Friday, April 24

Dear Precious Family of Faith,

Greetings from the dark end of the tunnel where we finally can see some light! Can I just brag on our Lord? After all, is He not the one that has connected the majority of us to have the joy of doing what we call life together? God is good! We say it often at Clear Springs, but COVID-19 has reminded us that this is more than a tagline attached to the end of a church service. Through all of this we have seen His goodness. How? I’m glad you asked. We have not witnessed one person connected to our congregation who has contracted or lost their life due to this virus. Though many around our world have, and our hearts break for them, we rejoice that God has hedged in and protected our family of faith. In addition, we have been able to continue ministering effectively in a socially-distanced world. We have ministered to our community, our church family, and literally people all over the globe. Sermons and singing have reached every continent, almost every state, and in many countries. People who had never heard of our ministry have logged on and have been exposed to our wonderful church, and the God we gladly represent (and may never have if not through a global pandemic). Here is what really makes us sense the goodness of God: we have a report of two precious souls that have been saved via our online church services. This makes it worth it all, and reminds us of the reality of what we often say: God is so good!

Let me conclude this email by giving you some great news, and the details that go along with it. As you are now well-aware, our local government is set to open the economy back up on May 1st. Though churches have never been deemed as non-essential, it means that we also have the clarity to begin the process of gathering again. Our team is extremely ready for this, but we also approach it with caution and common sense. This is not an arrogant statement, but an obvious one: we have a large church. This is a great blessing, but under circumstances becomes a heavy burden. By that I simply mean that we have to be creative in how we bring you back because of the larger numbers. We want you here, and we feel it is time, but we want to be safe about doing it. While we know everyone will not agree with our decisions (or certain aspects of the process), we can guarantee that our decision-making process is bathed in prayer, and led by the Holy Spirit. Our desire is to use Godly wisdom in every decision we make. The following is all the detailed information you will need as we slowly make our way back to regular church:

We will have a phased opening that will limit our attendance at each service we offer. Services will look a little different once you return but rest assured, we hope to get back to normal as soon as possible. Three (3) services will be offered and the details will be outlined later in this email. Each service is designed to last approximately an hour and there will be sanitation teams with specific responsibilities between each service. NO services will offer nursery, full choir, Sunday School, or Kids Church. In addition, we will not be providing printed bulletins or serving coffee. Greeters will be very limited and only utilized to have doors opened to minimize contact with doors. We will receive our weekly offering, but will use new ways of doing it. We will also develop an enter/exit plan as we have the changeover between services. All of these are only being utilized as methods to be as preventative as possible. We want our return to be safe and secure for our church family.

As stated before, we will offer three (3) service times to choose from. Additional service times are only temporary to increase our ability to continue social distancing. Our staff is committed to a very rigorous schedule on Sundays in May so that we can balance having you back, but keeping you safe. For this reason, we will not offer Sunday night worship until at least June. We will eventually resume Sunday nights as we see them as a very valuable service, but under our three (3) service models in May, it will be very demanding on our pastors and support staff. Our building is tentatively scheduled to reopen on Sunday, May 3rd, and this schedule will continue for one (1) month, when we will evaluate the conditions at that time. The services are as follows:

Sundays, May 3-24

Senior Adult Worship Service
8:30am
This service is designated for those 65 years old and older. We want you to have a less attended and more secure environment for you to worship in. This in no way means our senior adults are limited to the early service, as they are welcome to any service, but is an alternative just for our Seniors. We will enforce this strongly and ask anyone under 65 years of age to please wait for one of the other available service times.

Worship Services
9:45am and 11:00am
These times are designed for our church family, visitors, or anyone wanting to come and worship with us. Two (2) services are not meant to necessarily divide our church other than to limit our capacity (which increases our ability to distance out). I can assure you that all of us are anxiously awaiting the day we are all together again as one body!

We would also politely ask you to be considerate of others. If you are sick, running a fever, or are in any way at-risk please be patient on your return. We have come a long way, but still have a ways to go, and this means we all work together (and for) one another.

In short, I have a couple of requests. Please know that Pastor Rob, Pastor Paul, other staff, and I are not perfect. Every decision is weighed out with your best interest at heart. You may not agree with every decision we have made (or will continue to make) through this process, but know we have prayed, consulted, and done only that which God has given us peace to do. Please reserve your options and criticism and use that same energy to pray for us as we attempt to lead a church in a circumstance our world has never seen before. You all have been GREAT thus far, please let’s keep working together for God’s honor. Secondly, we need some volunteers. Our goal would be to have two (2) teams of 20-25 people per team between each service as a special sanitation teams. That means we need 40-50 people to assist in a 15 minute wipe down of the high-traffic spots. This would happen between the 8:30am and 9:45am service and again between the 9:45am and 11:00am service. We will have gloves and all necessary supplies. Please note that this would be a 4-week commitment in the month of May. Some have already expressed they would help, but we need more. If you would be willing to serve the Lord by serving the church in this capacity, please call our office at (865) 688-7674 starting next Monday (April 27th) and let Taryn know.

We love you all and cannot wait to be back together. Pray for us, and know that we will be praying for you.

In His service,

Pastor Justin


Friday, April 9

Hello Church Family,

This weekend we reach the climax of our faith: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ! What a momentous truth to celebrate. This year will look different for all of us due to the COVID-19 and the restrictions that have come along with it. I have said through this entire process that we are treading cautiously, but due to our faith in Christ, we refuse to be chaotic. At Clear Springs we are committed to both your physical and spiritual safety. For these reasons we have done our very best to keep you safe and engaged during these different and difficult days, and we will continue to do so. It has been our staff’s honor to do whatever it takes to continue serving you and your family.

One of the things I began to think about weeks ago was what Easter weekend was going to look like. I mean, who wants to be separated from their church family on resurrection weekend? We have spent lots of time in prayer seeking God’s will as to what we should do. After a lot of prayer and communication with our staff leadership, I am happy to provide the details of the weekend plans below.

Friday (4/10):
We are sending out assigned volunteers to “EGG” the yards of parents who pre-registered their children to be a part of the first ever, “You Got Egged” event at 9:00pm Friday night. This event is an at home-egg hunt for our children because we had to cancel our regularly scheduled event. Our prayer is that through having fun, our kids would be reminded that our church loves them, and that Jesus Christ is the real meaning of Easter. Our staff and children’s leaders have written special hand-written messages to each of the children reminding them of these two things. If convenient, please post images to social media using #csbceggedmyhouse.

Saturday (4/11):
Due to the forecasted weather, we have decided to move our Drive-In Church to SATURDAY EVENING. We are looking at very heavy rain for Sunday, which would limit our ability to offer an outdoor church service on Easter Sunday. The service will begin at 7:00pm on Saturday evening and be held in the church parking lot. It is a vital necessity that you help us by STAYING IN YOUR CAR for the duration of the service. This is to ensure both your safety and the safety of others. Drive-In Church is a safe and approved alternative to our regular service, but it will be ineffective if we don’t work together to remain socially distanced by staying in our car. Please note that NO BATHROOMS will be available, and our buildings will remain locked during the evening. We will have a special photo booth that you and your family can have a photo taken (while still in your car)! Please pay attention to our parking greeters and follow their lead as they will strategically park the vehicles to ensure that every car should be able to exit in case of an emergency. At the end of the service, we will have an opportunity for you to tithe in a drive-by offering. Our goal is to have the service finish up around 8:00-8:15pm.

GOOD NEWS! 11th Hour will still be with us for our special singing at the Saturday Drive-In Church service!

Please use #easteratcsbc on all social media posts.

Sunday (4/12):
Resurrection Sunday! We will celebrate by having a Virtual Sunrise Service with our very own Dr. Damon Patterson. He will preach at 7:30am via YouTube, Facebook, and ClearSpringsBaptist.net. Be sure to jump on and watch as we start Easter morning with Pastor Damon.

At 10:15am we will have an Online Easter Service with Pastor Rob singing, and I will bring a thought from God’s Word. You will be able to log onto our website, Facebook, or YouTube to watch the service live. We will celebrate together with an online experience.

Sunday evening at 7:00pm, we will offer another episode of Clear Talk. This week we will be using a panel of pastors, and they be answering questions regarding leadership and Bible doctrine. Be sure to sign in and email us any questions that you would like for us to tackle.

In closing, I want to thank you. Thank you for trusting Rob, Paul, and I through this process. It is very different for us all, and we are trying to carefully navigate through it by simply seeking God and following His path. Your encouragement has been a great blessing to each of us. As a church we are doing great, and so many of you have faithfully continued giving to the Lord through our local church. I commend you for being faithful in your tithes and giving. We are committed to keep preaching God’s Word and to loving and serving you until this is over. We miss you terribly and cannot wait to be with you again. As always, if you have a need or have any questions contact our offices at (865) 688-7674.

In His service,

Pastor Justin

 

Friday, March 20

Fellow Church Members,

We are so excited to announce a first for Clear Springs: Drive-In Church! This is going to be an epic day that will be memorialized for years to come. We will look back one day and say, "remember that time we had church in our cars because of COVID-19 in 2020?"

These days have required the staff and I to get creative. Though “Drive-In Church” didn’t originate with us, it will be the first time that we have ever done it. As you are well aware, President Trump and the government strongly advise us not to meet in groups of more than 10. The State of Tennessee has not issued any kind of mandate that we not meet, but we still want to be positive examples of Christianity by adhering to the advice of our civil government.

Here is the hard part! We love you guys, and the most difficult thing of this whole process is for the shepherd to not get to see the sheep. Our staff literally lives to love and lead each of you. Our thoughts were this: Drive-In Church gives us the opportunity to be together in a different and unique circumstance, while still keeping groups of less than 10 in a confined space. Hence, Drive-In Church!

This will be exactly what it is, church! We are asking for all of you, unless you are quarantining due to compromised health issues (or age), to come and be a part of this historical day. We, based on what we are hearing, will have tons of visitors and we certainly want to use this opportunity to make a lasting impression. Things will go back to normal and when they do, they might just come back and be with us.

This will obviously take as many hands-on deck as we can possibly get. Many of our teams have already went to work preparing for Sunday. We want this to be done right and we want it to be done well. It will look like a regular service, with a few minor modifications, and obviously with our audience in their cars. We will sing and worship, we will have a chance to give our tithes and offerings, God’s Word will be preached, and an invitation given! Who knows what God might do?

Many have reached out and asked how you can possibly help. So, here you go with our greatest needs listed first:

1. Set Up/Take Down Crew
We will need a team of individuals that will help us set up the stage, which is actually very easy and doesn't even require tools. It will need to be leveled and stable. We will also need 2-4 tables brought up from the downstairs basement, as we are planning on making a lasting impression, by greeting people with cups of coffee as they drive in. After the event is over, we will need committed people to help us take everything down and stow it away. Your commitment would be to show up at the church Sunday morning around 8:00am - 8:30am, and be willing to stay 30 minutes to an hour after the event is over.

If you would like to help, just show up or let Pastor Rob (865.898.3020) or myself know (865.389.0332).

2. Security/Parking Attendants
I know we rotate security, but this week we will need all of you. Your duties will be to help us strategically park all vehicles as they arrive to ensure that every car has the best view possible. This is also important for acoustics. You will have the most important job of the day and communication will be key. I know you all will do a great job.

If you want more information or would like to help in this area, please contact Bud Blake (865.360.1926).

3. Hospitality/Greeter Teams
We would love to have team members at the top of the hill on each entrance to greet by waving and smiling. We plan on having coffee if they’d like it. We would want no more than 10 per side (entrance) and would be in contact with some cars that enter, if they wanted a cup of coffee. These individuals will play a huge roll in the impression that we create on those who may visit us. You all always outdo yourselves, and this Sunday will be no different.

If you are willing and want to help with this, please contact Connie Armstrong (865.219.9981).

4. Ushers
Many have called to ask if they will be able to give their tithes at Drive-In Sunday, so we will accommodate that. We will need available and able ushers to be ready to receive simply by walking by cars and allowing folks to put their offering in a 5-gallon bucket. This will allow every person to remain in their car for the duration of the service.

If you have questions, please address them to Mike Lakin (865.679.1263). He will have the buckets there and ready.

5. Audio and Video
Our audio and video team have their details and most everything has been covered on this end. Our aim is to Livestream the service and will require our camera operators and technicians to be in their place. Kevin Roach will set up his mobile PA system and run sound.

If you have ideas or suggestions in any of these areas, please address them to Kevin Roach (865.456.1580), Richard Tilley (865.368.8841), Jeremy Kidwell (865.809.8414), and/or Bobbie Wyatt (865.705.5864).

I apologize for the long email, but I wanted to be detailed in our needs and ensure that they are all met so that we can make this as smooth and efficient as possible. With the exception of those working, you shouldn’t even have to exit your vehicle. If you want to volunteer to help in any capacity, be there no later than 8:30 and we will plug you in!

Our deepest prayer is that this event would not just be something to remember, but literally changes the lives of those who gather. My last request is that every member of Clear Springs set aside a special time to saturate this event with prayer. Ask God for favor and that all will run smoothly. I know He can use it and will if our intentions are pure and right.

We love you all and can’t wait to see you (even if it’s through a windshield)!

In His service,

Pastor Justin

Wednesday, March 18

Hello Fellow Laborer,

As I am currently writing this email to you, our world is still in chaos. Truthfully, we have never seen it like this before. My philosophy throughout this entire process has been to be cautious, but not chaotic. Our God is in control! We know this and are fully persuaded that this too shall come to pass. Until it does, we have some ideas and suggestions as to how you can help us at Clear Springs.

The staff and I are evaluating the situation daily. Though we are not making any long?term calls, we are, however, embracing for a few weeks modified schedules. These modified schedules will vary from week to week. We are having to play the game of doing what’s best for our church and honoring what is asked of us from the U.S. and local government.

With that in mind, listed are some things we would kindly ask of you to do that will yield great results for our church family.

1. Staff
As I already know you will, please be on guard and ready to respond at a moment’s notice. My intentions are to keep our offices open as regular as possible to ensure that the needs of our congregation are met in a timely manner. These days are going to require us to communicate effectively and regularly. It is our goal and joy to serve our community and church in the best possible way we can.

2. Deacons
Please help us by regularly checking on our shut-ins and widows. They are obviously the most at risk and will be limited to their mobility and access during this time. We want to make certain that they are cared for and taken care of. These times will call for all of you to be on-call and to regularly make calls through our listed shut-ins and widows. Even if they are receiving multiple calls a day, it’s ok, as the needs are going to be ever changing. If you need an updated list, please advise our office as they will still be working. Should we have a widow or shut-in with a need you may not be able to meet, please inform the office, and a staff member will do our best to address it as quickly as possible.

3. Sunday School Teachers/Leaders
One specific thing I am asking of each of you. Please stay in contact with your class. We truthfully have no way of knowing how many weeks we may have to go without meeting. One of the ways to keep your group intact and connected is to communicate. Soon, each of you will receive an email with your current class roster and contact information. Should we not get to meet this weekend or any following weekends, we ask you to make a commitment to calling your class members during the Sunday School hours (9:00am - 10:15am) on each Sunday that we unable to meet. This one simple task will be a game changer for you, your class, and our church. This will be a great time to check on them, take prayer requests, and encourage one another. It also keeps us connected!

4. Ministry Leaders
Be wise! Please take the time to look at your schedule and evaluate any and all upcoming events. Please use judgment and feel free to contact our leadership team for any questions or concerns. Use this time to bathe your ministry in prayer, and our hope is that our ministries will be just as strong when everything goes back to normal. Also, please notify our office (865.688.7674) and Bobbie Wyatt (ClearSprings.Bobbie@gmail.com) so that we can push information and changes out to our church family.

5. Choir and Orchestra
As services change so will your duties. Pastor Rob will be in communication with you as far as our needs go. Our standard protocol will be that if we are meeting in a formal church service, everything will go as planned. If services are moved to a live?stream experience only, Pastor Rob will inform you of our needs. Thanks for all you do and your commitment during this time!

Church family, we will navigate through this. Please be patient with us as we are navigating areas that we have never been before. You have our word that our leadership team is praying and trying to be as obedient to God as we possibly can, while keeping you safe. Our leadership and staff are here to both serve and help you in any way that we can. In addition, there are two ways that you can be a help to us and our church. One, is to obviously be in continual prayer. The second is a little less obvious and a little harder to express. As you are well aware, our schedule will face various changes, but our financial responsibilities will not. Our bills and payments will continue to come in and will be expected to be paid. We know that this is no obstacle to the Lord, but it will require all of us doing our due diligence to be faithful in our patterns of giving. We are exploring other ways for you to give if we are not meeting in person. Our staff and leaders would be ready and available to pick up or do anything that would help in any way possible. It’s so important that we all continue to uphold our financial obligation to the Lord, so that the work of the ministry continues to go on.

Let me leave you with this. In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat admitted that he had encountered a circumstance like he had never been through before. His call to the people he was leading was this: they "gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord.” Then he makes a clear declaration: "neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” Though the days and times are uncertain, this one thing we are certain of, God is in control and our eyes are fixed on Him!

We love you and your family,

Pastor Justin