August 28, 2020
As you may know, our Sunday morning regathering on the RCC campus began on June 28th. If I can be completely honest with you for just a moment…I wasn’t sure what to expect. With a lot of different guidelines in place, no children’s or student ministries, the need to social distance, and such a long period of not gathering on our campus on Sunday mornings, I just didn’t really know how it was going to go. Here we are nine weeks later and we’re adjusting to the “new normal.”
Through regathering, we’ve had just under 40% of our pre COVID Sunday morning attendance return. Most articles that I am reading right now are noting that churches are seeing anywhere, on average, between 10–30% of a return so we’re doing well. After settling in and seeing how many RCCers are comfortable worshipping on campus, we have made the decision to reduce our number of worship services from three to two. Beginning Sunday, September 20th our new worship times will be 8:00 and 9:30 a.m. Our 8:00 service will continue to be our traditional service, while our 9:30 service will be our contemporary service. Our live stream will begin at 9:30 on Sunday mornings.
Like some of you, there have been times when this season of life has been difficult for me. I have always considered it an honor and a privilege to not only lead the Body of Christ but also be a part of the Body of Christ. These past few months have only affirmed, and even highlighted, how important that connection is for me. I have missed so many of you simply because we haven’t seen each other for so long.
This step with our worship services will provide all of us with a greater opportunity to do what many of us need the most right now–connect with each other! Combining two services into one will also bring more of us together to enjoy that family relationship we have with one another as a part of the Body, will create energy and enthusiasm in our worship environment, and will help with our diminished number of Sunday volunteers.
Be assured that we will still provide a safe and inviting worship venue by continuing to do what we’ve been doing. Masks will still be required when not in your seat, social distancing will still be observed, pre-packaged communion will still be used, and plenty of hand sanitizer will be available. If you feel you might not be comfortable worshiping in our Worship Center, our KidZone area will be set up and ready to go as an alternative overflow area for our 9:30 service.
There have been a lot of changes in the world we’re living in during the past six months. Sometimes, we have to be willing to make changes as well. You may have heard it said before: “Methods are many, principles are few; methods always change, principles never do.” While we make changes to things like how we do communion, where we sit, how we give through our generosity, what time we’ll worship, and what we can do to greet one another, one thing will never change–we will gather together to worship God and celebrate what He has done for us in Jesus Christ! Be sure to join us on campus at 8:00, 9:15, or 10:45 this Sunday morning, or online at 9:15 as we worship and celebrate together!
July 22, 2020
Hey there, RCCers!! I hope you’re having a great week. I wanted to share a few updates with you as we look toward this weekend.
First, I am excited to announce that Paul Swanson will be joining our staff team as our new Children’s Pastor. Paul and his wife, Vicki, visited RCC this past weekend and felt God leading them to join our team after spending their time with us. Paul comes to us with a great deal of experience in ministry of all ages from birth through college. Our search team has spent a lot of time with Paul over the past few months, and the more time we spent with him the more evident it became that Paul fit the profile that our search team had put together for our next Children’s Pastor. Paul will begin his ministry with us on August 15th. Be watching for how you can help Paul and Vicki transition here in the near future.
Join us this Sunday on campus or online as we begin a new series that we’ll be in for four weeks that we’re calling “Refresh.” In this series we’ll be taking a look at four Psalms in the Old Testament. When you’re visiting a website and you hit the refresh button on your internet browser you are, essentially, asking the website to send to your computer the newest version of the page you’re viewing. The old version is thrown out and the new version appears. It is clear in the Bible that when we’re in Christ we are new. A life that is lived in Christ is a new life; the old life is thrown out and there’s a new life that we begin to live. In the next four weeks we’re going to look at some Psalms that will help us understand this new life from the Old Testament perspective. You can join us on campus at 8:00, 9:15, or 10:45; or join us online during our 9:15 service. To join us online simply go to our website, www.rochesterchristian.com, and hit the “Watch Sundays at 9:15” button.
For the past three years Lisa Moore has served as our Early Childhood Director. Lisa has done a fantastic job organizing that ministry, recruiting solid volunteers, and touching the hearts and lives of our littlest RCC attenders. For personal reasons, Lisa has made the difficult decision to step down from her role, effective July 31st. After praying about this decision for a few months, Lisa feels she needs to free up some of her schedule to spend more time with her family. She will be missed in her role as the Early Childhood Director, but we are excited that Lisa and her family will continue to be a part of RCC like they have for so many years.
I want to thank you for your patience while our KidZone and Early Childhood ministry areas are not in use. I know this creates some inconvenience for many, but we want to do our best at RCC to be smart and safe during this time we’re living in right now. Many of you may be wondering when those areas will be back in use. That’s not an easy question to answer at this point. As you know, things change quickly from week-to-week…really from day-to-day sometimes. Right now, the plan is to wait until August 31st and then reevaluate and make a determination on when and how to use those areas again. There’s much to consider as we look to begin those ministries again.
I hope you’ll join us this Sunday on campus at 8:00, 9:15, or 10:45…or online at 9:15. Have a great rest of the week!
July 09, 2020
Hey there, RCC family! I hope you had a fantastic July 4th weekend. It’s always good to be reminded of the blessing of freedom we have in our country. Through our freedom we’re afforded the opportunity to get together to worship God and open His Word whenever we want. May we never take that for granted. I would like to take a moment and share a few updates with you.
June 26, 2020
June 18, 2020
June 04, 2020
Hello, RCC Family! As you know, Governor Pritzker recently lifted restrictions from Illinois churches. However, there are still CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health Guidelines that have been published as best practices for Houses of Worship. Your patience while we work through all of the guidelines, decisions, and procedures that need to be addressed would be greatly appreciated.
In the meantime, we want to hear from you. Please take a few moments and take this online survey to help us better understand what we can expect as we implement plans for our regathering. To complete the survey go to: https://
Please help us by completing the survey once per household. We hope to be together soon on the RCC campus!
May 29, 2020
Greetings, RCCers! I hope you’ve had a great week. It’s hard to believe it’s the end of another month and time to send out another update. Let me provide an update on a few things for you.
We will continue with our 9:15 online worship service. Governor Pritzker has lifted all restrictions on Illinois churches. This is certainly good news! But, here’s what I’ve learned in the past few weeks: Plans to regather as a church are much harder than the plans were to begin worshipping in our homes. It’s much more than a matter of opening the doors and letting folks inside. New guidelines for places of worship have been published by the Illinois Department of Public Health. It is only wise for us to look closely at these guidelines and consider what is necessary for us to provide a healthy and safe environment. Many decisions need to be made, and these decisions are not for the faint of heart. To prepare, a few of our staff will be meeting with a local medical professional next week to talk through what the future will look like at RCC when we regather on our campus. It is safe to say that it will look different for a while. Once we have a date for regathering on campus we will let you know.
Consider how you can gather together with others to worship together. We’ve moved into Phase 3 of “Restore Illinois.” This phase allows for gatherings of 10 people or less with social distancing. I would encourage you to gather with others on Sunday mornings to enjoy fellowship and worship. Your Sunday school class, your small group, a group of friends, and neighbors are all great options. If there are others who live in your neighborhood and attend RCC, why not have a living room party and come together to worship. I would also encourage you to consider inviting some family members, friends, or neighbors who you know need a relationship with Jesus. This small, intimate gathering in your home while everyone watches worship on a screen may be just what they need to hear about Jesus.
Pick up your daily devotional booklet. I know many of you use the quarterly, daily devotional booklets that we provide. The booklet for June-July-August has arrived. My wife, Mary Ann, and I would love to see you and get a booklet to you. If you’d like to receive a booklet please stop by RCC this Sunday, May 31st, after our worship service. Mary Ann and I will be there until noon. If you’ve never used one of these booklets before, now would be a good time to begin.
Thank you! Honestly, you have blown me away these past 12 weeks with your generosity, your encouragement, your willingness to serve, and your commitment to worship. Our online worship attendance has been fantastic, your generosity has been inspiring, and the notes of encouragement have been much appreciated. Through your generosity and willingness to serve, we have been providing food boxes every Monday for 20 Rochester families who have requested additional help through the school’s free/reduced lunch program. In an upcoming worship service, we’re going to share how we’ve been able to help some of your missions partners thanks to your generosity. We’ve heard of several families who have “visited” RCC for the first time through our online worship because you were willing to invite them. Thank you so much for all you’re doing as a loving and authentic Christ-centered family bringing hope, freedom, and purpose to our local and global community.
Our Elders have joined with me in many prayers and discussions as we look to the future. We need to make our own decisions based on what we believe is best for our leadership team, for you, and for our community. We are seeking only to be God-honoring in these decisions. We would invite you to join us in praying for our future as we look to God for the right timing to regather on our campus.
Proud to be a part of RCC,
Brad and the RCC Elders
May 22, 2020
Hello, RCC family! I trust this short message finds you doing well. I wanted to share a quick update in light of President Trump’s announcement this afternoon that churches can open for worship on Sunday. Let me begin by saying that I want us to be able to gather together on Sunday mornings as much you do. There’s nothing quite like talking with you, laughing with you, praying with you, crying with you, worshipping with you. Suffice it to say, I’ve missed all of you these last 11 weeks.
President Trump’s announcement is encouraging. However, at the time of this writing, the guidelines, expectations, and instructions are somewhat unclear. Without clarity with this announcement, it is difficult to be prepared to hold live services on our campus on Sunday. In addition, there are many decisions that need to be made and implemented before we can gather together again, and it would be difficult to be adequately prepared to provide a safe environment in a little more than 24 hours.
As a result, we will not have on-site worship services this Sunday. We will have our online service this Sunday at 9:15 a.m. You can join our service by going to our website, www.rochesterchristian.com, and clicking the “Watch Sundays at 9:15 a.m.” button. You can also join our service on the Rochester Christian Church Facebook page.
Three things I would ask you to do as we head into this weekend:
1) Rejoice! First, on this Memorial Day weekend we can rejoice in the freedom we have that allows us to worship…even if it’s not on our campus. Many men and women have given their lives for that freedom. Second, today’s announcement seems like a step in the right direction, and it’s exciting to think that we’ll be back together sometime sooner rather than later. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:4&5, NIV)
2) Be patient. It’s been difficult for me to be patient through much of this. As we’ve experienced time and time again since mid-March, things change so quickly…almost moment by moment. Once the guidelines are published and understood we will make future decisions based on our preparedness and the health and safety of our RCC family and the community-at-large. Our Elders and staff would appreciate your patience while we implement plans that need to be put into place. The Lord will lead us to the right time to gather together again on our campus. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3, NIV)
3) Pray. Please pray for wisdom for our Elders and staff. There are many decisions that need to be made in the future. None of them are actually easy! Please pray for the Bride of Christ, the church. Pray for her witness. Pray for her revival. Pray for her unity. May Jesus bring us together as the Body at RCC, whether on campus or online, for His glory. …whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV)
Honored to serve the RCC family,
April 30, 2020
Hello, RCCers! I hope you’ve been able to get out and enjoy some of the sunshine when it’s been around this past week. I wanted to take a moment and provide another update as we continue to journey through COVID- 19. With the Governor’s stay-at-home extension through May 31st, we will continue with our online worship service exclusively for the next month.
This service is at 9:15 a.m. and there are now two ways you can join our live service. You can go to our website and hit the “Watch Sundays at 9:15 a.m.” button to join our service on our YouTube channel, or you can join our service on the Rochester Christian Church Facebook page. Each Sunday we have an online host so be sure to sign in and say hi.
We’re going through a relevant teaching series right now that we’re calling “Manic Monday.” The past two Sundays we’ve talked about anxiety and perfectionism. If you missed either of those messages you can go to our website or our Facebook page and catch a recording of the entire service. This Sunday we’ll be talking about fear, followed by comparison, and then we’ll finish off the series talking about insecurity.
Immediately following our worship service you can join our online video chat adult Bible study Q&A that dives deeper into the sermon text for each Sunday. You can join that study by clicking here. The password is 7777. At 11:00 a.m. we have a teen Bible study on our RCC Student Ministries Facebook page, and at 11:30 there is content posted to our RCC KidZone Facebook page that helps connect your children to God’s Word. Be sure to check out all of these opportunities to get connected on Sunday mornings.
During the week we have several opportunities for you to stay connected as well. You can read our daily blog. Every day one of our staff
shares insights for daily encouragement and inspiration. There’s also video content that is published every Monday—Friday at noon. You can check out this content by visiting our Facebook page or our YouTube channel.
We were looking forward to hosting Vacation Bible School the week of June 8th . Unfortunately, VBS will not be able to take place at that time. We are exploring alternative dates and options to still try and do VBS before school resumes this fall. Once we have a date and a plan in place we will let you know.
In the next couple of weeks we will be assembling a “task force” that will be given the responsibility of setting policies, parameters, procedures and boundaries that need to be put into place as we look at reopening our building when it is safe to do so. This group will be looking at everything that entails our worship services and the other ministry events during the week. While I’m uncertain as to when RCC will reopen, I am certain that things will be different…at least initially. While we gather together on our campus for worship and other ministry opportunities your health and safety will be one of our top priorities.
We will do our best to communicate to you what you can expect as our time to reopen comes more into focus. I want you to know that we are still here for you. If we can assist you in any way, pray for you in any way, or just lend an ear to give you someone to talk to please don’t hesitate to contact our office at 498-9264.
While our office is closed we are still answering the phones and ready to serve you! Let me close this update by simply saying thank you! I have been so impressed and overwhelmed by your participation and support during such a difficult time. The life of generosity you are living through your consistent giving in these days is inspiring.
You can give to RCC through your bank’s bill pay system, our website, the RCC mobile app, or the mail. Our worship service each week consistently has 200+ devices connected to our live stream. The encouraging comments you leave on our online content mean so much to our staff. Your notes, cards, and emails are greatly appreciated.
Thank you, RCC, for being you! It is truly a pleasure to be a part of this spiritual family with you. I look forward to continuing to grow in His Word right along with you each Sunday morning as we worship as one church in many homes.
I miss you,
Brad Ferris, Lead Pastor
April 02, 2020
Hello, RCCers…I hope you’ve had a great week.
MARCH 23, 2020
MARCH 16, 2020
Hello, RCC Family!
This past Sunday was an incredible Sunday as we worshiped together exclusively online. We believe God wants to do powerful things in all of us, whether we’re together in the same room or one church in many homes. We believe as a church we need to walk in faith and not fear. The Bible is clear that God does not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power (2 Timothy 1:7). I’m so thankful for the power that is available to us every moment of every day. We also believe that because of our faith God helps us to be wise. Sometimes there are decisions that call for wisdom, which in reality can be a test of our faith.
Sunday afternoon the Elders and I met with a medical professional to discuss the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and how we can act in a wise way. After understanding what is happening in our community and world we believe the wise decision is to close the RCC facility through March 31st. This is a difficult decision, but we’re making this decision for two reasons. First, we love you and we love our community. Limiting our contact with others helps aid those who are most susceptible to this virus. This decision is about putting others first and loving those around us. Second, this decision helps slow the spread of this virus and will assist our medical professionals and facilities. This decision is not meant to cause panic or fear, but to allow us to be responsible for what happens in our community and with you as members of RCC.
We recognize that this outbreak and our decision to close our facility may cause some inconveniences and a few questions. Believe me, I have had a few questions myself. So…let me do my best to answer some questions you might have.
What will we be doing for Sunday morning worship? We will be doing exclusively online worship at 9:15 a.m. just like this past Sunday. You can join our online service by going to our website at www.rochesterchristian.com/sermons. We are becoming a church without walls. We don’t want you isolated from us, and we don’t want to be isolated from you. Join us online on Sunday mornings so you can see our faces (I’m not the best looking guy you’ll ever see!). We will have someone available to interact online during our service so make sure you activate the chat option and drop in to say, “Hi.” If you don’t have access to our live stream and would like to request an audio CD of the morning’s message please contact Laura Welch in our church office.
What about our other current ministry opportunities (Wednesday evening activities, workout classes, weekday preschool, etc.)? All of our other current ministry gatherings will not be meeting during this time. Basically we will be using our facility for online worship and to keep our office open. I do believe, however, that God is giving us a very unique opportunity to do ministry through RCC. Our staff is working hard putting together a plan to help meet some of the needs that will be very real for the next few weeks. Be watching your e-mail, our Facebook page, and the mobile app for some of the different things we’re putting into place and how YOU can get involved.
Could our facility be closed beyond March 31st? As you’ve probably noticed things have changed rapidly with this virus outbreak. We will continue to monitor regulations and guidelines and will notify you as soon as possible if things change.
Should our small group continue to meet? This is a decision for each group to make. Groups are welcome to meet at an off-site location if they desire to do so. I would definitely encourage you to stay in touch with one another during this time. Shawn Smith, our Discipleship Pastor, is working on a plan that will allow groups to keep in touch through various tools. I would also encourage you to think of ways you can be serving one another in your group, and talk about how you can serve others in our community, too. (OVER)
Could this create financial challenges at RCC? If we don’t commit to being faithful managers of all that God has given to us, then yes it could. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about RCC in my 7 ½ years as your Lead Pastor it’s this: you are extremely generous! We don’t give because we’re committed to a building we give because we’re committed to God and living the way He wants us to live. I would encourage you, if you haven’t already done so, to set up online giving. This can be done through your bank’s bill pay system, our mobile app, or our website. Feel free to mail in your gift, or you can stop by our office to give your gift in person. If you need help with online giving please contact the church office and we’ll be happy to assist you. I know God is not surprised by this, and He will take care of us during this time. He is always faithful!
What else can we do, as a church, during this time? We need to pray. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned during Vision Sunday that we wanted to be a family at RCC that is devoted to prayer. Here we go! Pray for our government leaders, our medical leaders, and our spiritual leaders. Pray for God to be the source of peace that our world and community needs right now. Pray for God to restore health to those infected with this virus. Pray for families who are making difficult decisions about loved ones with this virus. And let’s pray with thanksgiving because He is a sovereign God who is always in control. You can also “like” RCC’s Facebook pages to stay connected. Search for Rochester Christian Church, RCC Kidzone, and RCC Student Ministry. Our Kidzone and Student Ministry pages will have resources and special opportunities for your children and teens. Hit the “like” buttons on all of these pages today!
Is there a way for me to get up-to-date information on what is happening at RCC? Yes. First, you can join our e-newsletter list by emailing Laura in our office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Second, take a moment and download the RCC mobile app by searching Rochester Christian Church in your app store. We will also be sharing current information on the Facebook pages listed above.
Is there trustworthy information I can get about COVID-19? I asked our medical professional to provide us with some credible information that we could share with you about this virus. You can visit the Illinois Department of Public Health for information: www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus. You can also visit the CDC for their guidelines: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. For general questions about COVID-19 and Illinois’ response and guidance you can call 1-800-889-3931 or you can email at DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.
This is a challenging time. Let me stress that we aren’t going anywhere!! I encourage you to stay engaged with us and let us know how we can serve you. Do you have a prayer need? Do you need some food? Need a babysitter? Need an errand done? Need someone to give you a ride? Know of another need we might be able to meet? Please give us a call in our office at 498-9264 and we’ll do what we can. There’s no shame in asking for help.
Peter says: …be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:7—10, NIV) We may be a church without walls for a few weeks, but we’re still the church. Right now, we can live out these words from Peter better than ever before. We’re still here for you. We still care about you. We’re still serving you. We still love you. None of that has changed! Let’s join together as a loving and authentic Christ-centered family and watch God ignite a revival in us and through us in these next few weeks.
Love and blessings…Brad Ferris, Lead Pastor