Sunday, March 15, 2020

Update from the Elders Regarding COVID-19

Dear Northside Family,

On Sunday, March 15th, a leadership team consisting of elders, chairman of deacons, staff, and several ministry heads gathered to discuss what ministry at Northside Baptist will look like during this temporary suspension of our gatherings. It is important to reiterate that this suspension is just that – temporary. Although it will look different than what we are used to, the ministry of Northside will not cease during this time. We will continue our proclamation of the Word, our ministry to one another, and our outreach into our community.

“...the ministry of Northside will not cease during this time”

Please know that the elders and ministry staff did not make these decisions lightly and without prayer. It is our belief that we are facing a public health crisis and it is necessary for all levels of society to do their part. Many things that our culture holds dear – wealth, recreation, education – have been postponed until the threat has passed. As the church of Jesus Christ, we are facing an opportunity to demonstrate our love for each other and for our neighbors by forgoing our normal patterns of worship for a time. This is a time for us to lean into your brothers and sisters. Call each other often to share burdens and prayer requests. Write each other encouraging emails. We are confident that, once the immediate threat has lifted, we will gather together in-person to shake hands, exchange hugs, and worship together in one place.

In the meantime, our priority is ensuring that you have an opportunity to hear the Word of God proclaimed to you on a regular basis. The pastoral staff is exploring creative ways to do that during these next few weeks. We will release those plans in the coming days.

In lieu of weekly gatherings, the elders encourage the entire Northside family to participate in a church wide reading through the gospel of John. Starting on Monday, March 16th, we encourage you to read one chapter a day from John and pray through a corresponding Psalm. We will be providing a resource guide to help the congregation walk through this together.

Another priority is ensuring that you are able to find encouragement from the people of God as much as possible. As we have said, while we discourage large group meetings, we wholeheartedly encourage you to call and pray with and for each other.

Temporary Ministry Overview

All on-campus gathering is suspended until at least April 5th. This includes, but not limited to: Sunday worship gathering, Sunday School gathering, Wednesday night prayer gathering and AWANA, all gatherings and activities during the week (Men’s Prayer Breakfast, Bible studies, events, etc…). This includes the Easter Egg Hunt which was scheduled for April 4th.

The one exception to this rule for Northside ministries is Covenant Foods, which will modify its operations to safely serve a community in need. Scott Long and Vivian Noggle, along with the CF Leadership Team, are working out a plan to use a smaller pool of volunteers and pass out food drive thru style. The whole congregation at Northside is encouraged to seek creative ways to support this mercy ministry during this time.

At this time, we are tentatively planning on April 5th as being the first day we gather together again. However, we also understand that this could change in this rapidly evolving situation. We will be constantly evaluating our next steps and encourage you to stay up to date with the latest details by visiting the website and our Facebook page.

A word about how we’ve made our decision

We live in the age of information. The knowledge of the experts and the opinions of the pundits are at our fingertips. Although we are grateful for the opportunity to study and formulate our individual opinions, as church leadership team we have decided to limit the source of our information to vetted and trustworthy medical authorities. As such, we will continue to base all future decisions on information provided to us by the Center for Disease Control, the Indiana State Department of Health, Governor Holcomb’s office, and Mayor Hogsett’s office. As much as possible, we will seek to comply with the recommendations of these entities. We encourage you to stay up to date with their recommendations, especially those on good hygiene and social distancing.

Please continue to pray for our church and our community during this time. We are confident that God is using this to glorify his name in the earth by drawing men and women to himself.

In Christ,

Your elders

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