COVID-19 UPDATES

Latest updates concerning COVID-19

Message from our Lead Pastor:

Our staff and leadership miss being together as a church and seeing every single one of you. From small groups, worship services, events, and more—we are feeling what we already knew to be true, we were built for in-person connection. While technology has been a blessing, it definitely is a stop gap to what God created us to be. We are excited, yet cautious, as we regather with all the PPE steps in place. The amazing surprise during this chapter has been how God has used this time to continue to grow the church. More people are worshiping together than we’ve ever seen, small groups are thriving, giving (which was already healthy) has been stronger than we’ve seen in years, and all this during a global pandemic. The building slowed down during this time, but they’ve picked back up and it will be finished in August 2020 if all goes well. We’ve seen baptisms, healing, and growth all due to God’s amazing grace.

With all of the good news, it has still been difficult to manage. Schools closed, jobs furloughed, and in this time of change it has raised the level of anxiety and depression for many. I’m reminded daily of Psalm 94:19, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

God’s movement supersedes any other feeling we may have. It doesn’t discount our feelings. God affirms us as people and simply says, “I have a better way.” It is with His calming love and grace that we move to help people meet Jesus. Our goal as a church is to communicate to our city and those searching for God, "Forefront Church is a place where you are welcome, safe, and able to bring all your skepticism and doubt."

We thank you for your time and patience as we move forward. None of this has been easy, but we're trusting God at each step of the journey. Our prayers have been with all of you as you’ve navigated uncharted waters. Your love for your neighbors and our city has been awe inspiring. It has confirmed what we’ve always believed, “The church isn’t a building or a bunch of stuff. It’s people helping people to find and follow Jesus.” While we never asked for a global pandemic or shut down, we will continue to trust God and move forward with grace and love.

Jason Bedell
Lead Pastor, Forefront Church

Update from Church Leadership On Church Services

Updated 07.29.2020 at 08:52 AM EST

Forefront Church Regathering Procedures

In this plan, we acknowledge that the federal/state leaders could change guidelines at any time. All of these are currently based on the guidelines as of July 29, 2020. With this being fluid, we appreciate your patience as we navigate this time of change. To view Virginia State Information concerning COVID-19, visit their website.

  • Sunday Worship Services online at 8:30am, 10am, and 11:30am.
  • Children’s programming will be available On-Demand through digital platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Website).
  • Monthly outdoor services on campus (weather permitting)
  • Student ministry will meet Sunday evenings at 5pm on campus.
  • Small Groups are meeting with in-person gatherings or optional digital gatherings via Zoom.
  • Office hours have resumed and no appointment will be needed.
  • Masks are required while indoors. Masks will be made available for anyone wanting one that does not have one.
  • Upgraded cleaning protocol will be in place along with all PPE items and signage required by state and local government.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will we be asked to wear masks when we return to church indoors?

A: Yes. Masks are required for all indoor activities in accordance with state guidelines. We will have masks available for anyone who wants to wear one, but doesn’t have access to one.

Q: Will children’s areas be open immediately? Are children’s volunteers going to have any checks before serving with kids?

A: To your first question, no, not immediately. We will be opening our new Family Ministry Center in mid-August, which will give more room for babies and kids. We look forward to them having a brand new space that is best suited for operating in this moment in time with COVID-19 and PPE requirements. As to your second question, yes. We will be checking with volunteers on their health before they serve, as well as temperature checks of all staff and volunteers weekly. Each volunteer will stay home if they are feeling sick, have a fever, or showing any other symptoms.

Q: When indoor services return, will we have different seating or will it be like we’ve known it to be?

A: Yes, all churches and businesses are required to keep seating at a 6ft distance. Our seating has been limited to just under 50% capacity and will have reservations for each week’s services, along with overflow in the lobby.

Q: Will handshakes and hugs be restricted on campus or can I hug all my people?

A: We love this question. During this time of change, we would encourage people to ask before going in strong for a hug. Be mindful of others and make sure they are open to a bear squeeze or simply a fist bump or elbow bump. Some people will want to keep their distance for now, and we will be respectful of where each person lands during this time.

Q: When will things be back to normal?

A: Truthfully, we don’t think “normal” has ever really worked for us at Forefront Church. We like to fit what we do to our community and city to reach people far from God. We are positive we will emerge from isolation with many lessons learned, new ways to approach connection, and holding on to the essentials of loving people with reckless abandon. We hope that we never get settled into anything comfortable, but always keep pushing to be people helping people to find and follow Jesus.

Q: With “no touch” policies in businesses, will we still pass buckets and communion during service?

A: We will have pre-packaged communion that each person will receive on the way in, so we are not passing trays through the auditorium. Offering will be done at stations as people enter and exit the auditorium as well.

Q: How has this impacted the church? Attendance? Giving? New Building?

A: Short answer, it has impacted us in a good way. Attendance is up. We have more people engaging services than when we were in person. Isn’t that awesome? We have members of our church who’ve never been to the building before. As far as giving, people’s generosity has been phenomenal. We cannot remember a time in the last 8 years that giving was this strong. We’ve always had a generous church family, but this has cemented the fact that we are a church that knows what it means to be generous. Finally, the new building slowed down during the initial isolation period, but it’s picked right back up and moving full force. We are excited to have the building open some time in August 2020.

Q: What if someone tests positive for COVID-19 and has attended an outdoor Sunday service, small group, or event at Forefront?

A: In the event someone tests positive and has attended a gathering at Forefront Church, our first goal is to care for the person. They are required to quarantine for a 14 day period. We will do everything we can for them to help ease their burden. Next, we would immediately contact anyone that may have come into contact with the person that tested positive. As we contact people, we are required by the local health department to contact them and see what further steps need to be taken.

Q: I’ve heard there could be a second wave that could cause another shutdown or isolation time. What is Forefront’s plan for that?

A: As we did in this time of mandates, we would follow the guidance of our federal and state authorities to comply in any way we needed to. We’ve seen that God can move during a time of isolation, so we will choose to move in faith and not fear, while also honoring the authorities that are in place.

Q: I have a pre-existing condition, but I want to come back as soon as we open. Is that okay?

A: Yes. We ask everyone to use their own discretion when deciding when and how to come back. If you are more prone to infection, please follow the direction of your doctors and medical experts.

Q: This may be a weird question, but how is the staff doing with all of this?

A: This is Jason answering this one. You are very kind to ask that. Our staff has been amazingly resilient during this. They all basically were fired from their current jobs and rehired for a much different role. It has led to longer work hours, learning new technology, and engaging people in new ways to keep people connected. They are doing well. Honestly they are all a little tired. Working in this way has not been easy on pastors, counselors, and others helping people navigate isolation and a global pandemic. We’re proud of them and have continually encouraged breaks, creating margin, and shutting off devices when able. If you think about it, send them a note to say thank you and maybe share a story of how they’ve helped you. A little note goes a long way.

Contact Us

Thank you for taking the time to learn how Forefront Church is moving forward and reopening. If you have any questions, please contact us:

Email: hello@forefront.org

Website: http://forefront.org

Mailing Address: 2520 Holland Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23453