Health and Ministry Update
POSTED: Sunday, May 24: 12:30pm
I trust that you’re able to enjoy some rest and refreshment during this warm holiday weekend. We’re trying to not overload you with email, but thought that a church update would be helpful in this moment.
As you probably know, the President deemed churches “essential” yesterday, and called on governors to allow churches to re-open worship services again effective immediately. As a result, some churches have decided to meet together this Sunday. That has led to further questions about the timing of when we will gather for corporate worship services here at NorthCreek.
In response to all of that, I want to remind us that our position on worshiping together in real-time has not changed. We will meet together at our earliest opportunity. This has been our posture all along and continues to be our posture looking ahead. We rallied hard to ramp up virtual ministry when things were shutdown, and we will rally hard to re-engage real-time ministry when things open up. We will make every effort to hold worship services together, and part of that effort is to consider our state and local governing authorities as well. I’m confident that a return to our Sunday gatherings is imminent. So, we are continuing to pray and prepare for whatever the Lord has for us in that regard. I’m sure you are just as anxious as I am to gather with God’s people again in a way that both honors Christ and honors the Scripture, so let’s all be ready to go as soon as we possibly can, and work hard toward that end.
Speaking of reminders, let me add a couple more. First, resolve to not get through this, but to grow through this, and come out stronger in your faith. This is a trial. I trust by now that you know for a fact that God is testing your faith in this. Why? In order to build steadfastness in you (James 1.3-4). The sea captain’s cry in the storm applies here: “Steady as she goes, men, steady!” That’s right where God has us today. The currents in the storm have shifted, but the storm is still raging; and you and I are called to rejoice in this trial, as we remain steadfast in devotion to God.
And second, it seems that each passing week reminds us how much we need the Lord. Our trust is in the Lord our God who made the heavens and earth. He is sovereign over each federal, state, and county official. Even if they appear to be in conflict with each other; they all are working in perfect submission to God’s plan, for His glory and our church’s good. So, pray for our church. Pray for the unity of the Spirit centered on Christ (Eph 4.1-10), that will lead to us building each other up (Eph 4.11-16), as we commit each week to worship God, walk in love, and witness to the world.
I can’t wait to see you all again soon. Pray persistently, every day, toward that end (Lk 18.1)!
POSTED: Friday, May 1: 9:00pm
Dear Church Family,
Happy May Day! We trust that by God’s grace you are well, and that God is sustaining and encouraging you during this time. It’s been a while since we emailed you, but with the Shelter-in-Place extended to May 31 (unless amended), we, Kent and Jim, thought it would helpful to provide a brief update on a few family matters.
Annual Meeting Update: Most of you likely know that our Annual Meeting is held each May, generally in conjunction with our Great Family Gathering. This provides the opportunity for our members to vote on the proposed budget for the new fiscal year and to affirm elders whose terms would otherwise be expiring.
This coming Sunday is when we would normally make available copies of our 2020-21 budget for your consideration prior to voting. We will not be doing so for a couple reasons. First, we will be unable to physically meet together on May 17 as planned and our bylaws make no provision for voting electronically or by proxy. Secondly, while we’re moving toward a loosening of stay-at-home restrictions, we believe we’re only just beginning to see some of the fiscal impacts caused by this pandemic. As such, the elders thought it wise to allow for some additional time to gauge the general financial health of our church body before proposing the new budget.
Our plan at this point is to present a budget to you in about a month from now. If it’s determined by our county and state governments that we can begin meeting together prior to June 30, we will conduct a vote then. If we are still unable to meet together, we will operate at budget levels consistent with or below our current budget until such time as we can officially affirm the proposed budget.
Giving Update: This is the briefest of our updates and it can be summed up in two words... THANK YOU! God’s faithfulness has continued to manifest itself through your generosity, even during these challenging times. We are continuing to meet our budget requirements and building fund giving remains quite strong as well. What a blessing!
Shelter-In-Place Update: The recent Shelter-in-Place extension and mandates have provoked various responses among our church body. Some of us are increasingly concerned about government overreach and financial fall out, and sense that we should do something to raise awareness along this front. Others of us are increasingly concerned about a spike in cases when and however this mandate is lifted, and sense that we should continue to raise awareness along this front. There are folks in our church on both sides, and to be honest, it seems that most of us have concerns along both fronts. Our concerns are only amplified when we recognize the far-reaching effects this pandemic will have on our country medically, financially, and politically. But friends, listen, in the midst of mounting concerns on any and all sides, we must trust in the truth that God has sovereignly planned every medical, financial, and political outcome. More than ever, we maintain the theological conviction that political machinations and epidemiological predictions alike bow in submission to Him. What then is the practical outcome of this truth in your life? It is this: God will keep you in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Him, because you trust in Him. Isaiah 26.3, paraphrased. So, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26.4, not paraphrased. There is a lot of changes happening right now, but our God hasn’t changed one bit. And that’s good news as we kick off another month sheltered-in-place.
That’s enough for now. Know again that we are praying without ceasing for you, and can’t wait to see you all again. May the Lord bless us as we strive by His grace to live for Him.
Kent Dresdow and Jim Daggs
POSTED: Wednesday, March 25: 12:45pm
Dear Church Family,
“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.” Psalm 75:1
Giving thanks, recounting His wondrous deeds, and recognizing that He is near... good reminders for us all during this season of upheaval and uncertainty. May you continue to find strength and hope in our good God!
As we enter our second week of “sheltering in residence,” I thought a few updates would be helpful:
Sunday Services – Live streaming on our upgraded Vimeo platform has proven quite successful. What a blessing it was to see over 700 individuals/families worshiping together in this way. It’s not the same as being together, and I look forward to that day. In the meantime, however, I am thankful that we have this as an option and that the state has identified it as an essential function.
Ministries During The Week – Last week was used by the staff to get our bearings on how best to approach ministry life moving forward. I’m happy to announce that on Monday morning, Academy grades K-8 were back “in class” in their homes with their teachers providing instruction from their homes using video conferencing. It is truly amazing what they have accomplished in such a short period of time.
On the church side, several ministries will be starting back up this week using a video conferencing platform called Zoom. It’s a software program you will need to download if you want to participate in our midweek ministries. And it’s quite easy to use. You likely have already been, or will be contacted soon, if you are currently registered in 180 or Ignite DGs, the Life of Christ class, Impact, Kaleo, or Lighthouse... all of which will begin this week on their normal days and times. In the case of Cornerstone, you already have access to the videos for the remaining sessions. And Jon will be recording his class sessions and they will be uploaded to Vimeo (vimeo.com/northcreek) for viewing on Wednesday evenings.
Scheduled Events – The various orders regarding “sheltering” and “not gathering” have obviously impacted a number of our scheduled events and will undoubtedly impact more in the future. We are making every effort to keep our website up to date with that information but our general posture is to keep events as scheduled until such time as we know that they cannot be held and must be postponed or canceled.
Church Website – We have been updating the banner on the home page to make certain information is easily accessible. We plan to continue to do this as needs arise. So feel free to check in periodically.
Giving – Finally, I thought it would be helpful to remind you that in addition to using our online giving option on the website or app, checks can still be mailed to the church if that is your preferred method of giving.
That’s it for this week. Know that you’re being prayed for and please reach out to your LifeStage pastor or elder, or any of us on staff, should you find yourself needing assistance.
POSTED: Wednesday, March 18: 2:45pm
Dear Church Family,
We continue to make adjustments here at NorthCreek and wanted to update you along a couple fronts.
Regarding ongoing ministry
We held an online, ministerial staff meeting yesterday morning to determine next steps across all ministry fronts. With the exception of Sunday live-streamed worship services, all ministry meetings are canceled this week while we plan ahead for future ministry needs. Here’s how that will happen.
- Each pastor and director will be contacting their leaders to discern the best and most practical ways for their ministry to move forward while the shelter-in-place (or, “SIP”) mandate is in place. Once Jim and I hear back from them by the end of this week, we will work to synchronize and simplify our ministry approaches. For example, with ministries that can occur virtually, we are trying to avoid using multiple online platforms and wildly different ministry approaches during this time.
- By early next week, each pastor or director will let those in their respective ministries know how each ministry will re-engage, or not, during the SIP. Lord willing, by next week, all continuing ministries will be ready to go, albeit in a simplified format. Some ministries will be canceled, unfortunately.
Regarding senior care and benevolence
We desire to care especially for our folks who are more “advanced in years.” I have been blown away by how the older generation has desired to not burden the younger with undue care. By all accounts, our senior saints are doing fine at this point. At the same time, let’s unite in prayer for those most vulnerable to exposure. Thank the Lord for our senior saints! I have also been blown away by how the younger generations are desiring to help and encourage the older generation in any way possible. We have students, singles, and young couples and families on standby in abundance, should any need arise. Thank the Lord for our younger generations! Please feel free to let your ministry leader, pastor, or elder know of any need or desire you have to to serve, and we will be glad to discuss those matters with you.
Friends, we are sailing in uncharted waters, but the Captain of our salvation is at the helm, and He will guide us through them. He has secured our salvation from sin, and He will secure our protection according to His will. Nothing is outside His control, Hebrews 2.8-18!
POSTED: Friday, March 13: 7:45pm
Dear Church Family,
Things have continued to develop quickly since our last communication. We are writing to let you know that we will hold Sunday worship services via LIVE-STREAM ONLY through the end of March, 2020. Logistics follow below, but let me assure you of our motivation first, as well as our response second.
This decision has been arrived at through much prayer, through abundant elder and pastoral counsel, through consult with our medical advisory group, and with a desire to comply with our governing authorities’ most recent directives. This is not borne out of fear, but out of care for those most at risk in our church body and community.
Part of my own thinking has been informed by Mark Dever, Pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, in Washington DC. He stated yesterday that his thinking was shaped by their church’s response 100 years ago to the Spanish Flu, when they suspended meetings for similar reasons. He quotes Pastor F. J. Grimké from 1918: “If avoiding crowds lessens the danger of being infected, it was wise to take the precaution and not needlessly run into danger and expect God to protect us.”
We echo that same sentiment - it is not unwise to suspend meeting for the sake of others, given the many factors taken into consideration. And we would add that it is actually an action borne out of love for each other and for our neighbors.
Second, how should we respond? On the one hand, this is a new experience for our church. In our church’s almost 65-year history, we have never had to walk through something like this. These are truly extraordinary times. On the other hand, this is not new for the church. Historically, the church has leaned into caring for the most vulnerable in times of crisis, out of love for them and a desire to reach them for Christ. Now is a great time for being careful, while also providing care.
Finally, logistical details are as follows:
- Again, we will not be meeting on campus for any of our regularly scheduled Sunday activities. We will, however, be live-streaming the worship service on our website and the NorthCreek app at 10:00AM each Sunday in March. We plan to live-stream the entire service, just like we normally would, so plan to worship with us this Sunday!
- Worshiping the Lord in our giving may be accomplished online through our website, using the NorthCreek or Pushpay app, or you can mail in or drop off your offering at the church office during the week.
- Based in large part on the latest medical information in our area, ALL mid-week activities here on campus are being suspended until further notice. This would include men’s and women’s ministries activities, student ministries activities, etc.
- It is our recommendation that regularly scheduled off-campus ministry activities also be suspended for the time being. Sometime next week, CG leaders will be hearing from their respective Pastor/Director with additional guidance.
- Lastly, be aware that we are evaluating the practical viability of each of our Short-Term Ministry trips and those groups will be notified individually as more concrete information becomes available.
From each of the elders and staff members, know that we’re praying for you. Additionally, it is our desire to serve you and be available for you, even as you serve and care for those around you. To that end, our church office will be open during its normal hours.
Our series in Exodus is so helpful here, in that its central point is as relevant today as ever: we have been saved to worship, and saved to serve. That truth isn’t isolated to Exodus by the way—it’s the flow of the biblical gospel as well. Let us live out that gospel in these exceptional days. Then, when we’re able to gather back together again, we’ll unite our hearts and voices in even greater praise to the Lord for what He has done in and among us.
POSTED: Wednesday, March 11: 11:45am
Centers for Disease Control
California Department of Public Health
Contra Costa Health Service
Contra Costa Health Service Guidance (March 13)
NorthCreek App (Apple)
NorthCreek App (Google Play)
NorthCreek Video Streaming
By now, we are all too aware of the coronavirus epidemic hitting closer and closer to home. It seems like a lifetime ago when news headlines weren’t dominated by COVID-19 stories. And while some of us are weary of the headlines, more of us are probably quietly wondering about its trajectory. It can seem like we’re waiting for the storm to hit and are trying to figure out how to brace for impact.
We can’t know the severity of the virus globally, nor the impact it will have locally, but we can be confident of this: God’s Word strengthens and guides us through these times—fully. His promises strengthen us: “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Promises for strength and truth for life abound in God’s Word for every matter of life, including this matter we face today. In that light, we want to provide an update on where things stand regarding the ministry here at NorthCreek.
As Christians, we are called in any danger or trial to seek the Lord in prayer, asking for His wisdom and guidance. His guidance is paramount, so we must be a church of prayer—asking God for help and strength that comes from Him alone.
We have assembled an advisory group that will provide counsel to the Church and School moving forward on best next steps through the virus season. Each member is medically trained, and ministry minded.
Our leadership team is keeping up to date with the latest information available from both national and local health organizations. This is guidance we take seriously, and it will help inform decisions regarding future Church and School activities.
We encourage you personally to keep up to date on current COVID-19 developments from trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control, California Department of Public Health, and Contra Costa Health Services. Yesterday, CCHS issued guidance with respect to larger gatherings. While it is not our intention at this time to cancel any of our programming, please feel the freedom to choose not to participate if you have concerns or are part of what is considered the higher risk population.
Rest assured that we are staying current on the latest news and updates from official health organizations. Additionally, let’s be prayerful and thoughtful about differing preferences and opinions at this time. Some believe that this is of little consequence; others believe the opposite. Romans 14:19 comes to mind here: “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
There is probably more to say, but it’s enough for now to remember that we worship and serve our great God and King, Jesus Christ, who loves you and will lead you through all that He will bring to you, for your good and His glory. We learned a new song at church recently that seems appropriate in this moment:
“May it be, come what may, that I rest all my days, in the goodness of Jesus.”