COVID Response

Up-to-date information regarding First Christian's plans for our worship gatherings.

Check out our most recent communication!

Thursday, November 12

Throughout the pandemic, we have consistently remained agile in order to best serve our community. We’re grateful for your trust as we lead through this season.

We want to honor our community and our health-care workers by being wise in how we are approaching safety concerns. In response to the significant increase in local cases and additional restrictions from the State of Iowa on social gatherings, we are updating a few of our safety and precautionary measures for this Sunday and throughout the duration of the State’s restrictions.

  • Our Chapel Service at 8:00 am will transition to a mask-required service.
  • Kids programming for preschool and up will now require masks. This includes kids, parents, and volunteers.
  • Our 10:00 am service will not be mask-required, but we strongly request and encourage those attending to wear a mask throughout the service and their time on campus. 

We also request that people continue to maintain social-distancing throughout the morning, with six feet between families.

We know this season is difficult and everyone may not agree with every decision made in regards to the safety measures, but we appreciate your grace and patience.

As always, you can worship with us online at 10:00 every Sunday morning on Facebook and YouTube! You play a huge role in sharing our online services and engaging on Sunday mornings. Your shares have prompted faith conversations from people in your networks with us! That's a huge celebration!

Whether we see you on campus or online on Sunday morning, we can't wait!

Thursday, September 3

We’re excited to share some new updates in our continued efforts to relaunch! Please note – these changes do not take place until Sunday, September 13!

Here are the details: 

Sunday morning FCC Kids

Our Sunday morning kids programming will relaunch on Sunday, September 13 during the 10:00am service. Our kids team has worked hard to provide a fun, safe, and clean environment for your children to learn and grow in their faith. Some of the extra efforts that will be taken include: 

  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located at the entrance of each room. Kids will sanitize their hands as they enter and exit their room. 
  • Volunteers will be screened each Sunday and will wear masks at all times. Masks are encouraged but not required for children. 
  • Rooms will be set up for social distancing for elementary students and arranged so the younger children are in smaller groups. 
  • Toys will be cleaned and sanitized throughout the morning in addition to during the week. 

Additional details, including check-in procedures, will be sent to parents from our FCC Kids team leading up to next weekend. Sign up here so you don’t miss anything! Our volunteer team is excited to welcome back your children birth through 5th grade at 10:00am on the September 13! 


8:00 Chapel Service 

We will relaunch our 8:00 service in the chapel also on Sunday, September 13. While this is a return to our service that features more traditional worship music, there will also be some adjustments and changes: 

  • The room has been reconfigured to allow for social distancing, with every other row removed. We ask families to sit together and leave at least two seats between them and the next person/family.  
  • The service order will be similar to how we have been worshipping online and on-campus, with several songs of worship at the beginning of the service, followed by the message, and ending with communion. 
  • We will continue to sing several familiar hymns each week while also introducing some newer songs our team has led over the past several months. 
  • One thing that will be noticeably missed is the organ. We will be shifting to a piano-led style that allows us to still hold the richness of hymns while introducing the freshness of some of the newer songs of worship.  
  • Pre-packaged communion cups containing the bread and juice will be picked up as you enter the service. 
  • A generosity box will be available for placing tithes and offerings. 


Starting the week of September 13, the building will be open to host Life Groups and additional groups that have routinely met at FCC. Rooms throughout the building will be marked with capacity limits and will need to be scheduled through our Director of Operations, Jeremy Damgaard. You may email him for more information and to reserve a space. 


Student Ministry 

Middle school and high school student ministry will begin to meet during the month of September. However, they will be using a different format. As we are without a student pastor at this time, our volunteer team will be meeting with students in small groups rather than the large group format we are accustomed to. Plans at still coming together and more information will be sent to parents and students next week. Sign up here to be sure you’re on the list.   


Additional information: 

  • Wednesday evening FCC Kids programming will continue to be on hold at this time Our hope is to be able to bring back this fun learning experience to our kids’ mid-week very soon. Our FCC Kids team will communicate with parents as plans begin to take shape.  
  • With this phase, we will return to our regular open office hours of Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 4:00pm, beginning Monday, September 14. 
  • Our volunteers and staff will continue to wear masks. Those attending and participating are encouraged but not required. Of course, if you are feeling unwell or if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or you yourself are waiting for test results, please worship online.  


We are grateful for your continued grace and agility as we navigate these changes to how we host ministry opportunities. Should we need to make adjustments or changes to these plans as we move through the fall, we will communicate so. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out via email ( or phone the church office (712-328-2606).  

In the meantime, we will see you this coming Sunday, September 6 at 10:00am online or on-campus. And we’ll look forward to FCC Kids and our Chapel Service relaunching on Sunday, September 13.  


The elders and staff of First Christian 

Wednesday, June 24

First Christian, 


We wanted to give you a quick update on a change starting THIS WEEKEND. We’ve had the chance to learn and talk with many people and adjust our Sunday mornings to better serve our community. Beginning this Sunday, we’re going to be moving to a single 10:00 am service. 


We’re excited about this shift for a few reasons. 


  1. Many in our community are choosing to stay home for a while longer. This change allows our online crew to be able to experience worship at the same time as our on-campus crew. We’ll be worshipping at the same time as a whole community. 
  2. For those on-campus, our space will be better used and feel even more alive! Even though there will be a few more people in our building, we’ll still be maintaining our social distancing guidelines and make sure we’re gathering safely. 


We’ve been saying that we want to be agile in this season, not just flexible. Flexibility might stay in the same spot and simply bend with the wind, but being agile allows us to make the needed and best steps while we pursue the mission of Jesus! 


We’re excited to see you on Sunday at 10:00 am, whether online or on-campus. Be praying hard with us that God will continue to be working in our city, even in this season, to be advancing his kingdom.  


We love you! 

Tuesday, June 9

Hey, First Christian. 


As the elders announced at the end of our service on Sunday, we are excited to share that this Sunday, June 14, we will be re-launching our Sunday morning on-campus services. While we are looking forward to being together, we also want to be as prayerful and careful as possible so we can do it the right way, and the safe way, for all of our people and our guests. What does this mean for our First Christian family? We’ve created this page to help you have detailed information about our efforts to provide a safe on-campus worship experience for you and your family. 


In order to begin meeting on campus again, we will have a limited opening with services at 9:00 and 11:00am. These times will allow ample time in between services to clean and prepare for the next one. Our services will be offered in two venues with row and chairs arranged to practice social distancing. And as some will still wait a while to return, we will also continue our online service at its new time, 9:00am, on Facebook and YouTube. 


Here are all the details you’ll need to know: 


  • All seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • All seating will reflect social distancing – set up with every other row, keeping 3 chairs between you and the next person/family.  
  • We ask everyone to maintain six feet of social distancing as you move into and around the building and venue where you will worship.  
  • We encourage everyone to bring your own hand sanitizer. Even though we will have hand sanitizer on campus, we encourage you to bring some as well.  
  • We encourage everyone to wash or sanitize hands upon entering and after any interaction with others.  
  • Consistent with the actions taken by many individuals in our area, consider wearing cloth face coverings.  
  • We will use disposable communion only. You can pick that up on your way in. There will be no programs/Connections or offering plates passed during our services. We encourage you to use online giving and generosity boxes.  
  • Doors will open 30 minutes before the service start time. Please remain in your car until 8:30 (1st service) / 10:30 (2nd service). 



  • Use the East and West upstairs entrances only. The downstairs North entry will only be an exit and will remain locked.  
  • There will be one greeter per entrance. No handshakes, fist bumps, or hugs. 
  • Doors will be propped open so no handles are touched. 



  • We will keep areas as clear and open as possible. Seating in the lobby has been temporarily removed.  
  • Stairwells will be labeled to direct flow of people. Please observe the signs. 



  • We will start with two services with adjusted services times of 9:00 and 11:00, live in the Worship Center (gym) and live-stream in the Student Center. Services will be approximately 45 minutes in length.  
  • We will only use pre-packaged communion. 
  • Offering plates will not be passed. We encourage you to use online giving and generosity boxes.  
  • We will not have any transactional business on campus. In other words, no coffee/tea, no communion trays or offering plates. No program cards or Connections handed out or available (sign up to receive the digital Connection). Fireside Books will be closed. 
  • To ensure we are doing everything we possibly can to keep you safe, especially our young ones, we ask families to sit together. There will be no nursery, children's, or student ministries other than online for the foreseeable future. 
  • We will have a host in each service venue helping as you are getting seated. 


Early Childhood/Kids/Students 

  • No children’s programming or Student class while social distancing guidelines are still in place. Children and students will sit with parents in the service. 
  • The Family Room will not be accessible. 



  • No adult Bible school classes while social distancing guidelines are still in place.   



  • Cleaning will take place before, between, and after all services. 
  • We will wipe down all tables, chairs, door knobs/handles/crash bars, all equipment, etc.  


Coffee Station 

  • We will not have coffee and tea available. 
  • We will have bottled water. 


Water Fountains 

  • All water fountains will be shut off and tables will be placed in front of them with bottled water. 


Hand Sanitizer 

  • We will have hand sanitizer stations in several locations throughout the building. 
  • If you have any concerns, health issues or symptoms, we strongly recommend you remain at home and watch our online service at 9:00am. 



  • We will not open with all ministries, activities or even all services. For example, we will not have an 8:00 a.m. service on campus until we are able to get back to some semblance of normalcy. 
  • These service times are temporary. We hope to get back to regular service times (8:00, 9:15 and 10:45) as social distancing restrictions are discontinued. 


We are excited to be able to gather once again on campus. At the same time, we realize this experience will be very different from what we have known. We ask that you continue to show patience and agility as we navigate this new reality in the way we gather for corporate worship.  


For those who will wait a bit longer to return on campus, know that we feel this is completely understandable. We look forward to continuing to connect and worship with you online. 


If you have any questions, feel free to reach out via email ( or phone the church office (712-328-2606).  


See you Sunday – on campus or online! 

The elders and staff of First Christian 

Thursday, May 21

Looking toward gathering together soon

As we continue to navigate the best time for us to gather on campus, I am reminded that the church has not closed. We are the church, not a building, and throughout this season, the church is alive and active in our city. Thank you for loving your neighbors and our city so well. 


We look forward to being able to meet together soon. And when we are able to, we will need to adjust to a new normal. Our facility will be set up in a way so social distancing guidelines may be followed. Seating will be different. Greeting at the doors will be different. Interactions with one another will be different. And so we are making the necessary preparations to make our facility and our services as safe as possible, while also providing a quality online experience for those who choose to wait a bit longer to return. Our hope is that we will be able to begin meeting at the first part of June. When we are sure of that time, we will communicate more details with you regarding what you’ll find as you enter our space. We are grateful for your continued patience and flexibility as we wait for the right time. 


Praying Boldly

Recently the elders shared we have begun the search for a new lead pastor. As we are in this process, the elders are inviting each of us to pray along with them. Greg Pruitt writes in his book, Extreme Prayer about bold prayer with visible, measurable results. Jesus said that if you have faith, “you can tell a mountain to go jump in the sea.” Now, that’s visible!  And he writes that general prayers can actually hinder our faith by being safe, because no one can prove that the prayer was not answered. 


As so the elders are committing to praying boldly and fasting regularly for our church, for our next lead pastor, and for additional elders who will join to lead First Christian. The elders write, “Join us in praying that God would raise up men who have a heart for God, who meditate on His Word day and night, who pray without ceasing, who love the Bride of Christ and are called to serve her sacrificially, who will love our community, and whose hearts break for the lost, especially those in our city and community. Pray that God would make this man (the lead pastor) known to us in 90 days. And pray for our church, that we will be united around the mission of Jesus as we see relationships healed in a way that we can only see God at work.”


Prayer and fasting resources that you might find helpful during this season can be found in the 40 Days of Prayer guide we used earlier this year, particularly the fasting guide found on pages 186-187.


New series of messages

This Sunday we are launching a new series called, Modgnik. We’ll be taking a look at God’s Kingdom and how to understand this completely upside-down way God desires us to live in his world. Join us at 10:00am on YouTube or Facebook. And be sure to share and invite online. Let’s create a wave of invitations among people who could use an opportunity to think about God and hear from him.



We are continually grateful for the way our church family is supporting the ongoing ministry and operations of the church, whether by online giving or by mailing and dropping off checks. In addition to keeping First Christian strong, we must all look for ways to help those in need. Thank you for your ongoing support in providing meals for kids and families in our city. 

Thursday, May 7

Friday, May 1

Hello First Christian


We want you to know that following Governor Reynolds announcement about reopening steps in Iowa including churches, we are as excited as anyone to be back in our building worshipping together. We do know that there are concerns and questions along with this enthusiasm. While some of you are ready to attend as soon as possible, and others a little later for safety, some may wait until later this summer just to be sure. We share a desire to provide a safe worship experience that we know will be different from what we were used to. 


While we are not announcing an opening date yet, we want you to know we continue to meet nearly every week and are working with the staff on the details for when we reopen our campus. We will communicate through email, Facebook, and on Sunday mornings once we know more. In the meantime, please continue to join us for worship and kids programming online. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we navigate an extremely unique season. 


We are all in this together,


The elders of First Christian Church

Terry Bahl, Stan Beckner, Jamey Cline, Larry Royce, Tom Umphreys, and Mark Welch

Thursday, April 23

Friend, if you’re like me, you’re having a hard time remembering what day it is. So just to keep us all on the same page, today is Thursday! And it’s time for an email with some helpful information. Please read on…


Plans for re-opening

While we are still not able to physically gather, we are already in the process of making plans and monitoring for when we can re-open our campus. We will obviously follow the directives from our local, state, and national government officials while also looking to wise church leaders in our region who will be making the same decisions. One thing this epidemic has taught us is to be flexible. And in the days to come, we want to be a church with a culture of flexibility. Things will not look the same as they did before we stopped gathering. There will be some give and take as we are able to open our doors, perhaps in graduated steps in terms of size of gatherings and the ministry opportunities we’ll be able to re-start. So we ask for your patience as we navigate things in the coming weeks and for your flexible spirit to continue. And know, regardless, God is still working in our church and through us as we follow him and share his love in our city.


Compassion in our city

We have been given lots of opportunities to share compassion in our city during these recent days: providing food to kids and families through CBCSD and Thriving Titans, preparing and delivering sack lunches to the guests at Mohm’s Place, and sewing over 800 masks for a variety of groups in the city, to name a few. There are still plenty of ways you can be a part. Contact Heather Beekhuizen to sign up to serve meals at the ALHS or to get more information about sewing additional masks and other opportunities. 


There is an ongoing need for food and financial donations to continue with our CBCSD weekend meal program. It costs approximately $5 per child to provide a weekend meal “kit” that includes 2 breakfast items, 2 entrees, 2 fruit items, and 2 snacks for the weekend. We have had great success using financial donations to buy in bulk. This need will continue through the end of the school year. Food donations, cash, and checks can be delivered or mailed to the church: 20794 Hwy 92, Council Bluffs, IA 51503 – just make sure to put “CB WEEKEND MEALS” in the memo or envelope. Food donations for CB or Lewis Central’s Thriving Titans can be dropped off in the lobby Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from noon to 4:00 pm.


Online Gatherings

We continue to meet online and love seeing you in one of our two ‘locations.’ When you’re there, make sure to post a ‘hello’ in the comments! Last week we began a new series called The Bible Never Said That and we talked about the common saying “God helps those who help themselves.” This week we’ll continue the conversation around the phrase “Following God makes life easier.” Join us Sunday at 10:00am on Facebookand YouTube. Please invite others to join online by sharing Facebook posts and links to the service. There is greater receptivity among people who don’t follow Jesus right now. And this is a great series to invite someone to join with you.


Family Opportunities

Our kids and student teams are continuing to offer fun and engaging opportunities for you children and family. Be sure to follow the FCC Kids Facebook page for daily devotional guides for the family, stories for the little ones, and lessons throughout the week. And parents of students, be sure your middle school and high school students are joining the Wednesday evening Zoom calls with our student ministry team. Email Kolby for all the details. This pause in our normal routines has given us parents prime opportunities to disciple our kids in their walk with Jesus. Don’t let this season pass by!



We are grateful for the way our church family has continued to support and sustain the ongoing ministry and operations of the church. Thank you! The reality is that utilities and operational expenses still exist, and the very best thing you can do to help is to either 1) join those who give electronically – it’s both secure and easy to set up (here’s the link to sign-up) or 2) mail or drop off your gift by check on the same schedule you would normally give in person. Email Jeremy Damgaard if you have a question about electronic giving.


We will get through this together. And we look forward to getting to see each of you in person, hopefully very soon. The church is so much more than a Sunday gathering. That is just a part of God’s plan. And right now, the church has been sent out all across southwest Iowa as we ‘do church’ differently. I believe God has great things in store for First Christian as our routine has been disrupted. Our church may never look quite the same again. We will all need to be flexible to what God is going to do! So thank you for continuing to live and love like Jesus in your families, in your neighborhoods, at your workplaces, and in our city. Thank you for being the church!


As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you need anything. And please share any prayer needs on

Much love, 

Matt Bortmess

Executive Pastor

Thursday, April 16

We are living in “unprecedented times” and what lies ahead are “uncharted waters”. It would seem both describe life today in the midst of the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. But in the midst of all this we as Christians are called to live faithful lives, standing firm and without fear.          


Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”    

As elders we continue to fast and pray the first day of each month. We also continue to meet weekly, virtually, on Zoom.

We continually give thanks for the faithfulness of our staff team: Matt, Jon, Josh, Thomas, Kolby, Heather B, Heather Y, Tim, Angela, Sarah, Jeremy, Amanda, Jenn, Mark, and Kate. During these uncertain times they have done a remarkable job at leading worship and keeping our community connected including the 40 Days of Prayer, the Passion Week experience and Online services and teaching. Please join us in praying that God will bless and protect our staff and their families as they give their lives in service to our Gracious God and Savior Jesus Christ.

We give thanks for your faithfulness as you have offered support to First Christian, our community, and its schools. You have donated your time, supplies and money.  There are those who are sewing masks and others that are provided the materials to make them. The staff and elders have been reaching out to our community to see if they have needs or prayer requests. You are demonstrating the love of Jesus in a variety of ways!

As elders we continue to work out the needed details to begin the search for a Lead Pastor. We will announce soon when the search information will be posted on our website. We ask you to pray alongside us that God will raise up a man to lead First Christian in the next chapter of its life.

We are also working on updating our by-laws which will include updating the elder selection process. As important as the selection process is, serving as an elder is a calling from God. Pray with us that God will call men to serve sacrificially as elders.

While we know these are uncharted waters, we are reminded, “This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army (COVID-19, health, work, church needs). For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15. We also know “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5.


Stan Beckner, Terry Bahl, Jamey Cline, Larry Royce, Tom Umphreys, Mark Welch

Thursday, April 7


Due to the increased risk of spread of COVID-19, we have made the decision to adjust the First Christian office and building hours effective immediately and until further notice. The building will be open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12:00 – 4:00pm in order to receive food, supply, and monetary donations for our community relief efforts. Additionally, offering envelopes will be collected in the Generosity box located near the office door. Ministry staff will primarily work from home but remain available. You may email individual staff members or contact the office. Calls will be returned as soon as possible (712-328-2606).

Thursday, April 2

Friend, for however long we cannot gather on-campus, we plan to send regular emails to communicate vital information. Please read on…


Online Gatherings

Our lives have changed dramatically in recent days. And so has the way we gather for worship each Sunday. Last week we wrapped up our 40 Days of Prayer series. If you missed any of the messages, you can catch them on YouTube. This week, we’ll begin preparing to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Join us Sunday at 10:00am on Facebook and YouTube. Please invite others to join us online. There is greater receptivity among people who don’t follow Jesus right now. Point them toward our great God by inviting them to our online worship gathering.


Easter Week 

We have several things planned for next week that we don’t want you to miss. First, we will have a Virtual Passion Week. Each day, we will text out (or email out) daily readings that will walk us minute by minute through the last week of Jesus. You can build this into your daily Bible study routine, or maybe work through it together as a family. Sign up to receive the daily texts or email reminders at


On Good Friday, we will host a special online experience – a brief time of reflection to set our hearts and minds on the cross of Jesus. You can catch this on Facebook and YouTube on Friday evening at 7:00pm. And Easter Sunday we will celebrate Jesus together online at 10:00am. Again, this is a great time to invite your neighbors, friends, and family to our online worship gathering.


Giving and Compassion in this Season

While we are not meeting in person on campus, utilities and operational expenses still exist. The very best thing you can do to help is to either 1) join those who give electronically – it’s both secure and easy to set up (here’s the link to sign-up) or 2) mail or drop off your gift by check on the same schedule you would normally give in person. Some of you are already doing this. Again, thank you, so much. Email Jeremy Damgaard if you have a question about electronic giving.


When we speak of First Christians’s financial needs, we are not failing to realize that many individuals are already being impacted financially by what is taking place in our economy. Incomes are being reduced, while investments are shrinking. We are hopeful and prayerful that the next few weeks will hold relief and recovery, but we know this is a tough season for many. So, we encourage you to not only sustain First Christian faithfully during this time, but to do all you can to help sustain others. Many can do both of those things – and both are very important.


Our Serve team has provided several practical ways we can help during this season. The greatest need continues to be food donations (or financial donations) to support our weekend meal programs through CBCSD and Thriving Titans. Another new opportunity is sewing protective masks for the guests at Mohm’s Place. If you are able to help out or would like to know more about any of these opportunities, contact Heather Beekhuizen



It’s important that we not obsess over markets and tightening personal finances. It’s also important to intentionally focus on things that remind us that our lives have meaning and our ongoing ministry is more important than ever.

  1. I have loved hearing about students and adults meeting in groups virtually. And I have loved watching the FCC Kids team provide fun content for even our littlest ones at First Christian. 
  2. I loved seeing how so many are helping to make sure kids and families do not go without food each day through our partnership with CBCSD.
  3. I loved seeing more each week join us in one of our online environments on Facebook and YouTube. When you’re online, make sure to say hello in the comments. We’d love to know you’re there! 


Check on people… keep your sense of humor… limit the time you watch/read the news… remember that bad times have come and gone before… prioritize your spiritual and emotional health… pray for those infected by the virus… pray for the medical workers… and pray that “the curve” we’ve all heard referenced in the news will, indeed, be bent by our precautionary steps. Be extraordinary neighbors and don’t be afraid to share about the hope you have found in Jesus. 


Carefully read all emails and posts from First Christian during this season. Visit the Prayer page on for any prayer needs. And respond to this email if you need anything.


Much love, 

Matt Bortmess

Executive Pastor

Thursday, March 19

Friend, we pray you are well. I want to make sure we remain connected as much as possible during this unique and stressful season. Please, read on…


Last Sunday we could not meet in-person. And yet many of us gathered together in our living rooms on screens, tablets, and devices for First Christian’s first online church service. It was fun to still be able to come together and worship and even interact with one another through comments during the broadcast. For obvious reasons, we will worship together online-only until further notice. We will broadcast on the First Christian Facebook page as well as on YouTube at 10:00am each Sunday. Is this the way we prefer it? No. But we trust God to use these circumstances as we pray and remain faithful.


If anything, the level of activity among our staff has picked up this week. Many innovations and adjustments are underway. I’m proud of our team. Look for email communication from FCC Kids and Student Ministry for ways they are keeping our kids and students connected

FCC Student Email Sign-Up

FCC Kids Email Sign-Up


If you are already signed-up for ONLINE GIVING, thank you for leading the way and for remaining faithful while we cannot meet on-campus.

However, if you normally contribute by check or cash while on-campus, it’s crucial that you now switch to online giving. If you discontinue online giving once the virus concerns pass, that’s fine. But for now, online giving is essential to ensure First Christian remains strong. Thank you!

USE THIS LINK for a secure page where you can schedule a withdrawal from your bank account or card. 

If you aren’t comfortable using these methods, mail your check (no cash) to FCC, 20794 Hwy 92, Council Bluffs, IA 51503. You may also drop your gift by the church, in the Generosity Box near the office.


During the time we can’t meet together, we have already had unique opportunities to show love and compassion in city. This week we partnered with the Council Bluffs Community School District’s Weekend Food Program to assist families while students are out of school. Additionally we were able to open our doors to the Thriving Titans Food Pantry to serve as a temporary location as they had to move out of their Lewis Central school locations. We anticipate many other opportunities to meet needs in our community and want to invite you to join us to BE the Church in these days ahead. Sign up here to get updates about how you can volunteer to help other during this time.


If you need some type of prayer or care from our team during this season, simply reply to this email. You can also, at any time, visit

Watch our Facebook page for additional updates, resources, and encouragement. Most small groups are not meeting in person at this time, so if you’d like ideas for your group to meet virtually, contact

Some are already being impacted financially by the disruption of so many parts of our economy. So let’s be on the lookout for those to help – and let’s pray God will bless everyone with what they need. And, of course, let’s pray for anyone who has contracted coronavirus – and for everyone involved in caring for these folks. 


Take care, and see you soon (I hope and pray),

Matt Bortmess

Executive Pastor

Tuesday, March 17

First Christian,


We are helping to coordinate Council Bluffs Community School District’s Weekend Food Program while students are out of school. The churches of Council Bluffs have been asked to assemble weekend food boxes for about 650 people! We will be collecting donations of the items below from noon-10PM tomorrow (Wednesday, 3/18) at Citylight Church (2109 Railroad Hwy). We realize it is not the easiest time for many of us to get out to the store right now, but let’s do our best to be extraordinarily generous while also using appropriate caution and considering the most vulnerable in our city. 

  • fruit cups 
  • granola bars 
  • juice boxes 
  • mac and cheese 
  • pop tarts 
  • uncrustables 
  • cracker packages 
  • canned or bagged soup 
  • canned ravioli 
  • instant rice or noodle packages 

If you want to be contacted to help out with projects as we move forward, you can go to and let us know.


We know the impact of this situation will be significant, so please let us know if you need to talk to a pastor or have someone pray with you. Continue loving your neighbors well and taking the opportunity to share the hope of Jesus.

Saturday, March 14

There has been a lot of uncertainty around the coronavirus and the possible risk we face. Our leadership has made the decision to not meet for our regular Sunday gatherings tomorrow in an effort to limit any potential community spread. 

This is not an easy decision, but it is not one we made out of fear. We want to lead by being extraordinary neighbors in our city, and that includes being responsible with the large number of people that gather for worship on Sundays.

Tomorrow at 10:00 am we will host a service on our Facebook page. We would love for you to join us, whether as a family or maybe together as a Life Group. 

Above all, we will continue to communicate with love and hope, not fear or dismissal. The realities of this situation are significant and we want to live lives that point to a strong hope in Jesus. As you shop, work, talk, and engage with your family, friends, and neighbors, remember we follow a God who is able to do more than we could possibly ask or imagine. Allow them to see the hope of Jesus in your life.

Friday, March 13

This past week has been filled with fear and reactions to the spread of the coronavirus. We know this has the potential to greatly impact our community, both in physical health and economically. We are diligently watching and planning to make sure our response is appropriate as the situation is developing. We appreciate your flexibility and your patience as we navigate this complicated and difficult season.

As of now, we are still hosting services for this coming Sunday. We will plan on gathering at our normal times. However, we do want to make you aware of some of the shifts we will be making in order to create a healthier atmosphere.

1) Our facility is being cleaned proactively. We will also be cleaning our building throughout Sunday morning in order to limit the opportunity of community spread.

2) We are shifting the way we serve communion in all three services to minimize contact with others. Details will be explained in each service.

3) We will not be passing plates in our generosity moment in our services. Instead, boxes will be available at the doors or you can give online. By going to, you are able to set up recurring giving or provide a one-time gift. This digital option allows us to operate independent of any interruptions to our regular gatherings.

4) We ask that people refrain from handshakes and hugs. If you are experiencing symptoms or not feeling well, we ask that you stay home until you are back to 100%!

As we move forward, we also want to give you some information on our plans if gatherings are canceled. You can always find our most up-to-date information anytime at If we need to close our Sunday gatherings, we will offer online options that will be communicated via social media and email, as well as through

Above all, we will continue to communicate with love and hope, not fear or dismissal. The realities of this situation are significant and we want to live lives that point to a strong hope in Jesus. As you shop, work, talk, and engage with your family, friends, and neighbors, remember we follow a God who is able to do more than we could possibly ask or imagine. Allow them to see the hope of Jesus in your life.