Knowing the statistics about the dramatic decline in worship attendance among Christians in the past decade, I hesitated to write this article. Christ-followers in our nation are failing miserably in making corporate worship a priority. Even among committed, evangelical Christians, church attendance has become an optional, “only-if-there-are-no-other-plans” activity. We desperately need to heed the instructions of Hebrews 10:25 as we have becoming far too complacent in our obligation to meet together. Under normal circumstances, I would never say or write anything to our church members encouraging them to skip Sunday worship.

However, these aren’t normal times. The spread of the coronavirus into our nation and our state (as of this writing, thankfully, not into the Middle Georgia area), has created the need for all of us to rethink our schedules and activities, including our participation in corporate worship.

Therefore, I’m asking you to skip church this Sunday if:

• You know that you have been exposed to a person with the coronavirus.

• You have recently traveled to a CDC Level 2 or 3 country (China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Hong Kong, or Japan).

• You have recently traveled to areas in the United States where numerous cases have been reported.

• You or your family members are experiencing or have recently experienced symptoms associated with the flu or the common cold (fever, persistent cough, headache, chills, or unexplained rash).

If any of these apply to you, we would ask you to stay home from church for a couple of Sundays and watch our worship services on Facebook Live.

Additionally, please know that our staff and volunteers are working hard to disinfect all areas on a regular basis, as well as diligently following hand-washing procedures and instructing all children to wash hands before eating and after using the restroom. In all of our areas, Northway is taking extra precautions around cleanliness and sanitation.

If you are able to attend worship on Sunday, you can help us by:

Not shaking hands. Normally, our parking lot attenders, greeters, and ushers are quick to offer handshakes and hugs. In our current environment, please feel free to simply wave at one another. No one will consider you to be unfriendly.

Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer as often as possible.

Being aware of your own health situation. Again, if for any reason you think you might have come in contact with someone who is ill, please refrain from attending worship.

We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to give updates as the situation changes. We want to be proactive and safe, but do not want to operate out of a sense of fear.

Thank you for your assistance in helping us keep everyone as healthy as possible!

Your Pastor,