Thursday, July 30, 2020

Limited Gatherings Still Permitted in Our Region.

There has been a lot of confusion after the Governor’s most recent executive order on social gatherings.  Venues in our region are still permitted to operate at 25% capacity, which for the Genesis Center is 120 people.   The news is reporting further restrictions downstate that do not apply to us.   In consultation with our Health Team, we will continue to meet on Sundays with our safety guidelines in place.  We have plenty of room to remain socially distanced.   Should the Governor reduce the venue capacity we will abide by that and if the number permitted falls below 50 we will return to online gatherings only.

We are committed to sharing the gospel in person and online, gathering our people where appropriate for growth and fellowship, honoring our governmental leaders and doing what is safe for our community.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

We are happy to announce that we will be launching Live Gatherings  at 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM starting Sunday, June 21.  Our Online Gathering will continue but will be moved to 11:00 AM starting June 21.  We ask for your prayers as we move through this transition.  Here are the important details:

Attendance:  Initially, we will only have room for 100 people at each of the Live Gatherings.   Please register each family member in advance so that we can manage attendance and notify those present if there is ever a health issue.  Please register at www.genesispetoskey.eventbrite.com.  Eventbrite is a free ticketing service.  You do not actually need to print and bring a ticket, only register.  If you are unable to register online, you can text Genesis at 231-412-2866, call 231.487.0081 or email us at info@genesiwired.com.

Preaching and Music:  The message will be presented live and there will be live music with limited group signing while wearing masks.

Genesis Kids:  Our Children’s Ministry will not be starting until later in the year.  Activity sheets will be provided so that kids can sit with their parents.

Health and Safety:  Please DO NOT attend if you feel sick, have a temperature, or believe you have been exposed to the coronavirus.  Doors will be propped open and hand sanitizer will be available.

Face Coverings: For now, we are requiring that you wear masks as you enter and exit the building (unless medically unable to do so), and we recommend that you wear them throughout The Gathering but it is not required except during singing or greeting.

Social Distancing: Every other row has been removed from the auditorium and you will be asked to keep 4 empty spaces between you and any other unrelated attenders.  We will not be serving coffee or lingering in the lobby.  It will definitely “feel” different but God will be as close as he always has been!

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

This week the Governor started relaxing a few stay-at-home restrictions for our region of the state.   This has many of us asking, “What is next for Genesis and when can we gather again at the Genesis Center?”  The short answer is – not yet.  Here’s why:

Question:  Are churches allowed to start meeting in large groups?
Answer:      No. Churches are not exempt from the Governor’s orders. We are asked and expected to abide by the same directives (currently groups of 10 or less).

Question:  Why then are some churches meeting?
Answer:      In order to avoid a legal church and state battle, the state has chosen not to “penalize” churches for breaking the order.  Some interpret this freedom from penalty as permission  to meet in larger groups.

Question:  So why isn’t Genesis starting regular gatherings?
Answer:      The Genesis Leadership believes we should follow the government’s directives even if we could disregard them without legal consequence.  We believe this path honors both God and our government (1 Peter 2:13-17).  Large gatherings are still considered risky. We want to take the path of love which puts the well being of our neighbors and community businesses above our own interests. 

Question:  Isn’t the church being persecuted by the state.  Don’t we have the right to assemble?
Answer:      We do not believe this is church persecution.  Sporting events and movie theaters are likewise being restricted.  The church is not being singled out. While religious freedom is very important, at this time we believe it honors Christ to temporarily lay down our personal rights in order to serve our community (1 Corinthians 10:23,24).

Question:  So when will we gather again in person?
Answer:      Small groups of 10 or less will begin gathering with specific precautions.  As the government expands group sizes we will as well.  Keeping the recommended social distancing, we can seat about 100 people at the Genesis Center.  When larger groups are allowed, we will have multiple gatherings as well as our current online gathering.

Question:  What precautions will be taken when we do gather in person?
Answer:      Here are a few things you can expect when we gather again: 

  • Rearranged seating in the gathering room to maintain recommended distancing. Maximum group size of approximately 100.
  • Children’s activity material provided so they can sit with their parents in The Gathering. The restart of Genesis Kids will be delayed.
  • Managed traffic flow into the building and bathrooms to avoid clustering.
  • Numerous hand sanitizing stations.
  • Masks provided for those who do not have them.
  • Outdoor gatherings and other venues where groups can meet under appropriate guidelines.

More information will be shared through video later this week. As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns (or encouragement).

Pastor Norm
Pastor Scott
The Genesis Leadership Team

——

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 – Regathering Strategy

We are grateful to the Lord for his empowerment and provision during this difficult season!  Our staff and volunteers are working hard to keep us connected and serving one another and the community and as we await the relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings, we want to update you on the preparations that are being made for regathering and invite your feedback.

While we are eager to gather again in person, we will continue to work within the government’s restrictions and our own Health Team’s recommendations. We expect group interaction to be phased in this summer with multiple smaller gatherings and as this occurs, we will strive to balance the benefits of corporate togetherness with the risks that may entail. Therefore, we may not regather as soon as permitted but we will monitor the situation closely. When we do regather, we will use the video of our “online gathering” as the centerpiece of smaller, in person experiences while providing additional time for sharing and appropriate fellowship.

Here are a few things you can expect when we meet again in smaller groups:

  • Rearranged seating in the gathering room to maintain recommended distancing.
  • Children’s activity material provided so they can sit with their parents in The Gathering. The restart of Genesis Kids will be delayed.
  • Managed traffic flow into the building and bathrooms to avoid clustering.
  • Numerous hand sanitizing stations.
  • Masks provided for those who do not have them.
  • Outdoor gatherings and other venues where groups can meet under appropriate guidelines.t

Thank You for your continued prayers and support!

Pastor Norm Byers
Pastor Scott Gardziella
The Genesis Staff and Leadership

———

Thursday, April 16, 2020 – Opportunities

Genesis is partnering with local organizations who are serving the people of Petoskey during the coronavirus pandemic.  Here is how you can help:

Volunteer
We are partnering with the Salvation Army to deliver daily meals to people throughout the community.  Volunteers can help assemble the meals or deliver them (delivery is most needed at this time).  If you would like to know more, please contact Lance Bailey who is coordinating this for Genesis (bailey.lp.t@petoskeyschools.org  231.881.6738).

Donate
We’re raising $2,000 so Genesis can sponsor the following projects:

  • Provide more than 300 meals through The Salvation Army and Bill & Carol’s Deli. A $30 donation provides 10 meals.  Goal: $1,000.
  • Provide a full meal to the hospital emergency room staff through the McLaren foundation. Goal: $500.
  • Provide encouraging gifts to the Petoskey High School Teachers through the student led Cheetos club. This will bless both the students and the staff. Goal: $500.

Donations should be designated to the Genesis Coronavirus Compassion Fund and can be made online through our website and app, or you can mail a check to the church.   If you are personally in need of help please email help@genesiswired.com or text Genesis at 231.412.2866.

 ————-

Wednesday, April 1, 2020  – Giving Update

As the mandated quarantine stretches on, we have been asked how people can financially support the ministries of Genesis during this time.  Giving can be done online through our website (Donate Online) or app, or you can mail a check directly to the church. Here are some opportunities to consider:

Support the Vision of Genesis:  Your consistent giving to the general fund is very important.  While we are conscious of reducing expenses, we are simultaneously expanding our ministry by reaching more people online.  We have had hundreds of people join us live on Sunday mornings and thousands of views later in the week.  We have been ministering to people through additional online resources like Facebook videos, Genesis Kids and RightNow Media.  We are also investigating community organizations to partner with and support.  And, rather than cut support to missions and Kingdom Partners, we hope to be the church that makes up some of their expected shortfall. We believe this is a time for the kingdom to advance not retreat!

Donate to the Compassion Fund:  These funds are being used to directly help the people of Genesis and the community who are dealing with the economic impact of the COVID crisis.  We expect this need to grow significantly.  If you are in need you can call the church, text Genesis at 231.412.2866 or email help@genesiswired.com.

Amazon Smile:  When you make purchases on Amazon, you can place items in your cart then checkout at smile.amazon.com. Choose Genesis Church as your non-profit and we will receive a small percentage of each purchase.

Thank you for your continued faith and generosity!

Pastor Norm Byers
Pastor Scott Gardziella
The Genesis Staff and Leadership

——-

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.    – Isaiah 41:10

While we can’t gather at the Genesis Center for a while, we want to remind you that GOD IS WITH YOU and we are working to stay as connected with one another as possible. Here is a summary of important information:  

  • The Genesis Center will be closed throughout the time period outlined by the Governor. We can still respond to phone calls, text messages, and emails, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a question or a need.
  • We have been advised that a small team can still meet to present our online Sunday Gathering. You can join us online this Sunday at 10 am via Facebook or our YouTube channel.
  • A Compassion Fund has been established where you can help people in the Genesis family and the community. You can donate on our website, app, or through the mail. Your regular giving to Genesis is also very important during this time.
  • You are encouraged to register for your free RightNow Media account so you can benefit from thousands of enriching Bible studies and videos. Contact us if you have not received an email invitation.
  • Small groups are meeting by video conference. If you aren’t part of a group please contact us and we will be happy to direct you to a group you can connect with.
  • Children’s resources are being posted regularly on our Genesis Kids Facebook page. Check it out!
  • We are planning for a special online Good Friday service where we will celebrate a Meal of Remembrance together. You’ll hear more about this soon but be prepared to enjoy communion at home with some bread and juice (or your beverage of choice)!
  • If you have a special need, you can contact our Helpline by texting or calling 231.412.2866 or emailing help@genesiswired.com.

May God calm our hearts and strengthen us for His service!

Pastor Norm Byers
Pastor Scott Gardziella
The Genesis Elders and Staff

————-

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Despite the growing uncertainty in our world, God is continuing to do great things through Genesis as we mobilize and care for our community. You have been hearing a lot about what is closing. We want to focus on new ministry opportunities that are opening to us. As Christians, we are “created in Christ to do good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). We believe God has something for each of us to do in this time: Go grocery shopping for someone who is unable or afraid to go out. Offer childcare to someone in need. Bring a meal to someone who used to rely on restaurants. Call or video chat with someone who is isolated. Write notes and cards of encouragement. Lend a book to someone who is tired of staring at screens. The possibilities are limitless. God will give you these opportunities if you ask Him.

To support your individual service, our Ministry Response Team is developing a Helpline that will connect people in need with volunteers who are willing to help. We are collecting contact information of Genesis people who are willing to do childcare, shopping, visiting, etc. You can offer your help by emailing (info@genesiswired.com) or calling the church office (231.487.0081) or you can Text Genesis at 231.412.2866. We have also established a Compassion Fund that will be used to help those in need as the economic impact of this crisis increases.  

Additionally, our staff is working hard to provide new and unique ministry opportunities.  We have established video conferencing capabilities so our small groups can stay connected. We are producing short devotional and informational videos to put online. We will be launching RightNow Media this week so you can watch enriching Christian videos at home. And we are starting to “work the phones” to stay in contact with everyone, especially the most vulnerable. Of course, we will gather with you online each Sunday at 10 am on Facebook Live (you can also participate later in the day from our website or YouTube).  

We believe God is opening doors for the Gospel! Pray that we will have the faith and courage to walk through them.

Pastor Norm Byers
Pastor Scott Gardziella
The Genesis Elders and Staff

 ———–

Friday, March 13, 2020

UPDATE: Genesis Gatherings will be ONLINE ONLY March 15, 22, & 29.  All other regular events at the Genesis Center are suspended through April 4. 

At Genesis we are committed to minimizing the risk of the coronavirus in our community. Upon the recommendations of the state health department and our own Genesis Health Team, we are moving the Sunday morning Gathering to an online only event. You can participate live on Facebook at 10 am or watch it later on Facebook or our website. We are also suspending, through April 4, all regular events that meet at the Genesis Center (certain crisis care ministries may still take place). We realize these feel like drastic measures, but we believe this is the wisest and most loving thing to do during these times of uncertainty.

In addition to minimizing risk we want to maximize our ministry to the community. Toward that end we encourage you to individually minister in Jesus’ name whenever possible. Practical ideas on this will be shared during Sunday’s message. If you are interested in being part of our Ministry Response Team you can contact the church office or attend the planning meeting this Sunday, March 15 at 4 pm in the Flex room.

Please seek the Lord during this time of upheaval. Pray that hearts would be sensitive to the gospel and the church would shine for Jesus in the darkness.

Pastor Norm Byers
Pastor Scott Gardziella
The Genesis Elders and Staff

———

 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

At Genesis we want to care for our people and community in all respects, including everyone’s physical well-being. While there are no immediate concerns of coronavirus at Genesis or in our area, we are preparing an action plan to minimize risk at Genesis and maximize our ministry to the community when people are affected. We have formed a Health Team to guide our policy and procedures, and next week we will be creating a Ministry Response Team to help prepare unique ways of ministering to those who might be impacted physically, emotionally and economically.

For now, Genesis activities will continue as normal with the following precautions: Frequently touched surfaces (doors, counters, pens, toys, etc.) are being regularly sanitized and we encourage you to use the hand sanitizers that are located throughout the building. Instead of shaking hands we request that you “elbow bump” or simply nod and smile as you greet one another. If you feel sick or have traveled to a high risk area, we ask that you to stay home and watch The Gathering online.   

As Christians, we are called to respond to crisis and human suffering with love not fear (2 Timothy 1:7).  While most people who contact the virus will be just fine, we want to care for the most vulnerable by helping slow down the transmission of the virus so our community health facilities do not get overwhelmed. While that may inconvenience our regular ministries, we believe it is the loving thing to do for our community.  

Because this is a very fluid situation, please check for updates and schedule changes by following the link “Genesis COVID-19 Update” at the top of our website. Feel free to contact me if you would like to be part of the Ministry Response Team or have any questions or concerns. 

Scott Gardziella, Executive Pastor

scott@genesiswired.com
231-487-0081