on Wednesday, April 29th at 6:45pm, Scotty Stone will be teaching through the book of Amos. This meeting will have more of an interactive Bible Study feel to it as opposed to the Sunday morning singing and preaching. This teaching time will replace our Wednesday night Zoom meeting, although you will login into the meeting the exact same way. Here are the details for how to join that Wednesday class on Amos:


Visit Zoom.com

Click "Join Meeting"

Enter the meeting ID: 159821153

Enter the password (available from the church office or through our weekly email updates)


Praying for you all regularly. Please let me know if you need anything! 

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5

- - - - - - 

Donald

April 8, 2020

Some of you have mentioned the idea of having a drive in service. You may have seen other churches in our area doing something similar. However, the deacons and I met on Sunday and discussed this option, and we ultimately decided not to host a drive in service.

 

We share with many of you a longing to once again gather with the church in person, especially as Easter approaches. For many of you, it will be the first time in your life that you will not be gathered with the church on Easter. We feel the same grief over that reality. This longing to be with the church is a good desire, one that should not be suppressed. In Romans 1, Paul mentions his longing to be with the church in Rome, but ultimately God had not allowed it to happen to that point. So the desire to be with the church, even if through a drive in service is a good desire, and we are not saying that other churches that do such are wrong, but here are a few of the primary reasons we have decided not to host one. 

 

1. The spirit of the law from our governing authorities is one where large crowds should not gather together. A drive in service may meet the letter of law (since we wouldn't actually be contacting each other) but it doesn't seem to meet the spirit of the law (refraining from large gatherings).

 

2. A drive in service could be more distracting than helpful. Watching from home allows you to watch when it’s the best time for you. You can pause, rewind, (or even fast forward!). But with a drive in, distraction is multiplied in a new environment (cars having to leave, kids getting out, etc.) We want the content to be edifying in this time. We think the best option for that in this unique time is watching online in a controlled environment.

 

3. Logistics--There are many logistics that present problems (No bathrooms, cars having to leave, kids inside a car for 45+ minutes, weather, and the natural desire to stretch the limits of interacting with others more than we should in this time, etc.)

 

I realize many churches are handling these logistics and challenges, and for some of you these things wouldn’t be a problem, but as we weigh the circumstances for everyone, these are some of the issues we have thought through, which brought us to our conclusion to not host a drive in service.

 

I wanted to give you a detailed explanation of this decision, because like many of you, we are trying to think through how to best be the church in this time. The deacons and I value your thoughts and ideas, and I want you to know we discuss them in detail. Don't stop longing to be with the church. But gathering is just one aspect of the church (a big one no doubt!). In this time when we can't gather, we still ARE the church--in our love for our neighbors, in daily discipline to godliness, by intentionally caring for the needs of one another, by devoting ourselves to the Lord and his Word, and by our daily witness of hope in the midst of this time.

 

We will gather again, and when we do, just imagine the joy of that day!

 

----

Donald

April 3, 2020

For those of you who are unable to join our Sunday and Wednesday zoom.com meetings by video chat, we have a phone call option which will allow you to join the meeting from any phone without having to use the internet or video option.


Follow these instructions to phone into our meetings:

1) Call (415) 762-9988  OR  (646) 568-7788  AND follow the verbal instructions.


2) Enter the Meeting ID that you wish to join followed by the # key


a) Sunday Evening 6:45pm Meeting ID: 904530209 and press #

b) Wednesday Evening 6:45pm  Meeting ID: 159821153 and press #


3) If it prompts you to enter a participation ID, press # key again.


Start calling in just a few minutes early to be sure you have time to complete the steps before the meeting begins. Hope to hear from you soon!





March 25, 2020

I hope you all are doing well in this uniquely strange time. While I missed being with everyone Sunday, thank you to all who were able to watch online. The format will be very similar this week. Join in on Sunday morning with us here. We will have it uploaded for you by 9am, Lord willing. If you have any questions or if you were unable to access the recording, please let me know so that we can help find a solution for you.

 

Obviously, we weren't the only ones who gathered like that on Sunday. Here is an article that you may find interesting as to how others worshiped around the world.

 

Our first couple of Zoom meetings have gone well! If you haven't been apart of one, consider joining in with us. We use this time for general check in with one another and prayer. If you need help with the technology portion of these meetings, let us know.

 

Also, parents you will be receiving some resources that you can hopefully use with your children in this time. These are great resources to use around the dinner table or in the living room. We hope you will find them helpful as you look to disciple your children.

 

Thank you for your continued faithfulness in giving financially to the ministry of the church. You can give online, send checks in by mail, or drop them off by the church office. We know that many are under pressure from job situations in this time. If you are a member or faithful attendee of our church and find yourself needing assistance financially, please reach out to me confidentially to see if we may be able to help.


In Christ,

Donald Thomas

Lead Pastor

March 17, 2020

As I expressed Sunday, the situation with the Coronavirus is changing day by day. On Sunday, the governor closed all South Carolina schools and advised any gatherings over 100 people be cancelled. The CDC has expressed further caution advising gatherings to not exceed 50 people. The president requested on Monday that no more than 10 people gather together.

 

The deacons and I met on Monday evening to discuss how these recommendations affect our weekly gatherings. As a result, we have decided to cancel all the public gatherings of our church at this time. We will evaluate this decision week to week and will communicate to you as soon as this changes. 

 

We are not making this decision out of fear but out of prudence and love for our neighbors. As I preached Sunday, we do not need to fear or worry because God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46). However, we do want to exercise wisdom in this time as God commands. The government officials and health professionals are working hard to eradicate the spread of the virus, and they have requested cooperation from churches and other organizations. We want to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.

 

The deacons and I will be in constant communication as the situation progresses. We will communicate updates to you as soon as they become available. In the mean time, we encourage you to make use of the following resources.

 

1. I will continue to preach each week, and we will post that recording for you to watch. This posting will be available on Sunday morning on our website. Let me encourage you to gather with your family on Sunday morning in your home and watch the posted service. You can find the posted sermon at abnercreekbaptist.org/resources/sermons

 

2. We will host regular online video meetings. Twice per week, you will have the option to join in on an online video meeting for discussion and prayer. The two meeting times will be Sunday evenings at 6:45pm and Wednesday Evenings at 6:45pm. Those online meetings will begin this Sunday, March 22nd.

 

We will use zoom.com to host these meetings. You can join in on your computer or on your phone through the Zoom App.

 

In order to join the Sunday evening meeting follow this link:

https://zoom.us/j/904530209 Meeting ID: 904-530-209

 

In order to join the Wednesday evening meeting follow this link:

https://zoom.us/j/159821153 Meeting ID: 159-821-153

 

3. We will communicate regular updates through email, Facebook, and phone calls.

 

4. If you normally give on Sunday mornings, consider online giving. It’s simple, secure, and easily accessed. abnercreekbaptist.org/give You may also give by mailing a check to 2461 Abner Creek Rd, Greer, SC 29651 or by placing your envelop in the locked drop box on the church office mail box.

 

The deacons and I stand ready to help you in any way we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us, and we will do our best to minister to you in this unique time. Please join us in constant prayer as we trust in our sovereign God during this unknown season. He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. You can trust in Him!

 

In Christ, 

Donald Thomas

Lead Pastor