First Free Family,
Thank you to those of you who filled out our restart survey this past week. As you can imagine, all the options of answers were represented in the results. In moving forward, it is our prayer that First Free will be marked by grace and unity, even though we have differing opinions. We pray that we would seek to love and understand and care for one another well. Gathering together is one of our primary pathways for growing as a disciple so we long to worship together again with the entire church family! Resuming in-person services doesn’t get us all the way there—we know it will be wise for some to continue engaging online even after we begin meeting in person—but we continue to prepare and plan for that next step.
Leading in this time is a difficult task, so we are thankful for a team that takes their responsibility seriously and is willing to “plan in pencil.” We’ve seen a number of adjustments to the plan to reopen Kansas over the past few weeks. After the decisions made earlier this week at the state and county levels, all individuals and organizations in Sedgwick County now bear the responsibility to choose how to respond to the guidance issued by the Ad Astra Plan provided by Kansas. Our original plan was to wait until Kansas entered Phase Out to begin meeting in person, and evaluate that plan should there be delays in moving through the phases. We aren’t sure what ongoing guidance will look like from the state or county, but we are planning to resume in-person services on June 28. This is consistent with our original decision since we would have entered Phase Out the last week of June if things continue to move in a positive direction. We also believe waiting until the end of the month is wise because it allows us to see how our community responds to lifted restrictions before taking on the increased risks associated with a large gathering. We will continue to monitor case numbers and health metrics in Sedgwick County, and adjust our plan if needed. As always, we invite any questions you may have, but even more we ask you to pray for our team, our church, and our community in the coming weeks.
This Sunday we’ll be wrapping up our series on 1 Peter. The sermon will be on 1 Peter 5:6-14. We encourage you to read this passage ahead of time and consider Peter’s closing call to faithfulness in times of trial. Next week we’ll begin a three-week series on 2 Peter lead by Pastor Dominick and Pastor Mike. Josh will begin his annual study leave on Monday and will be giving dedicated time over the next three weeks to prepare for upcoming sermon series and to study theological issues related to our life together as a church.
Our Sunday video will be available online by 9am—we hope you’ll join us!
May Giving Goal: $263,194
Still Needed to Meet Goal: $74,029
General Fund Giving Last Week: $31,306
Missions Partner Highlight
Each week, we’ll be highlighting one of our missions partners in our weekly emails so you can learn more about their ministries and be praying for the gospel to go wide through their work. If you would like to send one of our missions partners a note, please email Pastor Lucas and he’ll connect you.
S grew up in Brazil where his parents served as missionaries. Since 2014, S has served on a Brazilian team overseas whose goal is to plant healthy, reproducing churches in their city. His work includes launching and maintaining a language business, preaching, and leading Bible studies for adults and children. S shares the following requests:
- Praise God! A said, “yes!” when S asked her to marry him three weeks ago. Ask the Lord to provide abundantly more than they can ask or imagine as they begin the daunting process of applying for a spousal visa in one country, planning a wedding in another, and maintaining business and discipleship responsibilities in a third country.
- Ask the Lord to establish the young church plant in their city. As the apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian church, ask the Lord to strengthen believers with power through his Spirit in their inner being so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith—that they may be rooted and grounded in love, and have strength to comprehend the immeasurable love of Christ.
- S’s team is in a time of transition. The current leader and his family made the difficult decision to return to Brazil after years of enduring ongoing sickness in their two children. Pray for a good transition for their family back to Brazil and for S as he assumes added leadership, preaching, and discipleship responsibilities.
Peace to all of you,
Pastors Josh and Ron