New Update: 24th March, 2020
Dear Church family,
I am writing to inform you of added changes to the church ministries in light of the government directives that were introduced Monday.
We will no longer be able to allow people to attend church services and ministries here onsite for the foreseeable future. This is very unfortunate, but it is our civic duty and responsibility to follow these new federal government directives. It is also the loving response that is required of us as Christians. We certainly don’t want to put anyone at any unnecessary risk of either becoming sick or passing on any infection to those we may come in contact with.
Our aim, as said in my previous email, is to love God and love others. I am certainly not comfortable with the fact that we are having to give up the regular gatherings of God’s people for our times of corporate worship and other events on the church premises. However, authorities are telling us that there is significant risk of this virus continuing to spread and we need to play our part in trying to restrict this.
For the present time, we will continue to livestream our services on a Sunday morning at 9.00am. We will have songs of worship to sing, we will have a time of prayer, we will hear the Word of God preached and we will set aside a regular time (possibly monthly) to remember the Lord’s Supper, even though no elements will be distributed. Over time we hope to provide further resources and materials that may be helpful as you worship God together in your homes.
Can I please also encourage you to be faithful in your giving, especially during this time, so that we, as a church, can continue to meet our financial responsibilities? Yes, we are in a reasonably healthy financial position currently (praise God), but it won’t take long for that to disappear if the weekly giving drops substantially. We support a number of missionaries and we still have the various bills to pay and upkeep of the property to consider. You can give via direct debit or online via our website. You can also give via the ‘Tithely’ app. Details for these are on our church website.
As a leadership, we want to encourage each of you to maintain connections with others across our church family and adherents, whether that be by phone, email, social media, or other online platforms. Our Connect groups will be an important ministry as we navigate the days and weeks ahead. We also have several people who have volunteered to keep in regular contact with others in the church who are not in a Connect group – we are calling these our ‘Connectors’ (if you can think of a better name please send it in). We would love more people to volunteer to do this across the church family. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and take responsibility for the care and support of one another, not just leave it to the few.
If you have a need or become aware of needs within our church family please contact us via the church email address – firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to assist as we are able.
God is very much in control of this situation and he will bring much good from it. Please continue to pray (remember the 19:00 hrs prayer time for Christians across Australia) and ask God to draw many people to himself during this time.
“LORD, our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12
(On behalf of the Leadership team of NPBC)
Update: 19th March, 2020
Dear Church Family,
As your Pastor I want to let you know what we, as the church leadership, are seeking to do to help us as a church family to best navigate a God-honouring and wise path in the midst of the various issues regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact in our world and society.
We first want to affirm our confidence and trust in God and His sovereignty. God is indeed in control over all circumstances and this has certainly not taken him by surprise. His good and perfect will is being worked out even amidst such uncertainty. Not only that, we also rest and trust in his perfect love and goodness (Psalm 145:9, “The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made”). We need not fear because God is our hope and our shield.
The guiding principle for all our actions is love for God and love for one another (Mark 12:30). We truly want to honour God in how we respond, and we want to act with hearts of love and compassion and care for those around us, just as Jesus did.
As of yesterday, our government, in response to advice from health officials, has banned the non-essential gatherings of groups of more than 100. This is certainly going to affect our weekly Sunday morning gatherings. After careful and prayerful consideration, we have decided to continue with our Sunday morning church service but with some modifications. Thankfully we are blessed with some wonderful facilities that give us the option of gathering in separate meeting spaces whilst still abiding by the government guidelines.
As of this Sunday, we will have people meet in the main auditorium as well as the back hall. We will encourage those who are a bit younger and those with children to meet in the back hall, leaving the main auditorium for those who are older and less mobile. We will livestream the service from the auditorium to the back hall. This livestream will also be available for people to access from their homes if they choose not to attend church. We will provide details of how to access this service before Sunday.
There will be no Kidzone program operating this Sunday, and for the foreseeable future, but we will endeavour to provide resources for parents to work through with their children in the context of their homes.
In the interests of all our people, we politely ask that…
- if you or your child is unwell
- or, if you have returned home from travelling overseas within the last 14 days
- or, if you have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive to coronavirus or if you have a test pending…
that you please refrain from attending any groups or gatherings.
We envisage that there will come a time, in the not-too-distant future, where we will be unable to meet here at church and so we will be encouraging people to meet in smaller groups in people’s homes on a Sunday and watch the livestream of our service together. The church leadership are currently working through how this might function. Church is not the building; it is the people of God and they are the church no matter where they gather, whether many or few.
Our Connect groups will also play a very vital role in maintaining close fellowship with one another and in providing care and support to each other. This was the way of the early church as we see in Acts 2:46-47, “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Our prayer should be that God will use our situation in a similar way so that more people may come to faith in Jesus and believers are further encouraged and built up in their faith.
The concern we have is that no one becomes isolated so we would encourage all of you to find ways of contacting each other (by visiting/hospitality [if you are well], by email, phone call, face-time, Skype, or by sending a letter/card). If you become aware of any needs and you are unable to assist, please email the office - email@example.com. If you are able to provide practical help or aid during this time, we would appreciate hearing from you so that we can put together a team to assist us in this.
With respect to all of our other ministries – Youth group will meet this Friday night before having a break for the school holidays; Playgroup will conclude for the term next week. Soccer has been cancelled for the foreseeable future; the men’s event will go ahead this Saturday; Friendship group will meet next Tuesday; prayer meeting will continue on a Sunday afternoon. With all of these ministries we will be making sure that the relevant health and hygiene guidelines are adhered to.
As a leadership team we will be continuing to monitor the situation closely as well as responding to further advice as it is issued and will keep you updated with any further information and developments both via the website and email.
Please continue to be in prayer for our world, our nation, our community, our leaders, and for all who are sick and struggling.
(on behalf of the NPBC leadership team)