Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020

North Way Family,

It’s Friday update time.  Here are a few things to keep us all on the same page as a church family:

  • Live Stream Services – We will continue to gather this weekend online for worship services at 5pm Saturday and 10am Sunday. Join in for part two of this Holy Spirit series.
  • Small Groups – These times we are living through are sobering to say the least. I could not imagine these times without my small group.  Continue to gather, encourage each other and pray.  Although we are separated, we do not have to be isolated.
  • Worship Night – Join in on Tuesday, March 31 at 5pm for a live stream worship night. We’ll sing and pray … together online.  Praise precedes breakthrough, just like prayer does.  This is how we fight our battles.

I continue to pray for us all in these unprecedented, trying circumstances.  Words often fail me when I am trying to make sense of these days.  One of my main prayers is that we all turn to Scripture for rest and a heavenly perspective, as well as for words of light in the middle of darkness.  God’s word is a source of life and peace for us all.

Would you join me this weekend in reading Romans 8?  Let’s focus together on living life led by the spirit as well as the future glory that we, along with all of creation, long for.  May God’s word encourage us all!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Friday, March 20, 2020

North Way Family, with the weekend at hand, here is an update to keep us all on the same page moving forward, in case you were not able to catch our live Fireside Chat (posted online).

This will be our plan moving forward for the foreseeable future.  If things shift and gathering becomes permissible, we will communicate that quickly.  In the meantime, here are some key details to how we will operate (in compliance with Governor Wolf’s directives):

  • Live Stream Services – We will live stream services on Saturdays at 5pm and also on Sundays at 10am. Visit northway.org/live for ways to connect to this.
  • Building Use – We are closing all of our locations for all scheduled events or gatherings to help flatten the curve of covid-19. Here are a few specifics:
    • Counseling center functions are moving to virtual platforms or the phone.
    • Food pantry ministry continues to serve people. Please contact a member of your campus staff if you are experiencing a food emergency.
    • Scheduled weddings should reach out directly to the officiating pastor for details.
  • Small Groups – Small group meetings (physically or digitally) have begun meeting virtually, with helpful information sent directly to leaders to help facilitate this shift.
  • Online Giving – We updated our giving platform to make this as easy as possible. We are asking everyone to shift to this platform for tithes/offerings if you have not already as gathering together in person is suspended for the foreseeable future.

Yesterday, when gathered with my small group online, someone shared this verse that I believe is a great truth to keep in mind for all of us as we navigate these circumstances that truly are unprecedented.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13

This is my prayer … that the Holy Spirit may fill us all with hope, joy and peace, despite all that we face.  God’s story is bigger than this moment.  In uncertain times like these, we can trust the unchanging character of God.  Breakthrough is coming.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday, March 13, 2020

Hey North Way Family, as promised, here is our Friday update of decisions related to our schedule of events, gatherings and services for all locations.   First, here is some background.

Make no mistake, our world is in the midst of a crisis, the proportions of which I am not an expert to determine.  When we face moments like this, sometimes we have to break or change from our routines in order to best respond to the situation at hand.

That said, I am reminded, guided by and convinced of the eternal hope we share in Jesus.  I know God has given us a spirit of love, of power and of self-control and not a spirit of fear.  I know and sense a peace that surpasses all understanding because God is before, in the middle of and at the end of this situation we face.

It is out of that spirit and sense of peace, that we as a Directional Leadership Team, along with our Elder’s Council, have come to a spirit led decision to not gather physically this weekend at any of our campus locations.  Here are some additional details:

  • Live Stream Services – We will be live streaming a service on Saturday at 5pm and also on Sunday at 10 am. These services will include worship led by many of our campus worship directors, a specific sermon from me about our response to the situation at hand, and a special moment of prayer at the close of our service.  You will not want to miss this.  Join us at www.northway.org/live.
  • Building Use – We are closing all of our locations for all events for the week of March 14-21 in order to thoroughly deep clean our facilities. The only exception to this weeklong building closure is for three things:
    • Counseling center functions
    • Food pantry ministry
    • Scheduled weddings
  • Small Groups – Small group meetings (physically or digitally) are at the discerning discretion of groups and leaders. Please be on the lookout for ministry specific communication from your leaders.

Please know, as of today we are working on a week to week basis in terms of decisions regarding North Way’s schedule and buildings.  The situation at hand is unprecedented and is rapidly changing, new territory for us all.  In order to make decisions with the most amount of information and to be as prayerful as possible, we will continue to communicate on Fridays about the following week’s schedule at our campuses.

Now, I know that for some of us this is going to be viewed as the right decision.  Others will see it differently.  I understand that.  And I’m sure the big question is about the why behind this decision.

After much prayer and discussion at our leadership tables, we feel that moving online is the best way to care for and shepherd the thousands of people who call North way home, as well as the many more thousands of people who live, work and play in the communities surrounding our locations.  Additionally, in accordance with our governing authorities’ recommendations for large gatherings of people, moving online is something we can do to help flatten the curve of coronavirus and at the same time be For Pittsburgh.

If you really consider it, the good news is that as a church, North Way is not a building.  We are a people.  And while we may not be gathering this weekend in our usual locations, we can still unite together online at our two live stream services – at 5 pm on Saturday and 10 am on Sunday.

For all other details and questions, please continue to check our website or reach out to your ministry leaders.

We’ll See you this weekend online.  May God continue grant us all hope, healing and peace in the middle of this storm.  Keep praying … breakthrough is coming.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Thursday, March 12, 2020

North Way Family,

We are continuing to monitor the rapidly developing COVID-19 outbreak, commonly known as coronavirus, and are committed to keeping our entire North Way community informed.  Please know that we are basing all of our decisions on several things: prayer, the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and public health/government officials, in addition to lengthy discussion with our directional leadership team.

As the situation unfolds, here are two things we want everyone to be informed on:

  • First, we must choose to keep trusting God. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 13), reminded his audience that faith, hope, and love are eternal characteristics of life in Jesus.  This means that in all situations, including the one we face today, our lives are to be marked by faith rather than fear, hope rather than despair, and love rather than hate.  Our hope in Jesus is eternal and it is unshakable.  Let us continue to be wise and discerning, while also placing our faith, hope, and trust in Jesus more than anything else in this world.
  • Second, we are committed to communicating well. Fridays by 2pm is our decision and communication timeline for the next week’s schedule of services/gatherings/events.  This timeframe allows us to make a well-informed decision in a timely fashion.  Please check your email and our website (northway.org/coronavirus/) on Fridays for the most up to date information regarding North Way’s calendar.  If circumstances shift, we will communicate even sooner.

Please join me in praying as we all navigate these days.  And continue to pray for those afflicted, those searching for cures, as well as those leading and caring for people.  May God grant us healing, peace and wisdom.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Friday, March 6, 2020

With the increasing developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to take a moment to communicate with our North Way family.  At the time of this writing, the ultimate trajectory of the virus is not fully known, but we recognize that this is potentially a very serious situation. As such, we are closely monitoring the evolving conditions through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and remaining proactive in our planning.

As for our current response to the situation, we must remember that our posture must first be rooted in our identity as followers of Jesus. We are called to pray not panic. Read Ephesians 6 and be reminded that we are to strengthen ourselves in the Lord’s strength, to wear His armor and to pray continually.  Join me in praying for those affected by the virus, those bringing medical aid to the afflicted, those researching for a cure, and those stricken by fear.

In addition to this posture, we are also called to be wise and to prepare. As a church we are taking precautions to combat the spread of all viruses, especially the coronavirus. This includes positioning additional antibacterial stations at each campus, stocking up on cleaning supplies (soap, paper towels, etc.) and increasing the cleaning schedule in our Kids Ministry area. Additionally, we will not be doing any “turn and greet” moments in our services and will, for the foreseeable future, instruct our Greeters and Ushers to forego handshakes at the door as a precautionary measure.

As this situation continues to unfold here are a few best practices for us all to follow:

  • Get your news from the CDC and official local, state, and federal agencies rather than social media or word of mouth.
  • If you or anyone in your house is sick, please stay home from church and then let your campus team know so they can reach out to and pray for you. Please do not take a chance on this.
  • Keep monitoring North Way’s website and social media platforms for updates regarding specific events or gatherings should we need to shift schedules or cancel.

In times like these I hold fast to the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Please join me in praying for breakthrough.


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