Dear Northplace Family,
As I’ve said before, in times of uncertainty we want and need each other’s presence for comfort, but this invisible enemy has robbed us of that privilege. That’s why I fight the desire to write to you every day. When I sit down to write a message like this, I feel like I’m with you, talking directly to you. As I type, I’m seeing your faces and where you sit in the building ☺. It’s as if we’re “together” even if we can’t “gather”. For me, it’s an incredibly comforting moment. I hope you sense my love and prayers as strongly as I feel yours.
Since my last communication with you, several of my friends and ministry colleagues have tested positive for COVID-19, three of which are fighting for their lives on respirators in critical care units. There’s no doubt as the days and hours pass, these numbers will rise until most of us have been impacted by it in a personal way. This virus is not a joke, a conspiracy, or a ploy of the “left” or “right”. It is an enemy microbe wreaking havoc on human lives, attacking every race, gender, ethnicity, and religion. We must lay down our petty trivializations and rise to Heaven by falling on our faces before God in intercessory prayer.
I commit to bombard heaven for you, your family, the church, our leaders, medical professionals and our nation. Will you join me? Can our church family count on you to make prayer a priority? At the end of this communication, I have attached a sample guide for your prayer time that is directed by scripture.
For almost 25 years, I’ve started my day with a prayer similar to this one:
2 Chronicles 1:10 NLT
10 Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?”
I’ve never been more in need of supernatural wisdom and knowledge than right now. However, I must testify to the nearness of God’s presence and grace. He is helping us. The Northplace staff has been working tirelessly to adapt to this changing world, keeping your safety in mind, all while creating a new way of doing church, youth ministry, kids ministry, and small groups. Within the span of a few hours…the world changed, but God’s call to the church to “Make More and Better Disciples” didn’t.
METHODS are never sacred…The MISSION is
and we’re innovating new ways to reach people and serve you.
Let me leave you with a few key pieces of information:
WEEKEND ONLINE SERVICES
We are under restrictions to limit our public gatherings to 10 or less for at least the next 8 weeks. Which means, during that period of time, all of our church activities, worship experiences, small groups, youth events and children’s events have been moved to online experiences. Notice we haven’t “canceled” anything, we’ve simply “moved” them to digital experiences.
You can watch our service this weekend at any of our regular service times:
Also, after the regular service airings, they will be available “on demand” as a resource to you.
Please invite your friends to join one of our experiences by sharing on provided social media.
I can’t wait to spend some time in the Word with you this weekend. The Lord has placed a strong message of hope on my heart. It first lifted me. I believe it will encourage you.
On one hand, it could be disheartening. All the work, the planning, and the preparing for 14 Easter services on multiple campuses is now scratched. However, our team has this sense that Jehovah-Frugal never wastes anything. We are revived, passionate, and full of hope about what God has birthed in our spirits for an innovative Easter experience. I really think this could be the most impactful Easter ever for Northplace. Stay tuned for more details.
Our leadership made a commitment early on that we would not let this virus (and the fear that comes with it) turn us inward. We are going to continue to serve, even if we have to look for creative ways to do it.
This week we’ve served around 1500 meals, to at-risk children in the GISD. We are still working with both GISD and WISD assessing needs and building a response plan. Please know your continued generosity is keeping us where we are needed most.
We are surveying the needs of our congregation, attempting to identify our most vulnerable family members and assist them with staple goods, medical supplies, etc. Again, your generosity is impacting real people with real needs. If you know of someone within our church that we need to be aware of, please let us know.
Also, we are working hard to stay connected as a church family. There are over 3500 households that call Northplace Church home. I’ve asked our staff to divide that number among ourselves and begin touching base on a personal level. You can expect to hear from us soon. We have no agenda. We’re just checking on our family and we want to pray for you. We are craving “together”.
THE JOSEPH PRINCIPAL
Many businesses will not survive this season. The virus will leave, but the lasting economic effects will leave long term consequences. The same is true with churches. Many US churches are not in position to survive a season like this.
At Northplace, we operate on the biblical model of Joseph: putting back in times of plenty to be able to serve and be a resource in times of famine. Because of God’s faithfulness, your generosity, and wise leadership, our church is in a strong position.
However, I also want you to know…your ongoing generosity in a season like this is what will keep us in that position. I encourage you to practice principles of biblical stewardship for the same reason our church is going to keep living with an open hand toward those in need. The promise of God in Malachi 3:11 (NKJV) is that he will “rebuke the devourer” for those that honor him in generosity. That’s a supernatural promise. We can’t afford to not be generous in a season like this.
More than ever I think it’s important for me to say it…and for you to hear it:
I love you,
- Below is the prayer guide I promised and a link to request a resource called “Right Now Media” that is like a “Netflix” for bible study. It’s full of incredible material for you and your kids. Check it out. We paid the bill to offer it to you as a resource!
- Father, thank You that “Your name is a strong tower, where the righteous can run to You and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
- We pray for those on the front lines of this response, including health officials who are working around the clock to protect us. Give them supernatural wisdom as they seek to create a vaccine and antidotes to combat this virus.
- We pray for courageous first responders in the medical field who are working for the health and safety of our communities in hospitals, clinics, and emergency rooms.
- We pray for You to grant wisdom to governmental leaders throughout the world, on both national and local levels, regarding actions to be taken to protect the citizens they serve. Your Word assures us that if any person lacks wisdom, we can ask You and You will give it generously.
- Lord, we lift to You our concern for people who are more likely than others to become severely ill from COVID-19—the elderly and people with chronic health conditions. Protect them from harm and be their comfort in this time of uncertainty.
- We pray for the health and well-being of those who have already been affected by this virus. Lord, during Your ministry on earth, You showed Your power by healing people of all ages from physical, mental and spiritual ailments. Be present now to people who need Your healing touch due to COVID-19. You are a God who heals ALL of our diseases.
- Lord, please also take away the fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation from people receiving treatment and those under quarantine. Protect their families and friends and bring peace to all who love them.
- We pray for those who have been impacted financially from this interruption. Thank you, Lord, for supplying their needs according to Your riches and glory.
- We pray for a faith that will not only endure through this, but will grow, and lift up the name of Jesus—our Savior, Healer, and Soon-Coming King—as we remember Your greatness and know that NOTHING is too difficult for You.
- We pray for a spirit of peace and that a pandemic of hope would spread globally as Your people, who are called by Your name, live out their faith in the midst of this crisis.
- You have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Thank You that You are the source of hope, and that You will fill us completely with joy and peace because we trust in You (Romans 15:13).
Dear Northplace Family,
I want you to know that our Executive Leadership Team and staff have spent a significant amount of time conversing, praying, and planning an appropriate response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. We have been gathering information and learning from health officials, business leaders, and other global church leaders.
We’ve also been listening to and learning from you. As pastors, God called us to serve His people. You are our number one priority. The approach you will see outlined in this document reflects our heart for your spiritual, emotional, and physical health. It is also a “working document” as new information is being released by the minute and things are changing rapidly. Also, we may need to adjust our response, at the request of state and local governments (see Romans 13).
Please, give me a moment to “pastor” you and then I’ll share the details of our action steps.
The current extremes with this pandemic are panic or denial. It’s hard to find someone with a sensible balance. On the one hand, panic has sent our financial markets into chaos and has many people hoarding staple goods like it’s the end of the world. On the other hand, some are shrugging their shoulders, as if this is not a significant event and basically ignoring simple precautions that would greatly limit the spread of the virus.
One of the core values of Northplace Church is “balance”. In a world full of extremes, our trust in the Sovereign hand of God enables us to live centered, balanced lives, even in the face of situations like we find ourselves in today. Living without fear and approaching moments like these with an unshakable trust in God says more about Him to the “watching world” than 10,000 sermons. If our faith isn’t strong enough to sustain us with hope in moments like these, can it be a legitimate faith?
We started the year with a series about leadership. Much of what is happening in our world right now is “reactionship”. God has called his people to offer hope-filled leadership and be a stabilizing force when the ground seems to be giving way. In the face of this virus we have the opportunity to lead in love and compassion. My heart goes out to the people living in fearful panic AND ignorant denial. They are real people with real emotions that God has called us to serve.
My heart goes out to the bride whose wedding plans were just scratched. My heart goes out to the retirees who are watching their nest egg shrink in the markets or the people whose jobs are connected to sectors deeply impacted. My heart is deeply concerned for the elderly and those with underlying conditions, anyone at greater risk with this virus. Ultimately, while the percentage of cases that result in death remain relatively low, every one of those losses is a tragedy. My heart is broken for their families.
Instead of making trite comments on social media, politicizing this moment, trying to profit from this moment, or being consumed by self-preservation, we should be asking: How can we be the church in this season? How can we glorify Jesus in this season? How should we be praying in this season? How can we serve in this season? Who can we love in this season?
In moments like these, the hope of the gospel has a greater opportunity to shine in the eyes of those who have been previously blinded to it. As a church family, we are looking for ways to make that hope known to as many people as possible, especially in a time like this.
As we’ve listened to you over the last few days, one of the things we keep hearing is your desire for some level of normalcy in all the recent chaos. We want our regular worship routines at Northplace to provide that for you. However, as I was typing this statement, Dallas County placed a ban on large public gatherings for the next seven days. We will obviously comply with that mandate. All of our weekend worship gatherings, youth events, and small groups will be canceled until 3/20/20.
We will be working with health and government officials and updating you along the way, with a desire to gather publicly with you, as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will be providing worship and preaching at all our regularly scheduled service times, through our online experience. Please worship with us online at northplacechurch.com at 5PM Saturday, or 9AM, 10:45AM, 12:30PM Sunday and 3PM Sunday in Spanish.
The Lord has burdened my heart to lead you through this. I want to address this whole situation, biblically, in my sermon this weekend, so please join me for worship and the Word online!
As soon as we safely and legally can, we will return to our normal operations. When that happens, know we are intentional about providing clean, sanitary, and safe environments for people to meet and worship God. We have enhanced our already-thorough cleaning procedures. The children’s classrooms and toys are disinfected after each service by the Northplace Kids staff and volunteers at each campus. While we realize no public environment is 100% safe, we take every precaution and safety measure possible.
Haley and I, along with our Executive Leadership Team, staff and elders are praying Psalm 91 over you, your family, our church and this nation.
Burdened, but full of Hope!
Pastor Bryan, Executive Leadership Team and Elders