UPDATE: March 30, 2020
As of today, the Federal and State guidelines for social distancing have been extended until April 30, 2020. This also extends our Sunday services online until April 26, 2020. We are monitoring all COVID-19 related information daily and will make decisions based on guidelines are they are updated. Worship with us on Sundays at 9:30am and 11:00am online at https://northstar.churchonline.org/
UPDATE: March 14, 2020
In consideration of the public health concerns of COVID-19, we will not be hosting services, including Northstar KiDS or Northstar Students, at any of our Northstar campuses for the next three Sundays beginning this Sunday, March 15.
Worship services will be available online at 9:30am and 11:00am. It is particularly important for you to join us online this Sunday. In addition to our regular programming, we will update you on how we will plan to engage with you and your family during this season.
If someone asks why your church chose to respond to this health crisis by closing its doors, here’s my response:
We are loving our neighbors by protecting our neighbors.
We are not being fearful. We are being responsible.
This is what love requires of us in this season.
The Christian response to the Coronavirus is not, “I’m young and healthy, so this does not affect me.” Rather, it is, “Jesus cares for the vulnerable, so I must do my part to stop the spread of this virus and protect those most at risk.” Author Unknown
Thank you for your patience. We will do our best to keep you informed and connected.
March 11, 2020
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7
We’re all aware of the evolving situation with COVID-19 around the world. And, we’re aware that our response as a church is likely on your mind.
HERE’S WHAT WE’RE DOING AS A CHURCH STAFF
- TRUSTING GOD: Viral disease is a fact of biological existence and part of creation. Keeping perspective and not panicking apply here, just as they do for all risks we face as creatures in a finite world. No matter how dire circumstances get, the Lord remains our refuge and strength, “an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). To trust in the Lord amid trouble is to experience and bear witness to the power of Christ.
- PRAYING: We must pray for the sick and the scared, for public health officials, for doctors and nurses, for researchers, and for caregivers. As Christians, we believe prayer has power, so we seek help from the Lord.
- STAYING INFORMED: The media is aflame with daily updates and it’s impossible to read, absorb and respond to every news report, Tweet, or latest rumor. We’re following a reliable list of information for educational, planning and management purposes.
- CDC on COVID-19: The US Center for Disease Control’s up-to-date resources on coronavirus.
- CDC Resources for Community and Faith-Based Organizations: The CDC has also created resources specifically for faith-based organizations to respond to influenza pandemic, which are applicable in this situation. As a church, we’re implementing this guidance.
- Managing Anxiety Around Coronavirus Coverage: The American Psychological Association created this resource to help manage anxiety around coverage of COVID-19.
- Addressing Mental Health Issues: This resource from the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Network provides guidelines for addressing mental health issues that may arise, and offers advice for messaging, including among children, older adults, people with disabilities, and those in quarantine.
- PREPARING: Because COVID-19 likely spreads like the cold and the flu, personal hygiene is very important among staff, volunteers, and participants in our services and those attending events on our campuses (washing hands, avoiding contact with the sick, staying home if you’re sick, and so on). We are implementing the CDC recommendation for hand sanitizer in public places, ample supplies of tissue, and disposable gloves for cleaning crews. We’re also implementing CDC recommendations on our routine cleaning practices to include all frequently touched surfaces in workplaces, restrooms, and nurseries, including workstations, countertops, doorknobs, and toys. In addition to these practical steps, we’re also doing the following:
- We’ve established a staff team that is meeting weekly to review all of our efforts in response to COVID-19.
- We’re in communication with local public health officials.
- We’re reviewing all of our communication practices with the congregation and implementing appropriate communication when appropriate – like this webpage.
- We’re adjusting our greeting practices in our services and encouraging everyone to “nod to your neighbor” as a preferred greeting over handshake or other common physical greetings.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
- Pray for our community and those directly affected by COVID-19. Pray for the health care workers that are treating the sick and those public health administrators making difficult decisions. Pray that God would protect our community from further spread of the virus.
- Reflect Christ. In these anxious days, the church (all of us) can shine as a light of hope, care, faith, patience and prudence. We can demonstrate for the world how our faith provides true assurance against worry and fear.
- Practice recommended personal hygiene. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid contact with the sick. Stay home if you’re sick and enjoy our online service.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body…Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25–27