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Update

Northshore Community Church

Hey Northshore Family, 

 

As our country begins the process of re-opening—and as opinions and passions swirl about the best way to do that—I want to share a few words about our process of resuming ministry on our church campus again.

 

Let me start off by saying that no one is more excited about that day than I am! As I was picking up our son, Jude, from his crib this morning, it dawned on me that he has still never been to church at the church. Someone on our staff recently said, “I’m just dying to hold that little guy.” Well, Nina and I are dying for someone else to hold him as well! In all seriousness though, I truly miss seeing you and while I’m so thankful for the ways we’ve stayed connected through this crisis, I’m so excited about being together in person as soon as possible.

 

So, here’s where we stand today. Our board of overseers and staff have been in constant prayer and dialogue about how and when we can resume ministry on campus. We remain committed to honoring the guidelines and restrictions given by government and health officials—though this has become even more complicated now that we’re hearing conflicting messages between the state and federal level. I’ve also been talking weekly with a group of pastors from large churches around the country about the myriad of factors that are involved in bringing hundreds of people of all ages back into the same buildings to worship together, learn together, and be together. As you can imagine, all this has kept me on my knees in prayer a lot. And I hope it has challenged you to do the same. 

 

As of today, I cannot give you an exact date for when we will be back on campus or tell you exactly what it will look like when we are. But I can tell you the four core values that will inform our process as we move forward. 

 

First, Northshore has never actually been closed. We’ve been doing more ministry and reaching more people than ever before. People are coming to know Jesus for the first time. Alpha and Starting Point are thriving. New Life Groups are forming. Student and kids ministries are moving forward, and over the last three months, we’ve given over $150,000 to help people who are in need because of this crisis! So regardless of how long this season lasts, we are not just still open—God is still moving. I’m so proud of the faith and generosity you have already shown in this season, Northshore. Thank you! 

 

Second, we want to resume ministry only when we can do so effectively for those who are growing in faith and for those who might be exploring faith. If you call Northshore home or have ever attended one of our services, then you know that how we do ministry is not really conducive to social distancing. While we can make certain adjustments around classroom size or chair distances, we don’t want to invite people on campus until the majority of our community feels safe and excited to do so. 

 

Third, we want to improve, not damage, our relationship with our neighborsand our witness to the surrounding community. One of our core values is that we are here for those who are not here. To resume too soon could send a message to our unchurched neighbors that we don’t care about the needs or safety of our community. We also risk creating a bad experience for first-time guests if we restart too soon and are unable to provide that amazing Northshore hospitality that makes our church campus feel like coming home. We know we can’t make everyone happy, but we want to consider our witness to the community and not just our right to come together. 

 

Fourth and finally, regardless of how and when we resume ministry on campus, we want to come back together in a spirit of grace and unity. As we take steps to restart ministry, it will be tempting to critique the timing or the process. I certainly can’t promise that we will proceed perfectly, but I can promise that we will do so prayerfully. I ask now for your patience and grace along the way. And remember, regardless of what you believe our country should or shouldn’t be doing, here at Northshore, we are committed to keeping Jesus at the center of all we say and do. And Jesus is not calling us to be divided or speak divisively about how to move forward. He calls us to be one body, under one Lord, expressing one hope in the one true gospel. Let’s make sure our world keeps hearing that message as we strive to navigate these complicated days together.

 

One of the lessons I’m learning as a leader is that, in a crisis, things change almost every day. Going forward, we will be nimble and flexible in our planning, ready to change the plan if the plan needs to change. And we will keep you informed as we determine our next steps and how you can help. In the meantime, our staff team is planning some much-needed moments of fun for our church family as well as new opportunities to serve and donate goods. So be on the lookout for those. 

 

If you have any questions or concerns, we’d love to hear from you, just send us an email or give the church office a call. 

 

Northshore, I am just so honored and humbled to be part of this church. Your prayers, your support, your generosity, your compassion, your love for your neighbors, your heart for those in need has been a light in a dark time and a testimony that God is still in the life-changing business. Way to go and keep it up. 

 

I love you, I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you soon!

 

Scotty

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