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COVID-19 Update

Dear Church Family,

As the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, we – and indeed the entire globe - find ourselves wrestling with a health pandemic of concerning scale and impact. While only time will tell us how widespread the situation really is, what seems very clear at present is that we must prayerfully discern how to best care for and minister to our Central congregation and our community in general. As Christians, we know we need not be afraid, but it is important that we exercise both wisdom and prudence. Please know of my personal prayers for all of you in this regard.

The health and welfare of our members, staff, and neighbors are of paramount importance. Our objective is to love our community as Christ loves us – especially those among us who are most vulnerable to this disease. With this in mind, Central’s leadership has made a series of proactive decisions:

Sunday Worship

  • St. Louis County has declared a state of emergency, prohibiting all gathering of 250 people or more. As a result, worship this Sunday is “ONLINE ONLY” via our Livestream 
  • The service will stream “live” at 8:30 a.m., and then will be available for viewing again anytime after that service concludes.
  • The church will be “closed” for worship and all other activities this Sunday.
  • As you set up your “Live Stream” at home, you might consider joining with a small group while practicing “social distancing.”
  • You can continue to make your tithes and offerings online, via text, or via U.S. Mail. For full details, please visit our giving page.

For the week of March 16-21:

  • All on-campus ministry events are suspended, including Equip Central, bible studies, and group meetings.
  • Our kitchen will be closed for the week, with no food services provided.

If you need particular spiritual care during this challenging season, our congregational care team would love to hear from you. Send us an email at and one of our pastors or shepherds will be in touch.

We anticipate that these changes are temporary, and intend to go back to our regular ministry schedules as soon as possible. To help inform any future decisions about our various ministry schedules, we have formed a Health Advisory Team with several of our Central medical professionals. That team is helping us stay on top of the situation through their expertise and access to current information. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful and generous resources among our church family.

In closing, dear friends, I pray that the Lord would draw near to each of us in a special way right now. As we talked about Romans 8 last week in worship, it is not lost on me that God can use even this to bring about his good purposes. Please join with me in prayer to that end. Let us also continue in prayer for those currently afflicted with the virus, those impacted by the many cancellations across the country, the many medical professionals serving in these difficult circumstances, and of course for the Central community and St. Louis region. May the Lord of all mercy bless and protect us. To Christ be all glory.

With great affection in Christ for each of you,

Pastor Clay

Posted by Clay Smith

The Power of Video in a Pastoral Search

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One of the primary tools developed by JobfitMatters, the executive search firm Central engaged to assist with our search for a new Senior Pastor, is an introductory video. The piece provides a brief history of Central, as well as reflections from a number of members, elders, and staff. Why was a video important? Did you know that in 2015:

  • Online video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic?1
  • 65% of video viewers watch more than 3/4 of a video?2
  • 78% of people watch video online every week. 55% of people watch online videos every day.3
  • In 2015, experts  believe video will take up 57% of consumer internet traffic. That's nearly 4x as much as web browsing and email. By 2017, video is projected to consume 69% of internet traffic, and by 2018, it's projected to rise to 79%.3
  • 80% of senior executives watch more online video today than they did a year ago.4
  • Simply using the word "video" in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and increase click-through rates by 65%.5

We invite you to check out our new video below. We hope you enjoy it!

1. www.merchantmarketinggroup.com/blog/merchants-2015-digital-marketing-predictions/
2. www.reelnreel.com/10-video-marketing-predictions-2015/
3. https://www.grouponworks.co.uk/blog/marketing/why-video-should-be-a-part-of-your-2014-marketing-strategy/
4. images.forbes.com/forbesinsights/StudyPDFs/Video_in_the_CSuite.pdf
5. syndacast.com/video-marketing-statistics-trends-2015/

 

Posted by Jeff Brown

We Still Have 3 Services!

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Hopefully you are aware at this point that starting next week, July 5, Central is moving to a new worship schedule, featuring two Sunday morning services at 9 and 10:45am. What you may not be aware of though is that Central will still have three worship services, with the continuation of our 5pm service on Sunday evenings.

Historically, this evening service has been called Trio, and has been a “site” of Central that happened to worship on our campus. Some may have assumed that Central is continuing Trio as a separate community, but the goal is to actually better connect and unify this service with the rest of Central’s worship, while maintaining much of the same feel and style Trio has been known for.

There will be two primary differences to our third service starting next week. The first difference will be a new space. On July 5, the service will be moving into Central’s Student Center. This wonderful space will provide a warmer and more inviting feel, give us increased capacity for community, better audio and video technical abilities. It also allows us to better steward our Fellowship Hall space, which is being transformed for better use on Sundays. We also hope this move will generate some interest amongst new people and help us better integrate additional Central families into worship. 

The other main difference will be the preaching. Since its inception almost 10 years ago, Trio has always featured a different sermon than on Sunday mornings, and typically a different pastor as well. With Eric Stiller’s transition to church planting in the Central West End, our third service is now going to share the same sermon and preacher as our morning services. It is our hope that this will help unify our unique worshipping communities.

While these changes will require some transition, much of what has happened on Sunday evenings will continue. The music will continue to have the same quality leadership and musicians who provide a jazz-influenced, contemporary style. The service will still seek to provide a safe place for unbelievers and those who have left the Church to engage the community at Central. We will also continue to foster an intergenerational environment that has been a good home for many families over the years.

As our community seeks to find a new rhythm with the change in service times, we hope that Sunday evenings at 5pm will be a good landing place for you. We would invite you to come and check it out. If you would like more information about this service or ways that you could be involved in helping with the transition, please contact Pastor Todd Denholm ( ).

Posted by Todd Denholm

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