If you were able to watch our worship service on this previous Sunday, you know that my message was filmed a couple of months ago in the ancient city of Corinth. In December of 2019 I mapped out this series on the book of I Corinthians. I planned for Sunday, April 19 to be an “on location” message highlighting the significance of the city where Paul lived for a year and a half, started a church, and the place where he sent two letters we have in our New Testament. This particular message took hours of research. In December and early January, I read everything I could on the history of Corinth and the culture of the city in Paul’s day. When we arrived in Corinth, we spent a day scouting out the various ruins, the museum, and the Acrocorinth, the hill above the city. The next day, we met our tour guide and spent two days with him, taking copious notes and asking lots of questions. I typically spent several hours in my hotel room each evening rewriting the script for the video; reorganizing the material based upon the various sites we’d visited and any new information our guide had shared with us that day. I spent, minimally, 100 hours on that particular video in both the research and actual filming. Additionally, our Director of Technology, David Wall, worked for countless hours on filming and editing the video. I’ve not asked him for an estimation on how much time he spent on Sunday’s video, but I’m sure it equalled the time I spent. A conservative guess is that 200 hours of labor was spent on preparing the message for Sunday.
Then it failed.
I sat in our family room this past Sunday and watched the video on our television buffer, play for a few seconds, pause, buffer again, play another second or two, then pause again. These interruptions continued until eventually the live feed just died. It really didn’t matter, though. Most people, including my own family members, had already lost interest. It was just too difficult to watch with the continuous buffering. I felt like I was the only one still hanging on, like the lone Braves fan still in the stadium when they are down by 10 runs in the bottom of the ninth. Beyond logic, I was hoping that Facebook would magically repair the stream and somehow the message would be redeemed. I guess I’m either the eternal optimist or the consummate fool.
You can imagine the frustration David and I were experiencing. Around 11:30AM, we had a text exchange which included a lot of emotional venting. As well, we determined that — during the time of not meeting on campus for worship — our services will be streamed on our website as well as shown on Facebook Live. If you are having any technical issues on a Sunday morning, you may simply go to our sermons page and watch the service there. While I generally prefer the Facebook Live option because of the ability for you to participate in, like, and comment on the post, the technical issues made it a less-than-worshipful experience on Sunday. I hope this option works for you during this time of being unable to gather physically for worship.
I know that many of you are experiencing similar frustrations in your jobs and other areas of life. It’s incredibly difficult when you can’t plan beyond the next few days or couple of weeks. In the ministry world, I’ve heard the term “pivot” more than ever before. You make plans; however, you prepare to pivot to another plan when new information becomes available. For the last six weeks, we’ve been in this pivot mode, attempting to plan future ministry while holding very loosely to those plans.
On Monday of this week, Governor Kemp announced plans to reopen certain businesses and to allow churches to gather for worship. However, as of this writing, the details aren’t exactly clear. There appear to still be enough limitations in place to make it impractical for us to meet on campus for worship right now. Our leadership is continuing to process any new information as it becomes available and discussing the next best steps for Northway. We promise to keep you updated on any future (held loosely) plans.
Finally, I’d like to update you on a couple of church business matters. On Good Friday, April 10, our church met together for a business meeting over Zoom. The motion presented by the Lead Ministry Team at this meeting was to approve our church applying for a loan through the Payroll Protection Program. This motion passed unanimously. As of this writing, our application is in process with Truist bank.
Secondly, you likely have heard by now that our roof and steeple were damaged by the tornado that traveled down Zebulon Road early on the Monday morning after Easter. We’ve had our roof temporarily patched and are waiting on an engineer and estimator to evaluate the extent of the damage. Hopefully we will have more information available soon.
I hope you and your family are doing well (and are not too frustrated!) during this time. If there is anything you need, please feel free to reach out to our church staff, our deacons, or your Home Team leader. During this time, we certainly need one another! Stay well and I look forward to seeing you soon!