As we’ve all seen, the pace of change related to the coronavirus has been difficult to keep up with. And as you know, earlier in the week, we had made the decision to continue meeting at our regularly scheduled service time. However, as we continued listening to the best advice possible, we have now determined to suspend our weekend services.
Our decision is not made out of fear or panic, but rather as a decision to follow the command of Jesus to love our neighbor. Social distancing seems to be the only thing that has a chance of keeping the outbreak in our community from turning into what has happened in other parts of the world. Therefore, we’re not making our decision in isolation as to the best thing just for Northway. This is for The Woodlands and Houston and beyond. It’s for our neighbors. We understand that we are under the 250 person mark that has been the Montgomery County recommended limit for gatherings. But many others in the medical community have suggested that 50 or even 25 is an even better number.
As we said earlier, we are in this together! I have no doubt that we will come out stronger than ever on the other side of this. We are not sure how long this decision will stay in place. Minimally for two Sundays, but we will continue to monitor the almost hourly developments and keep you well informed. In the meantime, here are the action steps we are taking and the things you can do:
- I’ll still be preaching on Sundays! You will be seeing a special link at both NWC.FYI and NorthwayChurch.org that will take you to our brand new online church website. The “doors” to the website will open at 10:15 in the morning and our broadcast will begin at 10:30. We invite everyone to join us together from the comfort of your own living room.
- You’ll be able to “chat” there with each other, offer up a hearty “Amen!” while I’m preaching, and we will even have prayer warriors available to pray directly with you. I encourage you to especially greet everyone in the chat section as soon as you arrive, just like you would when you come through the doors at Northway.
- Also, you’ll see additional “tabs” that will have an interactive online bible and even some provided sermon notes. That’s where you’ll also find the link to the Sermon Discussion Guide.
- Unfortunately, we will not have live music. We’re not quite set up for that just yet. However, we will be providing playlists at Spotify and Apple Music of the music we would be singing in church if we were together. We encourage you to listen to that at a time that’s convenient.
- We are going to leave Small Group and D Group meetings up to each group. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If you choose to meet:
- Don’t huddle together, and eliminate high touch activity. (Hugs, handshakes, etc.)
- 6 feet apart is the general rule we’re seeing.
- Skip meals.
- As mentioned, we will still provide the sermon-based discussion guide. You’ll be able to download it during the Online Church service or at NWC.FYI.
- If you choose not to meet face to face, consider still having a weekly designated time and use Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or another video conferencing solution.
- If none of that works, at least call one another just to check in! Do your best to stay connected in whatever way you can. Best we can tell, coronavirus doesn’t travel over wifi or phone lines!
- If you choose to meet:
- Obviously, many of our ongoing ministry expenses and missions obligations continue even if we’re not gathering together. We don’t plan to slow down on our 2020 Vision construction and renovation projects either. While we know that God will supply all of our needs according to His riches, we’re also believing that all of you will continue to be faithful, just as you always have! You’ll find links for online giving at NWC.FYI, NorthwayChurch.org, and the new Online Church website. (Here’s the LINK if you want to check it out now.) If you haven’t used online giving yet, we think you will find it to be a very simple and smooth process. You’ll even have the option to set up a recurring contribution so you can set it up once and not risk forgetting later. A few people also mail their contributions weekly. Our team will be at the church semi-regularly and will be able to take care of that. (8200 Northway Dr. | The Woodlands, TX | 77382)
- As of right now, we’re leaving our upcoming big events on the calendar, but depending on how long this goes, we may have to cancel/postpone those as well.
- S.O.S. has been cancelled by Interfaith.
- Use any downtime you have during this season of Lent to use the prayer and fasting guides. (Download that HERE) Next week we had recommended fasting from social media and the internet. Wow. What a challenge that will be!! Do what you feel led, but don’t let the noise and distractions keep you from this Season of Surrender. If anything, let it be reason to go deeper!
- Lastly, please know that Northway is here to serve and Make a Difference. We encourage you to get creative: check in on your neighbors, go buy gift cards at local restaurants (they’re going to really be hurting), and look for volunteer opportunities. And please contact Lizzy at 251-751-2927 if you know of anything that we might can do to provide prayer, care or supplies to anyone in need.
We love you Northway! No space between us can loosen the bond we have together in Christ Jesus our Lord! We will come out stronger on the other side! Deacon Mike reminded us this week that even the Israelites were quarantined by God for the first Passover. We know how God delivered them! Our hope is built on Christ. We do not have the spirit of fear, but sound judgement, His power, and His love!
I’m praying for all of you and your families. Go with God. Go Make a Difference!
See you Sunday for Online Church!