Campus Reopening Update: Student Ministry & Worship

 In Coronavirus Updates, Featured

On October 7, our Student Ministry community returned to onsite ministry in a limited capacity. In the next phase or our reopening strategy, we anticipate returning to on-campus worship in the coming weeks. Our staff and leadership are working hard to make plans for folks to safely return to on-campus worship and we anticipate our first weekend onsite being Sunday, November 1. Pastor Jeff Marian, Pastor Jason Kramme and Mark Slaughter recorded a zoom conversation last week in which they discussed some of these plans. That video is posted below, followed by a written recap.

First and foremost, all of this planning is tentative. We continue to closely monitor the latest COVID-19 data, knowing that everything can change quickly which may facilitate the need for us to change our plans accordingly. So please hold all of these plans loosely.

Our campus may have temporarily closed in March, but ministry continues in new and creative ways thanks to the generous support of our congregation. So what we’re discussing today is not restarting ministry, because ministry never stopped. We’re talking about reopening the Prince of Peace campus and what that looks like. CDLC Preschool and Mission Outpost both successfully reopened in early September. In the next phase of our reopening strategy, we are focusing on Student Ministry and weekend worship.

Family Ministry

  1. Will StuMin Worship continue online as well as the opportunity for small groups to connect other than in-person? What if a student doesn’t want to meet in-person? Not all small groups will be able to meet at POP each week due to limited space and capacity, hybrid schedules and health concerns. StuMin will continue to produce a weekly online worship video so that everyone can stay connected. We have also been working with our leaders to foster online connection via a variety of technologies like FaceTime, Zoom and other platforms to include students in our small groups remotely even if others are gathered onsite.
  2. What precautions are in place to keep everyone safe? Students can expect many of the same requirements they engage with at school every day like temperature checks upon arrival, separate entrances and exits, physically distanced seating, and sanitizing areas in between group meetings.
  3. Will there be an opportunity for multiple small groups to hang out together before, during or after on campus StuMin? At this time we are limiting  gathering to specific small groups, not mingling with other groups. So no, there won’t be what was the POP Pizzeria area or Freestyle.
  4. How are the Confirmation students meeting? There are two Zoom meetings on Sunday mornings and one on Wednesday evening. Our fall Confirmation students will continue to meet online for the remainder of the sessions.
  5. Why is StuMin coming back onsite but not Children’s Ministry? Our first reason for doing so is developmental. We have found that developmentally, teens need more access to peer relationships outside the home than younger students do. That isn’t to say that our elementary kids don’t need this, it is just a little more mission-critical for the older kids. The second reason for bringing back our students first is because our Children’s Ministry curriculum is designed for family-based worship and discussion. It is made to be used in the home within the context of adult-child relationships.
  6. We have students in our community from several different school districts, currently in different learning models. How do the school district learning models impact how we think about reopening? We waited to make our decision about bringing students onsite until after the area school districts communicated their plans. We are offering a hybrid model, using similar safety measures, and are limiting attendance to adhere to social distancing protocol.


  1. When will on campus worship begin? We’re currently anticipating that Reformation Sunday – November 1 – will be our first Sunday back in the building for worship. We’re still determining what our worship times will be and hope to communicate that in the next few days.
  2. Will there still be an online worship service? Yes, online worship is here to stay. We will continue to offer meaningful online worship experiences with the hope that this becomes a permanent worship offering for POP.
  3. Will the online worship be a prerecorded service as it has been or will we be doing a live recording of onsite worship? The online service will continue to be prerecorded for now. Once we improve our technology and develop the necessary skills and volunteers, portions of online worship may be presented live.
  4. What precautions are in place to keep everyone safe? Much like what we’ve all grown accustomed to when going into public spaces, we will do everything we can to provide a safe environment by requiring masks at all times, maintaining physical distancing, cleaning and sanitize the building between services, etc. You will need to make a reservation prior to coming to worship. We can gather with a maximum of 250 people (including staff and volunteers), so we want to make sure we do not go beyond that threshold. Our chairs will be spread out into small groupings to allow us to accommodate different household sizes. Ushers will take you to your seats and we will dismiss by rows. More details will be provided as we approach November 1.
  5. Will there be any opportunity for fellowship before, during or after in-person worship? We want to encourage folks to limit their conversations due to our need to limit exposure, clean the building, and keep everyone safe. There won’t be time or space for fellowship in the building.
  6. How will worship look and feel different and/or the same as before COVID-19? We will have smaller crowds and less folks involved in leading worship. The Sanctuary will look different – instead of the usual 1,000 chairs, we’ll have about 200 chairs all spaced out. We are working hard to provide a meaningful and spiritually uplifting worship experience. We don’t want anything to feel sterile and perfunctory. We will still have dynamic music, powerful preaching, and even moments to wave and other folks! We will start small and hope to eventually introduce additional elements and groups in the future such as choir or instrumental groups.
  7. When and how will we communicate more detail about logistics like check in, face coverings, seating arrangements, singing, etc? Watch for an announcement the week of October 19 where we’ll be sharing a video about reopening expectations and procedures.

Closing Thoughts

  1. For those of you who crave to be back onsite, but don’t yet feel comfortable retuning, please know that we support your decision to stay home and worship with us online. Online worship IS worship. Please don’t feel guilt or pressure to join us onsite. Instead, make the decision that is best for you and your household. We want everyone to be in a place where they are comfortable so that we are free to learn and grow and worship together, both online and on campus.
  2. We’re working on plans to reopen the building in a limited capacity during the week in the near future. This would include front desk staff returning and the potential for some smaller groups to meet onsite. However, many of our staff will continue to work from home. Please contact staff directly or call the church office to make an appointment. We ask that you don’t pop in to say “hi” so that we can keep everyone safe. More details to come in the coming weeks.
  3. Our staff has done remarkable work during this time of crisis. Their faithfulness in thinking deeply, carefully and prayerfully and their ability to pivot our ministry has been inspiring. We thank all of our staff for their leadership and faithfulness.
  4. Thanks to all of you – the faithful disciples that are Prince of Peace. Our staff and leadership are so grateful for your notes of encouragement, your faithful giving, and for those of you who have started the journey of giving for the first time. You have kept the ministry of Prince of Peace, not just alive, but thriving in these challenging times. We are incredibly grateful for all of you.
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  • Twyla Johnson

    That was so fulfilling to hear all the great plans for us now and in the future of POP and extended fellowship with others. I am now watching worship online but when it is safe to do it in person I look forward to that. I am thankful for all the staff working so hard to keep us all informed and united. Love to all.

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