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COVID-19   Updates  for  M1BC

M1BC has resumed its normal schedule and continues to live stream all services online at www.m1bc.tv and FaceBook. In addition, all groups including Sunday School Classes are strongly encouraged to provide an online option like Zoom or FaceBook. Check with your group leader to learn more about online groups.

The Traditions Service at 9:30am and the Encounter Service at 11:00am provide an option for those seeking strict social distancing. Attendees in the balcony are required to wear a face covering until seated and maintain social distancing by household.

If you are in a high-risk category in regards to Covid, we urge you to consider our online options. Magnolia's First is providing for social distancing in all areas, but cannot enforce any level of distancing among the attendees.

The charts below are the primary way that Magnolia's First will communicate known Covid Cases in our community and on campus. We will be fully transparent here so that you can make your own decision about attending in-person or online.

Magnolia's First believes that everyone should be respected and everyone should be able to participate regardless of any social distancing needs, beliefs or assumptions. We intend to focus our conversation less on covid and more on Christ!  #lesscovidmorechrist

M1 Members and Regular Attenders
Montgomery County
Known Covid Positive Cases on Campus
77354, 77355, and 77362
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August 25, 2020

On September 13, Magnolia's First will resume a full on-campus schedule for preschool, kids, students, and adults. Here are a few things you need to know to get connected:

Online Service times will change beginning September 13:
To improve the online experience, we are working hard to resume actual live streaming on the 13th at the same quality we are offering now. We want those watching online to be "in the room" as much as possible. We completed upgrades to our network and internet and are currently working on the issues related to sound and video quality. To go live, the service times will to change beginning September 13:

9:30am Traditions
11:00am Encounter
11:00am Resonate

Not all M1 Groups will return to campus on 9/13:
While some Sunday School Classes and groups resumed on-campus meetings last month, not all groups will return to campus the 13th. Please contact your group leader to know if your Sunday School Class or other small group has resumed its on-campus activities. This has, of course, placed a difficult decision in the hands of your group leader. Please help them by offering your assistance. We are asking all groups to maintain an online option for its members. We have discovered that a zoom or Facebook "host" can make all the difference when trying to connect and engage online participants with the on-campus participants. There are many other ways you can help your volunteer leadership by offering solutions that provide community and connectivity for all members.

The Trifecta
During the pandemic, we have learned that not all our processes are effective when meeting off-campus. Soon, we will be asking you to invest in three members of the M1 family to create a web of care and accountability. We want everyone to "Get Connected!"
August 7

On-Campus Adult Groups have Resumed
Check with your leader to see if your group has resumed on-campus options. Every group is encouraged to maintain an online option for members who are not ready to be on-campus. We recognize this is not an easy decision for group leaders and recommend erring on the side of caution when choosing what is best for the group demographic.

On-Campus Worship Services Resume September 13th
M1BC will follow the standard health protocols as recommended by state and community guidelines. All services will return to their normal times both on-campus and online. Online option will return to live streaming of each service upon the completion of some hardware updates and internet upgrades (direct fiber) currently in progress.

On-Campus Preschool, Kids, and Students Resume September 13th
M1BC will follow the standard health protocols as recommended by state and community guidelines.
August 7, 2020 (Continued)

After prayerful evaluation of the last few weeks while meeting online, we have determined that our current reality will remain with us for sometime. As a result, the Church must embrace its current reality without lamenting the past or predicting the future. Magnolia’s First Baptist Church has a unique vision to engage every generation to become Christ Followers. We have taken a strong stance to never abandon one generation for another, but rather to engage with all generations to spur each other on towards spiritual maturity. This gives us strength!

As with our commitment to engage every generation without abandoning one for another, we will take that same approach for the duration of the pandemic. As a result, Magnolia’s First will not be defined by its approach to Covid, but rather its approach to people.  We love people!

We love people who are not ready to be around others and choose social distancing for health concerns. 
They will not be judged or considered as living in fear. They are respected and loved.  

We love people who are ready for less social distancing and have resumed more regular activities. 
They will not be judged or considered reckless. They are respected and loved.

For the last 170 years, Magnolia’s First Baptist has navigated similar waters and has always stood firm in focusing on people, not surroundings.  In unprecedented times such as this, we will stay the course. The steps we will take as a Church are not intended to serve as a model or standard for other churches, but rather a step of faith by the staff and leadership to follow God’s unique direction that we believe that He has for Magnolia’s First Baptist Church:

Magnolia’s First has begun its process of providing on-campus options and will continue to improve and expand its online ministry with a commitment to make provisions for each level of connectivity and technology in an effort to “leave no one behind”.

Magnolia’s First Groups are currently meeting on campus and each group will provide an online option for their participants. In the event of positive cases, an individual group might need to pause on-campus meetings, but groups as a whole will not be disrupted.

Magnolia’s First will resume on-campus services beginning September 13 following the standard health protocols as recommended by state and community guidelines.

Magnolia’s First will resume on-campus childcare and kids ministry beginning September 13 following the standard health protocols as recommended by state and community guidelines.

Magnolia’s First will resume live streaming  (vs. prerecorded) Sunday Morning Services upon the completion of new internet infrastructure currently in progress.

Magnolia’s First would pause large group gatherings if the number of positive Covid cases within the Church or community were inconsistent or abnormally higher than surrounding communities.

Magnolia’s First would pause large group gatherings if asked not to meet by local authorities, but groups will always be welcomed on campus and would be more intentional for prayer and corporate worship.

Magnolia’s First will be transparent in all Covid related instances and communicate to the best of its ability. Updated Covid related information will be made available to our congregation through our website, www.m1bc.org.

Magnolia’s First will develop a more intentional  approach to connecting its members with one another based on local community vs. central gatherings.  

As we continue to seek God in what is best for Magnolia’s First, please pray with and for us. Although we would love to return to what we consider as “normal”, we must all embrace that things will look different post-Covid, even the Church. One thing you can be sure of is that the vision of Magnolia’s First has not wavered. Magnolia’s First remains committed to every generation and you are a vital part of its future. Remember this - throughout history the “Church” has always grown through trials.  While it is uncomfortable to be uncertain, God is certain and He wants to use us as individuals and as a local Church more than ever to share and demonstrate His love. What an opportunity! 
July 30, 2020

While "on-campus" worship services remain paused, we have resumed many of our "on-campus" groups including some Sunday School Classes and Bible Studies. While all groups are welcomed back on-campus, each group will make that decision on their own. Some will continue to meet in homes or off-site while others are "on-line" only. Our Deacon leadership have counseled the staff to remain online only for Sunday Services until our next meeting on August 6. Our findings for local Covid cases and statistics can be found below. We understand that all stats are contested, as a result we have landed on a fixed data source which reveals trends while actual numbers could certainly differ. Also, we have begun providing M1BC Covid Case Statistics as they are made known to the staff to help you in your own decision making for when you would return to campus. Thank you for your understanding during these unprecedented times. 
Graphs are Best Viewed with Device in Landscape Mode:
July 8th, 2020

We have suspended “in-person” services and on-campus meetings for the next few Sundays and are meeting online only at www.m1bc.tv. Our Deacon leadership have counseled the staff to remain online only until the upward trend in local covid cases changes for the better. One of our main sources for watching the trends can be found at https://mcphd-tx.org/coronavirus-covid-19/confirmed-cases/. Thanks for your understanding. Skip over to 00:43 in the video (Midweek with Pastor Ed) to hear an update and challenge from Pastor Ed about meeting together again.
June 26th, 2020

After prayerful consideration, we have decided to suspend all “in-person” services and on-campus meetings for the next few Sundays. The number of Covid-19 cases is rising in our local area and especially in Harris County, where many of our members and attendees work. While just a few weeks ago, most of us only knew someone who knew someone else that has Covid-19, today, we now have fellow church members, family members and friends who have contracted the virus. For that, wisdom says we should put a pause on gathering together in person. While we always have the right to meet, we are choosing not to out of caution and respect for the community we serve. We will closely monitor our local conditions over the next few weeks. We ask for your prayers for godly wisdom as we move forward together as a family of faith.
May 20, 2020

While online services will continue, Magnolia's First, along with many other churches in our community, is opening this Sunday, May 24th with an altered service schedule. See service times below. We can't wait to worship together and want you to be fully informed and prepared before you arrive back to your Church home!

Traditions Service
8:00 and 9:30am (Worship Center)
Online at 9:00am (www.m1bc.tv)

Encounter Service
11:00am (Worship Center)
Online at 10:00am (www.m1bc.tv)
   
Resonate Service
9:30 and 11:00am (The Venue)
Online at 11:00am (www.m1bc.tv)

Watch this "walk-through" from Pastor Ed to help you know what to expect if you choose to attend worship "in-person" this Sunday at Magnolia's First Baptist Church.  

Pastor Ed would also encourage you to read two articles regarding the Church and Covid-19 as you prepare to return to Church:  Church, Don't let Corona Virus Divide You and 3 Ways to be Safe in a Pandemic Reopening without Losing Your Mind.

May 7, 2020

Magnolia's First, along with the other churches in our community, is closely monitoring the Open Texas phases and specifically the May 18th openings which would include gyms and offices.  While there are no restrictions on churches due to religious liberties, a church our size is unable to provide the social distancing protocols as outlined by the open Texas report.

Our decision to open will be based on two criteria: First, for Texas to stay on track to open May 18th and, second, a downward trend in our local zip codes and county.  We pray this would happen and would look forward to opening for Sunday Services as early as Sunday, May 24th.  

To understand the social distancing protocols outlined for churches, we have a provided a link on our below.   In short, those considered at risk are highly encouraged to stay home and continue to engage with us online and then, of course, there would be no child care.  Continue to check back here for latest updates.

Useful Links:

April 29, 2020

Dear “First Family”,
 
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whom we love, serve, and worship together as a spiritual family.  Though we have been physically separated for these weeks, you have never been far from my thoughts and you have always been on my heart.
 
As you know, Governor Abbott issued a new Executive Order on Monday with a plan to reopen the Texas economy and this plan had implications for the churches of Texas.  Though we have never been denied our right to assemble and worship during this pandemic, churches like ours have voluntarily complied with what our government officials requested and recommended out of caution and concern for our members and friends.  However, with the Governor’s order, some may have assumed that we could immediately go back to meeting as we did pre-pandemic. Our pastoral team and I believe that would be unwise and potentially dangerous for some of our members.
 
I am keenly aware that our Lord will hold me accountable for how I lead and protect the flock over which He has given me leadership.  I also know that whatever plan we put in place, some will not agree with some or all of it.  However, my only goal is to be faithful to God’s leadership to the best of my ability to discern it.  I also know that you will hear of other churches who have different plans but each pastor and leadership team must do what they feel is right for their congregation.
 
With that being said, know that we have consulted with numerous church leaders across our state as well as medical leaders.  We have networked with a number of other evangelical churches in the Magnolia area and we have come to a consensus that each of these churches will follow the reopening dates of this plan together.
 
After meeting with Magnolia area pastors, we believe that it is best for us to resume in-person meeting together on a modified schedule when Texas moves to Phase 2 of the Governor’s plan.  Under his plan, Phase 2 could not begin until May 18, which means the first Sunday of in-person gathering could be May 24.  Please note that the cases of COVID-19 would have to continue to trend downward to move from one phase to the next.
 
According to the Texas Attorney General’s guidelines, in Phase 2, “Places of worship can operate under moderate physical distancing protocols.”  Here are some of the AG’s guidelines that we would agree to follow in this phase.
  • Encourage all attendees who are 65 and above to stay home and watch the services online, or provide a “senior service” exclusively for attendees 65 and above to attend in person. (We believe that our “Traditions” services would fulfill that stipulation.)
  • Keep childcare programs closed.  Children who attend would sit in worship with their parents. 
  • Ensure all attendees sanitize their hands and put on a mask (strongly suggested but not required) before entering the building. 

 We will continue to stream all three English services online each week for those who choose to continue to worship from home.  Those 65 and over with underlying health conditions are encouraged to consider this option.  
 
Because our seating capacity will be reduced by at least 50% in each service to provide for a Social Distancing configuration, we will need to provide additional services to seat everyone safely.  Therefore, we will operate in a modified schedule until we are able to return to full capacity seating.
 
Temporary Modified Schedule
 
8:00-9:00 -   Early “Traditions” Service (Worship Center)
 
9:30-10:30 - Late “Traditions” Service (Worship Center)
                    Early “Resonate” Service (The Venue)
                           Early PIB Service (PIB Chapel)
 
11:00-12:00“Encounter” Service (Worship Center)
                           Late “Resonate” Service (The Venue)
                           Late PIB Service (PIB Chapel)
 
 Everyone would be seated with their family or those they have previously chosen to be in close contact with during the pandemic.  Groups of chairs would be spaced six feet from one another.  There would be seating areas for singles, couples, and family groups of three or more.
 
I would preach live in two of the English services each week on a rotating schedule and the other services would have the recorded sermon from our online service.  The chairs and hard surfaces in each worship area would be sanitized between each service.
 
We anticipate that we would operate under this schedule until the children in MISD are able to safely return to school and then we could return to our earlier pre-pandemic schedule.
 
I know that there will be those who think we should do this differently or sooner.  However, your health and protection is of the utmost concern to me and the other pastors.  We believe that to resume sooner would not be wise.  I’m reminded of this proverb:

     Proverbs 19:2 (NLT)
     Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.
 
Whatever your thoughts or opinions might be about this process, we would ask you to extend us grace, patience, and prayer as we seek to navigate our church through an experience none of us have ever faced before.  Though we are all anxious to meet together again, there is a truth that has been reaffirmed over and over again in this time of pandemic.  The buildings are not the church.  We don’t “go to church”.  We ARE the church and the Scripture says the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it!
 
This has been a lengthy communication but I know you have many questions.  Pastor Milt and I will do our best to respond to each one of them if you will email one of us with your questions.  Our email addresses are:  milteichler@magnoliasfirst.org and edseay@magnoliasfirst.org.
 
Love, grace, and blessings,
        Pastor Ed Seay
 
 


March 17, 2020

Dear M1BC family,

As you know, the situation has been changing daily in our country related to the spread of the Coronavirus.  In order to do our part and to be in compliance with CDC guidelines, we will be moving to livestream worship only beginning this Sunday, March 22.  While we would all prefer to gather together in one place to worship and fellowship, for this season of precaution and safety, we can still focus together on the goodness of our God and the truth of His word through the technology that is available to us. During this time, all personal group studies and meetings are postponed.
 
Our Worship and Technology leadership teams have been working extremely hard to make our livestream events the most engaging and compelling experiences for all of us.  Each Sunday, we will have one livestream service at 10:00 a.m. The service will also be available for viewing any time after its completion.  We will also have other weekly livestream opportunities for your participation and growth:
 
  • M1BC Worship – Sundays at 10:00 a.m.
  • M1Kids Worship - Sundays at 11:00 a.m.
  • M1 Preschool Service in the Morning - Mondays at 10:00 a.m.
  • Monday Message from the Pastor - Mondays at 6:00 p.m.
  • Live at Lunch – Tuesdays at 12:10 p.m. – Right Now Media Bible Study and discussion led by Pastors Jesse and Seth
  • Live at the Venue – Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. – Worship with Resonate Worship Team, Prayer, and Pastors’ Panel with Milt and Jesse
  • Student Service - Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
  • Parenting Matters – Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. - Insights and ideas on  family resources and issues with Pastors Seth, Daniel, and Tonya.\
  • Prayer from the Back Porch - Fridays at 10:00 a.m.
 
All of these livestream events can be accessed through our website, www.m1bc.org. Your participation, especially in Sunday worship is vital to your continued spiritual growth and the health and unity of our church in these difficult and challenging days.  Your staff is working hard to make this a time of spiritual progress for all of us.  We have been very pleased with the great response to our livestream already.
 
I also have to stress the importance of your faithful financial stewardship in these days.  Though we are not able to gather together physically for a season, ministry is still going on faithfully at M1.  We are seeking to reach out to senior adults and others in our community to meet needs during these days.  We are continuing to support our mission partners in doing God’s work.  The financial resources to do His work continues.
 
Please continue to give as faithfully and sacrificially as God leads you to do so.  You can give in any of these three ways:

  1. You can give online through our website at www.m1bc.org. Just click on the “Give” tab and follow the instructions.
  2. If you prefer to give with personal check, you can mail it to the Church Office at Magnolia’s First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 296, Magnolia, TX 77353.
  3. You can bring your offering to the Church Office during the new office hours of Monday-Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Your faithfulness will enable us to remain strong during these days of great challenge and great opportunity.
 
Rather than being discouraged about the difficulties and obstacles that are before us, let’s remind ourselves that our God has a purpose for all that He allows.  I heard someone say that the two questions we should be asking are “What is my role in what God is doing here?” and “What does God want me to learn in all of this?” Let’s be open to what He wants to teach us and how He wants to use us.
 
If you have any questions, please email me at EdSeay@magnoliasfirst.org. See you via livestream on Sunday at 10:00 a.m.!

Thankful to be your pastor,
 
Pastor Ed
March 13, 2020

Dear church family and friends of Magnolia’s First,

It is with great sadness but out of an abundance of caution that I must announce the postponement of both our 30th Anniversary Celebration and our Grandparents Conference that was scheduled for next weekend, March 21-22. Please be assured that this decision was made only after great deliberation and prayer. We will reschedule these events at later dates when the risk of the Coronavirus has been mitigated.

I know that some of you will respond that you think that this is an unnecessary overreaction. However, after consulting with Houston’s leading medical experts, I would ask you to consider these things from your pastor’s perspective.

County Judge Mark Keough has issued a Disaster Declaration for COVID-19 for Montgomery County that recommends that all public gatherings greater than 250 persons, especially those 65 or over and/or with severe medical conditions be cancelled. With the number of different services that we offer, it is very unlikely that any of our services would exceed this attendance level. However, if you are 65 or over, we would encourage you to consider worshiping online rather than in person.

However, we WILL have all regular services for the next two Sundays, March 15 and March 22 for those who choose to attend. If you are already feeling sick, we encourage you to stay home and get well soon. We ask that those who choose to attend, please do not touch one another and seek to keep a safe distance of six feet from one another. If you are more comfortable keeping your children with you during the service you attend, you are welcome to do so. Our Kids and Preschool ministries will continue to offer the excellent care and spiritual nurture they provide each Sunday should you choose that option for your children. All Student and Adult Sunday School classes will meet as usual unless individual classes choose to cancel.

For those who choose to worship from home, Traditions at 9:30 and Encounter at 11:00 will both be livestreamed on our website www.magnoliasfirst.org or www.m1bc.org. Simply go to the MEDIA tab on the HomePage and click on WATCH LIVE. Resonate will be livestreamed on the Resonate Facebook page at 11:00. Your involvement in worship online during these days will be very important to your spiritual life and the ongoing health of your church family.

Though there are a number of viruses common at this time of year (flu, etc.), the thing that makes COVID-19 especially potentially dangerous is how virulent it is. Simply put, it is extremely contagious. As shepherd of this flock, I feel a heavy responsibility for all members of our spiritual family but especially those who would be at highest risk among us. If you have a concern, I encourage you to take advantage of the livestream option to worship at home.

We will continue to monitor and assess the ongoing threat level of this virus to our congregation and community and we will plan to update you at least every two weeks.

I want to say this clearly to you as your pastor – we are not afraid! Our God is in control! Like every other storm, this one shall pass and we will come out stronger on the other side. Let’s bond together tightly as we journey through this together.

Psalm 18:2 (NLT)
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock,
in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.

If you have questions, do not hesitate to email me at
edseay@magnoliasfirst.org. Our faithful Lord will walk with us as we
go together.

Blessed to be your pastor,
Pastor Ed Seay