COVID-19 Guidance - Bethel Church and Ministries

July 24 – Update

July 19 – Update

June 26 – Update

For more information, please visit the CDC and Harvard articles.

June 6 – Update

Here is a message from Pastor Steve about Bethel’s developing response to all that is happening in our country right now. We look forward to gathering together this weekend as we consider how God’s people should think and respond in these difficult days. For some additional points of consideration and application, please consider this blog from Pastor Stephen Ganschow. May we, as Christians, in the spirit of Micah 6:8, demonstrate respect for all life, be vigilant in prayer, and overcome evil with good. 

Update on Face Coverings for In-Person Services

For those attending Bethel’s in-person services: We have decided to permit the lowering of face coverings during the sermon only. Face coverings will still be required when entering and exiting the building, and also during all singing. This determination has come after much careful consideration, as the health and safety of our congregation are among our highest values.

If you wish to attend a weekend service, please make your reservation at bethelweb.org/attend. Limiting seating is available for this Sunday. We look forward to worshiping with you!

May 15 – Phase 1 Reopening Plan

We are happy to announce our plans to gradually reopen Bethel Church for in-person services. In doing so, our highest priority is to keep everyone in attendance as safe as possible by following State of Indiana guidelines for reopening worship services. These guidelines require us to employ strict physical distancing protocols, utilize thorough sanitization measures, and ask those ages 65+ and those with high-risk health conditions not to attend at this time for their safety.

In all our efforts, we want to provide the best quality in-person worship experience possible, without compromising the health and safety of our congregation. We also aim to apply ample grace and love to all, as we know there are a wide range of viewpoints regarding what is safe or needed at this time.

The Plan

  • Livestreamed services will continue with the same degree of excellence for the foreseeable future.
  • By mid-June, we will have weekly services at the following times and locations:
    • 9:00am Sunday service at Crown Point (CP) – beginning May 24
    • 10:45am Sunday services at Cedar Lake (CL) and Hobart/Portage (HP) – beginning June 7
    • 6:30 pm Wednesday night services at CP, CL, and HP – beginning June 10
  • We are doing Wednesday night services instead of two Sunday morning services due to required sanitation measures. We typically need 72 hours between services to prepare the space to be used again. 
  • The Wednesday service will be the same as the previous Sunday service.
  • The plans for reopening the Gary Campus and Chinese Congregation are still in development.

The Experience

Please understand that the in-person worship experience will be far from normal. We hope and pray that over time we will gradually return to normal. But for an initial “Phase 1,” here are a few details regarding what to expect:

  • Capacity will be greatly reduced to allow for 6 feet of physical distancing. That means approximately 200 people at CP and 100 people at the other locations per service.
  • Reservations will be required for admittance to every service. We know this is not ideal, but we believe this is the best way to allow everyone to attend an in-person service at this time.
  • Face coverings are required to be worn for the duration of the service (approximately 75 minutes).
  • There will be no mingling inside the building. You will be ushered directly to your seat, and then dismissed by rows at the end of the service.
  • The worship experiences at the CL and HP locations will be more simple (acoustic-driven) with live preaching for the first few weeks.
  • Children are permitted at most services if they can follow all required protocols (wear a face covering for the duration of the service, practice physical distancing). The one exception to this is the 9:00am CP service—this will only be for children ages 7 and older. The 9:00am service is essentially a recording studio for our livestream, and we need to minimize the chance of disruptions.

Again, we wish things could be different! But we are starting with an abundance of caution, and we’ll evaluate as we go.

How Do I Make a Reservation?

Due to limited seating capacity, reservations are required so that we do not turn anyone away. Reservations for all services May 24 – June 17 will become available at 10:00 am on Tuesday, May 19 at www.bethelweb.org/attend.

In order to permit everyone an opportunity to attend, we ask each household to make no more than ONE reservation for each three-week interval. If, however, spouses wish to attend two different services (perhaps so one spouse can remain home with young children), two reservations per household are allowed.

At-risk populations: In following the state guidelines, we ask all at-risk populations (seniors age 65+ and those with high-risk health conditions) to stay home and worship through the livestream. Special efforts are under consideration for how Bethel might host safe in-person gatherings for at-risk populations. Please be in prayer for Bethel’s leadership as we work out these details.

What We Need from You

This is just Phase 1 of our reopening. We will constantly evaluate and evolve our approach. We know some of you want us to do more and some of you want us to do less. So please have a spirit of grace, love, and unity toward one another during this time, recognizing that we all have different views on this. We also ask you to be flexible and open to change. Many of the decisions we make are to protect the health and safety of the most vulnerable among us, and this is a dynamically evolving situation which will surely evolve as time goes on.

We also we ask that you please adhere to the safety guidelines and procedures that we have in place. These include:

  • Wearing a face covering for the duration you are in the building.
  • Not attending if you show any symptoms of COVID-19, or are under a quarantine condition (due to a potential COVID-19 exposure)
  • Maintaining physical distancing throughout your time on Bethel premises.

Finally, please anticipate God to work during this new and challenging season in our ministry. Let’s do what we can to view this pandemic with joy—not joy at facing this trial, but joy in trusting God in the midst of it—so that it produces perseverance in us that we may be mature and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4).

May 10

May 3

May 1

Today Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced the lifting of some restrictions for church services beginning May 8. At the same time, the Governor also encouraged churches to continue worshiping through virtual means. Bethel’s leadership is evaluating these developments very carefully, and we are hard at work devising a strategy for our church moving forward. This Sunday, at the beginning of our 9:00 and 10:45 services, Pastor Steve will provide a brief update for what some of this means as we continue this COVID-19 journey together. Please pray for wisdom for our leadership and unity within our church as we continue to navigate these complex matters. We look forward to seeing you online Sunday morning.

April 17

Are you interested in learning more or getting involved in our local outreach opportunities? Learn more here.

March 31

We are gathering food and supplies to replenish Harvest Market (HM) and to resource our local outreach and crisis response initiatives. Click here to learn more.

March 19

Update regarding Bethel ministries.


March 13

Update regarding church services and ministries.

In response to the current COVID-19/Coronavirus concern, we want to update you on several immediate details about weekend services and the various ministries of Bethel Church. The state of Indiana has placed a moratorium on gatherings of 250 or more. This creates an immediate challenge for us, as all of our worship services regularly exceed this number.

In light of this, we have suspended all public services at our church locations. Instead, we will provide online services at 9:00 and 10:45am. These will be broadcasted from our Crown Point location. Beginning this Sunday, you can access the livestream from our website.

Our online service will include all of the things you are accustomed to—dynamic worship, praying together, and a message from God’s Word. This message will directly address the COVID-19 crisis and is entitled Disinfecting Fear. We hope that you will join us and encourage you to share this opportunity with others! 

As online services don’t allow us to pass the offering plate, we do have a few ways for you to give. First, you can go to our online giving portal. You can also mail a check to our Crown Point location (Bethel Church, 10202 Broadway, Crown Point, IN 46307). Thank you for your generous support of Bethel Church. We ask that you continue to partner with us as we enter this difficult season.

In addition, we are prayerfully and diligently evaluating our various ministries on a case-by-case basis. Check back for updates.

The following ministries are suspended/postponed: 

  • All public Sunday services are suspended—these will be held online. 
  • All Bethel Kids ministries on Sunday mornings have been suspended.
  • Celebrate Recovery will be suspended for one week while we assess opportunities to gather. 
  • The Men’s Breakfast on Saturday, March 14 has been postponed. 

Ministries still under consideration: 

  • We plan to continue on with Women of the Word. More information to come on this. 
  • We are actively exploring opportunities for campus-specific points of connection (CL, HP, Gary, Chinese congregation). Keep an eye on campus Facebook pages for updates. 
  • We are still evaluating Awana and Verge Student Ministries. Stay tuned for updates in the next few days. 

With schools canceling, trips being postponed, and grocery stores overrun, we know that tension is high. Please remember in these trying times we need to respond with both faith and wisdom. We encourage you to follow all of the recommended precautionary measures for hygiene and personal contact. We should also be vigilant in prayer that this situation finds a swift conclusion. 

More details will be coming in the days ahead. Your pastors and leaders are praying for you, and please do the same for Bethel’s leadership as we all navigate this crisis together. We hope to see you online Sunday morning at 9:00 or 10:45am! 


March 12

Our All-Church Worship Night is postponed. We will post an update tomorrow regarding church services and ministries following the governor’s announcement yesterday. Further communication is forthcoming.


COVID-19 Guidance

The Coronavirus is certainly raising health concerns across the globe. As with any newly emerging infectious disease, knowledge evolves with time and recommendations are changing rapidly. We are closely monitoring information from public health officials and will follow their prevention guidelines to help keep our facilities clean and church community safe. In the meantime, we advise the Bethel Church congregation to consider the following:

Take Precautions

Again, we caution you to practice the standard, flu-season safety precautions we are already familiar with—including practicing cough etiquette and hygiene, washing your hands thoroughly and regularly, particularly after touching your face, and limiting physical contact with others. 

Reduce Risk

Currently, we have decided to continue regular programming at Bethel Church. At the same time, we ask you to avoid attending any church activity if any of these conditions are met: 

  1. You have had any flu-like symptoms in the past 7 days such as fever, cough, vomiting, or shortness of breath
  2. You have been in close contact with someone with flu-like symptoms in the past 7 days 
  3. You have traveled from an area in the past 7 days with confirmed cases and/or suspect you may have been exposed 
  4. You have traveled to or from China, Italy, Iran, or South Korea or any other country flagged as level 2 or level 3 alerts in the past 14 days

Stay Informed

All future communication will be distributed through this page: bethelweb.org/updates. For general information, the best source of information is the CDC’s website. If you have any questions, please email bethel@bethelweb.org.

Pray

  • Pray for the many medical professionals, public safety professionals, educators, missionaries, and others who are affected
  • Pray for the Lord’s protection from illness among our people
  • Pray for gospel opportunities to come from this outbreak
  • Pray for wisdom regarding ministry impact in the event of local COVID-19 cases

Thank you for helping us keep Bethel Church a safe place to make disciples whose lives are all about him.