I hope you and your family had a great 4th of July weekend and your new week has started off well!  I just wanted to let you know about a couple of important things happening at Coastal.  First of all, in light of the rising number of COVID cases, more and more people are choosing to watch our services online instead of in-person – which we completely understand.  However, it is putting a strain on the volunteer base required to offer multiple in-person services each week.  Because of this, Coastal is going to provide ONE in-person service at 9:30am for right now.  We will continue to offer our service online at 9:30am, 11:15am, and 6:00pm.  We will closely monitor the situation and our capacity to offer social distancing in our auditorium.  In other words, as the numbers improve in our community (go down) and more and more people start returning to in-person worship (go up), we will open up the 11:15am service.  Also, keep in mind that our church will be following the City of Charleston’s mask mandate. If you don’t have a mask, we will gladly provide one as you enter.

But, and this is important – whatever you choose to do, don’t disengage from the church during this time!  We need each other now more than ever before.  As always, if you’re sick, immunocompromised, or caring for those who are, PLEASE stay home.  But don’t use staying home from church as an excuse not to tune in and watch our service each week.  It’s so easy, especially right now, to get out of the habit of corporate worship and fellowship.  “No one will know if I don’t tune in.  What does it really matter?  It’s just one week.”  And then one week becomes two, and two becomes four.  And now it’s a habit and you find yourself on the outside looking in, and you wonder how you ended up where you’re at.  

If you ARE going to watch from home, do more than just watch – ENGAGE.  What do I mean by that?  Decide in advance which service you are going attend and be prepared – get up early, get yourself (and your family) physically and mentally ready (much like you would do if you were coming in-person).  And then do the other things you would do in person: actually sing along with the songs, comment and chat with people online, give, take communion, fill out your Connect Card and share your prayer requests, next steps, and decisions.  Maybe your next step is to officially make Coastal your church home and become a Member. Our next Membership Class is this Saturday morning, July 11th, 9am-11:30am.  It’s going to be BOTH in-person AND online.  You can sign up right now from our website.  I would also encourage you to invite and bring your friends each Sunday!  How do you do that online you ask?  Share our services on Facebook.  Even if you are watching on another application like churchonline or YouTube, jump over to Facebook and share our service post.  It’s great free advertising!  Start an online Watch Party!  This is a great way to target and invite specific people that you are friends with on Facebook.

And then stay engaged by serving!  Even if you are not comfortable coming to our in-person services yet and serving on Sunday morning, there are always multiple opportunities to serve our community during the week.  Drop off non-perishable food during the week for our Food Bank (it’s really low right now).  You can even take food directly to one of our Community Blessing Boxes (contact Chris Jones for more info).  Drop off supplies for Operation Christmas Child (July is new t-shirts & socks month).   This Wednesday, July 8th 8am-1pm, our church is teaming up with the Veteran’s Administration and Soldiers’ Angels to supply local low-Income veteran families with food assistance at the mobile food distribution.  And then on Friday, July 17th, 9:30am-11:30am, Coastal will be serving with the Lowcountry Orphan Relief.  If you are interested in either of these opportunities, reach out toPastor Chris Jones.  By the way, it is your consistent giving that enables our church to continue to provide our online services and everything it does in our community. You can give to our church through our website or simply text ANY amount to 843-277-8337.

You see, the church doesn’t slow down just because you’re watching our services from home.  But it’s up to you to stay focused and engaged.  Probably the best way to stay engaged is through our LIFE Groups.  Yes, our LIFE Groups are on Summer Break right now, but we are in the process of thinking through and planning out our Fall Semester.  It’s possible that our Groups will look a little different this Fall – probably a hybrid of what we did in the Spring.  I can see us having small in-person groups in homes, online groups, and a mix of both.  But here’s what I need you to do, make a commitment NOW to be a part of some kind of Group in the Fall.  And if you are willing to lead, co-lead, assist, or host a group, please respond to this email or reach out to Pastor Scott – we need you!  You get to be the pioneers!  You get to be on the front lines offering love, care, and hope!

I love you Coastal and I love what we get to do together – sharing and experiencing the LIFE & LOVE of Jesus with Charleston and the world!  And that never stops, no matter when or how we meet! 
Pastor Chris

P.S.  Janet and I will be back on Facebook LIVE this Wednesday evening at 8pm from my own personal Facebook page!  We’ll be cooking a meal (and giving it away to a lucky winner), talking about all things Coastal, and as always laughing and having fun!  We would love for you to join us!