Dear Northway Church —
We are continuing to monitor events around the COVID-19 crisis and want to keep you updated on the latest ministry plans of Northway. As you are likely aware, on Monday, April 20, Governor Brian Kemp announced a plan to reopen our state. Included in this plan was an allowance for churches to gather in worship. However, he requested that social distancing practices be implemented in these gatherings. Furthermore, on a call with pastors across our state, the governor suggested using great caution and to keep any gatherings as small as possible.
After discussions with several other pastors and medical professions, our leadership team has determined that resuming on-campus worship services is not the prudent step for Northway at this time. While we strongly desire to gather, we don’t want to put the health of our attenders or community at risk.
• We will continue to meet online until further notice. However, in addition to our Facebook Live worship experience, there will be an online streaming option from our website. Many of us experienced technical issues with Facebook this previous Sunday, and so we have quickly moved to offer this additional option. Please see the Northway News for more details.
• The church office will remain closed until further notice. While businesses are beginning to reopen, we have a number of employees who rely on our extended day childcare. While our childcare remains closed, it presents a real challenge for these employees to work from our offices. Additionally, we have employees who have at-risk individuals in their lives and need to avoid all possible contact with public places. Again, as the situation evolves and we are able to make informed decisions, we will be sure to communicate these with you. See the Northway News on how you may contact your staff for any needs you may have.
• Cathedral Coffee’s drive-thru is continuing to operate from 7AM – 2:30PM, Monday-Friday. However, our outdoor patio is open and we are currently exploring the feasibility of reopening our dining room. Please go to their Facebook Page for the latest information on their hours and ways they are doing ministry during this time.
• Home Teams will likely meet before we all gather for worship. As of this writing, no decisions have been made regarding groups physically meeting together again. However, we expect that as restrictions begin to lift, we will encourage those who are comfortable with meeting to begin doing so. Many of our groups have been meeting through video chat room sites such as Zoom and Google Hangout and will continue to do so during this time.
• All other church activities and on-campus group meetings remain cancelled until further notice. Again, we will continue to update you as this situation develops.
During this unprecedented health crisis, our strong desire is to continue — as much as possible — to be the church for one another and our community. To that end, we are making a number of resources available for you and your family. In this week’s Northway News, you will see information on how you can use Northway’s Right Now Media account for Bible studies, sermons, and even movies with a message about faith. Our Next Generation Team will be providing parents with curriculum resources for home Sunday School lessons and Bible studies. We are placing our Sunday worship Message Map on the You Version Bible App for you to be able to take notes and save the information during our livestreams. We are looking at other creative, virtual ways to help you grow spiritually during this time and keep you connected with your church family.
For many of you reading these words, the current situation of our nation is a great opportunity for you and your family. If you have been lacking margin in your life, perhaps this will be a time for you to slow down and spend more quality time with the Lord and with your spouse and children. I would encourage you to not waste this time. Play games together. Read that book you’ve been putting off. Watch a Bible study together. Find ways to connect with the hearts of your children and your spouse.
Finally, I would like to encourage you during these uncertain times to not succumb to the spirit of fear. Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 1:7 that the Lord has given us “a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control” (ESV). While the situation around us is ever-changing, we serve a God who “does not change like the shifting shadows” (James 1:17, NIV). Moreover, while these are difficult times, as children of God, we can know that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).
My pledge is to keep you informed as more information becomes available. Please keep Northway Church, our community, and our nation in your prayers as we face these challenging days together.