May is here and I think we can all agree that this year has not started out as planned for any of us! I hope you’re staying healthy as the process of reopening continues in your area. Our team has put together a new launch schedule for Church In A Brewery and we wanted to give you an update. We’ll remain flexible and keep an eye on how the situation surrounding COVID-19 unfolds. I’ll share the new launch details and our contingency plans below, but first we’d like to share some personal updates from the team!
What’s the team been up to during the stay-home order? Dana has been busy creating a “backyard oasis for birds and squirrels!” Check out this photo of her work. It’s like a fancy animal resort! Dana has also been acquiring new video skills; she’s been learning how to create animation for the videos in our Bible Overview series!
Jason has spent the last month working from home and fishing at a nearby pond. Check out this catch! He’s not going to eat it though, I already asked. Jason’s job has been unusually busy as of late but when he’s not working, he and Dana spend time working in their garden. They’ve also been curiously watching a show called Married At First Sight. Can you imagine what that would be like?? It’s like the worst idea ever but you can’t stop watching!
Meanwhile, Heath has been planting a garden of his own. After working from home, gardening has been a good activity to help him relax and spend time outdoors. Last fall, the company Heath had been working for sold and moved to another state. He started a new job working for Hampel Oil in January and was thankful to be able to continue working during the COVID-19 shutdown. Heath has spent his evenings taking online courses in data analytics.
In the future, Heath would like to use these new skills to examine data trends for Brewery Ministries. Check out his sweet home office, pictured below. Looks more like a command center to me! That setup rivals The Bat Computer!
I’ve stayed busy during the shutdown as well. In my free time I began writing and recording an acoustic album. I felt like it would be really interesting to write songs during the shutdown and treat the songs as a journal or musical time-capsule. I tried to keep the songs hopeful yet talk about some of the weirdness we’re all experiencing as well. A friend of mine, Tyler from my hometown is adding strings and cello to the songs. I’m excited to see how they turn out.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to continue working part-time at Asbury Church during the shutdown. I’ve ramped up my online marketing training recently especially in the areas of e-mail marketing and paid social media advertising. These skills are coming in handy as we launch Church In A Brewery. I’m particularly interested in learning to reach people my age and younger because these age groups have little to no experience in church. It will likely require new methods to reach them. It’s a whole new world which is sometimes a bit overwhelming but I also find it very exciting.
New Launch Details:
Now for the business stuff. Our new launch date will be July 6, 2020. If all goes well as the state attempts to reopen, we’ll begin meeting at Augustino Brewing every Monday evening at 7:30 PM. Again, we’ll be monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely. If another delay becomes necessary due to COVID-19, we’ll move forward with a contingency plan described below.
How the state’s plan to reopen affects us:
If you’re not here in Kansas, our state is reopening in 4 phases. If all goes well, everything in Kansas will be fully open starting on June 15th. Technically we could launch during phase 3 (starting June 1) but we felt like we needed a buffer in case any phase of reopening takes longer than expected. The dates provided by the state are not set in stone; they’re dependent on the number of COVID-19 cases and supplies available. We chose July 6th because we wanted to reduce the chances of having to move the launch date again and allow ourselves at least 6 weeks to run a second marketing campaign. Hopefully everything will go according to plan (or at least close) and we’ll be able to launch in July.
As far as COVID-19, none of us really know what to expect going forward. There’s certainly the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 and an additional shutdown. I don’t think anyone can predict what will happen during the fall when flu season begins. If there is another shutdown in the future, we’ll transition to some type of online Church In A Brewery meeting.
During the shutdown someone mentioned to me that they would be interested in a weekly online spiritual discussion group over something like Google Hangouts or Zoom. It would have been a challenge to pull something like that off in April because we had not met most of the people who showed interest in our public meeting yet. However, if we’re able to start meeting in July even if only for a few weeks, it will make transitioning to an online discussion group much easier.
I continue to hear from new people on our social media channels who can’t wait for the Church In A Brewery launch. We’re all praying another shutdown isn’t necessary but our team is planning for all possibilities so we can continue moving forward. There’s a quote from Jesus in Luke Chapter 15 that goes like this: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” When I read that, I remember the reason we set out to launch a brewery church in the first place. We wanted to pursue people who haven’t been able to connect with church or don’t know where to go to explore their spiritual questions. With that in mind, we’ll continue working to find new ways of accomplishing that mission even during this unusual time.
When it comes to reaching new people, online content is becoming more and more important. We’ve started developing videos and blogs that we’ll be marketing as a way to connect with new people who are spiritually searching. Last week I wrote our very first Brewery Ministries blog. It seemed timely to talk about some things we’ve discovered about ourselves during the COVID-19 shutdown. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here: https://www.breweryministries.org/2020/05/06/covid-19-will-change-us-if-we-let-it/
I hope you’re all hanging in there during this unusual time. We’ll keep an eye on how the process of reopening goes and adjust accordingly. Thanks so much for your support during this weird time. You’ve helped us continue to be able to work and learn new ways to reach others. We believe our team will be in an even better position to launch in July than we would have been if we had launched in March. We’re deeply appreciative of all that you’ve done for us. I’m planning to start sending newsletter updates on a regular schedule around the first of each month. By the time you receive our June newsletter, we will have launched our first online video course. If you’d like to catch up or have any questions before then, you can reach me any time via phone, text or e-mail. Thanks so much and we’ll talk soon! Take care,