Coronavirus – Plans and Precautions

Good morning friends,

I know many of you are wondering what is happening at North Church in light of COVID-19 (or Coronavirus). We, your elders, have been seeking wise counsel, praying, and trusting the Lord to guide us as we respond to the presence of this virus in New Mexico.

For some of you, the precautions we are taking will seem excessive. Please hear that our hearts are to love our neighbors as ourselves as Jesus commands us to (Matt 22:39). This command has been our guide as we have had to make difficult decisions over the last few days while the situation has evolved in New Mexico.

We ask you to show grace both towards the elders and leaders of the church and towards one another as we respond as a community of faith to this virus.

Before I talk about the precautions we are taking, I want to encourage you from the Word of God:

I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you." -- Isaiah 41:13

Scripture is littered with the reminder that the Lord God reigns and rules, is in control, even of the Coronavirus, and that we, his people, are to take comfort in the knowledge that our God loves us and did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all. He holds us near to him in our fear, anxiety, and concern, reminding us not to fear but to trust him.

It is in this truth that we stand, desiring to act wisely and lovingly towards one another and our neighbors by taking recommended common-sense steps to limit the spread of the virus.
Here are the precautions that North Church will be making for this coming week.

After reviewing the recommendations of the CDC and local governmental agencies regarding public gatherings, we are honoring the biblical mandate of Romans 13:1 to do our part to limit the potential spread of the virus by canceling services for this Sunday, March 15th.

  • Instead of gathering at the church building we are going to record an abbreviated service for you to use for worship in your homes.

    • We encourage you to use this service in the following ways:
      • Gather with your Community Group in someone’s home
      • Invite some friends or neighbors around for the service
      • Enjoy the opportunity to practice church like it was done in the good ol’ days of 33 AD (Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32-37)
  • On the webpage where the service can be viewed or downloaded, there will also be resources for children you can download to lead the children in your Community Group or family through.
  • The elders will gather Sunday morning to pray for you, our church, those suffering, and for an end to this virus.
  • As soon as we have a link for the service recording I will send it out through all of our communication channels (e-mail, CCB, social media)
  • All mid-week activities this coming week are also canceled (Men’s and Women’s ministry, Icon student ministry). The leaders of these ministries will be reaching out with contingency plans in the next few days.
  • In the coming days and weeks, there may be ways that North Church will be engaging in serving those who are most affected by the disruptions this virus has caused. If you are able please be ready to serve our community at this time.

If you are sick, or believe you might be getting sick, I strongly encourage you to stay home and not meet with your Community Group. I also strongly encourage those of you who are immunocompromised, elderly, or have very young children, to stay home and just enjoy the recorded service this Sunday. If you happen to fall into any of these categories, please contact Pastor Jay (j.kennedy@northchurchabq.com). We would love to do a home visitation with you to serve you, care for you, and encourage you.

If you are exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, please let Pastor Jay know immediately (j.kennedy@northchurchabq.com).

In closing, I want to exhort you all to prayer. Seek the Lord on behalf of the afflicted and sick, go before our loving and gracious God in trust that he hears our prayers and his hand is not too short to bring an end to this virus. Let us trust him to be an ever-present help in trouble and near to the brokenhearted who have lost loved ones to this virus.

One of the most disruptive and significant statements ever lived out by the church throughout history is, "Kurios Christos" which simply means "Christ is Lord." Christ is Lord over tyrannical empires, natural disasters, suffering, economic collapses, and, yes, even pandemics.
As such, we, his people, can stand firm in him, treasuring the Gospel together, sharing the hope we have in Jesus with those who do not know him and those who are in fear. This current situation gives us a great opportunity to declare Christ is Lord in word and deed to many who do not know him.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul.” – Horatio Spafford

Thank you friends,

Pastor Ryan
on behalf of the elders of North Church