Hello NCC Family!
What are we doing and how are we making decisions about coming back together...especially in light of the President's comments on May 22nd concerning churches opening their doors. Please read the all-church letter below:
I'm writing to you all in regard to President Trump's statement about churches being essential and demanding that they be allowed to open for regular gatherings. As an eldership team, we are evaluating the guidelines and safety measures that are recommended by the White House to make sure that opening up is safe for all.
However, as much as we pray, honor and respect the state and national government, we have never needed them to deem us essential. I'm super excited about our new series that starts this Sunday, Better Than Normal. We will be walking through the book of Acts and observing the Kingdom of God that expanded without the invitation or permission of earthly kingdoms. We have so much to learn from this early move of God!
So, should we gather or not gather on Sundays? We, the eldership team are working through the following questions:
What is God saying? (Yes, of course He's saying to keep gathering (Hebrews 10:25), but how we keep gathering is the question?)
Can we safely do kids ministry? If we can't, what does a gathering look like? Do kids join the adults?
How do we lead a church in which people will want to wear masks and others will not want to wear masks? (From what we've heard so far, this is very much the case. Unity is key! We cannot let this divide the church!)
Should we space out in the auditorium? If so, how many people can we safely fit in there? And, how can we graciously turn people away when we have reached capacity?
And of course, can we still have donuts and coffee!?! (kidding, not a primary question)
I, Bo, am currently working with other church leaders in Tacoma (Resurrection Church, Anchor Church, Life Center Church, to name a few) as well as other church leaders in our family of churches (Confluence Churches) to be unified in our best practices.
I am eager to gather with you all soon, but I am also eager to hear the voice of our Good Shepherd in this season.
One thing we can say, we are not prepared to gather this Sunday (May 24th), so we hope you continue to join us online as we seek God and pursue Better Than Normal. A return to normal is never the best option for the church. Our Good Father is always drawing us closer to Him and empowering us for His mission to restore all things to Himself.
I know this has been very difficult for so many! We continue to pray for you all as you wait on the LORD for strength and wisdom.
In the meantime, we declare with the saints of old, the saints today, and the saints to come, "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again!"
With so much love!
Bo and the Eldership Team
We can’t wait to see all of you face-to-face again! We have very much missed our times in corporate worship. However, it’s worth noting that NCC is NOT closed. Jesus builds His church, and nothing – not COVID-19, nor the gates of hell – will prevail against it. The Church is open and on the move!
We continue to love each other, serve those outside of the church, financially contribute to church plants in San Francisco and Gig Harbor, we've been able to financially contribute to Olive Crest (foster care), and send out encouragement on a regular basis.
Recently, Governor Jay Inslee announced a four-phase plan to re-open the state of Washington and we wanted to inform you of our plans to reintroduce live gatherings at the NCC building. As eager as we are to be back together for worship, we want to continue to show concern for those who are vulnerable and appropriately cautious. We are certainly listening to guidelines provided by federal and state health officials, but please know that we are also taking cues from Jesus who laid down his life for the good of others.
You will find a graphic attached explaining how each phase will affect how we gather as a church family. Please know that we are ONE CHURCH. As we take ‘next steps’ we are asking that you would use wisdom and discretion on whether or not the next step is appropriate for you. If it’s better for you to stay home and gather online, that’s wonderful. If you are able to join us at the building, that’s wonderful as well. We want to do all we can to avoid splintering and division in the church. We are ONE CHURCH.
WHEN WILL IN-PERSON GATHERINGS RESUME?
As soon as it is reasonable and wise. While we expect our phased approach to open to line up with the phases that have been laid out by the government, everything hinges on the health of our community and the CDC’s recommendations. We want to be more cautious about how we reopen due to the size of our gatherings.
WILL REGULAR ACTIVITIES LOOK DIFFERENT?
While we expect our in-person gatherings to feel more “normal” when we reach Phase Four, like the rest of society, we expect that the way we interact with each other may look a little different for a while. We’re going to continue to modify the parts of our gatherings that required physical contact before (such as coffee and donuts, the meet and greet, and communion), and we’re doing everything we can to keep our facilities clean and safe.
Even if you see more face masks (and a lot more hand sanitizer), when we gather together again in-person, we hope it will feel like coming home.
We want to thank you for leaning into NCC, and more importantly, into Jesus during this season. By the grace of God and the power of His Holy Spirit, we will come through this stronger and more effective at loving each other and serving this county!
We know this will generate a lot of questions, and we would love to answer any that you may have. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or use our CONTACT PAGE.
With so much love,
The Eldership Team