As things continue to change around the COVID-19 situation, we will be keeping abreast of Pennsylvania recommendations and requirements around public gatherings. You can expect us to be posting updates on this page regarding any NC4 event or service cancelations.
Update as of 5/16/2020
Statement from NC4’s Elders on Re-entry
From the onset of COVID-19, we as leaders at NC4 have been occupied with the when and the how of bringing our congregations physically together once more. While we are thankful that God prepared us technologically for maintaining our connection with one another over the past months, we do realize that virtual church, while valuable for this moment, is not normative. While otherwise a wonderful tool and supplement to church body life, it is not what the author of Hebrews meant when they encourage the church to be sure to assemble (Hebrews 10:25). We realize that “touch trumps tech” every time, but we are just not there yet.
We are watching closely this changing, fluid situation. It is our hope to begin meeting physically again in the not terribly distant future. As we begin to transition, we will be gauging things very prayerfully and carefully, giving attention to a combination of the following guidelines and considerations:
- The unique composition and demographics of NC4 over whom God has given us the oversight. We know that we will render a special account to Him as to how we handle this. (Heb 13:17)
- The truth we can glean from the medical and healthcare community.
- Guidelines prescribed by civil authorities. (We fully acknowledge that civil authorities at different levels of government are not in agreement, which makes submitting to authority even that more challenging at this time.)
- The ability to safely gather with regard to the capacity and logistics of our physical buildings and properties. This involves questions of safety for those immune-compromised, as well as for children and families with children.
- The ability to gather safely over an extended time with regard to the human resources available, e.g. volunteers and the possibilities of multiple services while maintaining an online virtual service.
- The deep, normative Godly desire and need to see and to join lovingly with one another physically in the Presence of God.
We remain in active dialogue with other churches within our network and within the Lehigh Valley and consider their experiences informative and valuable. Our decision as to when to open and how to open will be the consequence of the distinctive logistics of NC4 with a primary focus upon the care and regard for our flock. Although we are deeply affiliated, our ability to uniquely secure and protect our church is one of the reasons that we are a non-denominational church.
To that end, we have formed a Re-Entry Team to study best practices and determine how to apply them at NC4. That team will soon be conducting an online survey of everyone at NC4 to assess your attitudes and willingness to attend under certain circumstances and different conditions. We ask that you respond promptly when it is sent out. Your input will help shape our plans and identify our need for volunteers, the number of services, seating patterns, etc.
We seek your prayers and ask that you understand that this is complicated. Starting up again will not be going back to “business as usual,” and everyone will have to do some sacrificial things to love their neighbor.
We hope that everyone realizes how much we love you all. We have this assurance. In many ways this new structuring is an apostolic problem. Jesus is the trustworthy architect of His church. (Matt 16:18) He is the ultimate apostle. As leaders, we are leaning into that biblical assurance of His expertise as we move forward together.
“When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.” – Psalm 126:1-2
Blessings to All!
The Elders of NC4
Update as of 3/26/2020
In an effort to help everyone transition to using the online tools for services and groups, we have created two essential pages with additional information:
- Tech Troubleshooting – the goal of this page is to help identify some of the main roadblocks that someone might hit in trying to participate online. It mainly focuses on live events/services that are streaming and small groups/classes that are using video conferencing to continue meeting remotely.
- Connecting Online – the goal of this page is to help leaders transition their Connect Group or Growth Class into an online format. Recommended software and basic setup instructions are outlined.
Update as of 3/17/2020
The newest round of updates were sent out via email by Executive Pastor Tony Piergiovanni on Friday, March 17th. These changes will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.
Sunday service for both campuses will be livestreamed from the Bethlehem campus. There will be NO services at our Macungie campus. There will be ONE livestream service for everyone. Pastor Jack will be in the pulpit. Please go to the homepage of our website and WATCH LIVE Sundays at 10:00AM.
The church buildings are closed for everyone except for essential personnel. Ongoing efforts to keep the facilities sanitized make it imperative that we restrict access for the protection of our staff. To that end, building access codes to the Bethlehem campus have been temporarily disabled for all but essential personnel.
Connect Groups, Growth Classes, etc., are temporarily suspended and we are working to provide you with alternative online options that are as user-friendly as possible. More information will be coming next week.
CARING FOR NEEDS
The elders, care deacons, financial deacons and staff have developed plans to be able to check in on and provide resources to our NC4 congregations, especially those who are most vulnerable. If you have a need or know someone from NC4 who does, please email Pastor Bob Rentler at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pastor Rex Cox at email@example.com.
You can also submit prayer requests on the home page of our website. Scroll to the bottom of the page under “How Can We Pray For You” and click the Submit a Prayer Request box.
We are also developing a creative way for kids and families to bless those who cannot have visitors, such as, those in nursing homes, shut-ins and hospitals, etc. You’ll be hearing more about that soon.
Appointments with pastors are being conducted via phone or video conference. No face-to-face meetings are taking place at this time.
SUPPORTING CARE EFFORTS
We are cutting expenses and shifting more resources for those in our congregation in need. If you wish to give to specifically support that effort you can do that via NC4 PushPay and select the giving type “LOAF” (Love One Another Fund). You can also use this same link to make your regular tithe and offering by selecting the giving type “Tithe”.
Update as of 3/13/2020
We are honoring the request of Governor Wolf and are taking precautionary measures to protect everyone’s health. Therefore, this Sunday, March 15, NC4’s morning service will be ONLINE ONLY. We are asking everyone at both campuses to stay home and participate in the service online. Worship and the sermon will be live streamed Sunday morning, starting at 10:00AM from NC4 Bethlehem. You can access it by clicking the WATCH LIVE button from the home page of our site. It is located in the blue, top tool bar at the very top of the page. In fact, it’s on many pages of our site, including this one.
Additionally, the Worship & Tech Team Dinner that was to be held on Monday 3/16 has also been canceled. It will be rescheduled at a later date.
Practical advice regarding COVID-19 is available from the CDC: Coronavirus Prevention. We will continue to keep you informed about NC4 events and services if we decide to cancel or reschedule them. You can find all the updates on this page of our site.
Update as of 3/12/2020
Unless instructed otherwise by the authorities, we still plan on having services this Sunday, March 15 at both campuses, however, we are asking that those who are at the greatest risk, which includes the elderly, those with serious, chronic, medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, refrain from attending services. We encourage all of those who are unable to attend to watch the sermon on our website at www.nc4.org (click the WATCH LIVE button at the top of the homepage). The decision to have service will be reviewed each week. We are developing contingency plans in the event that church service cannot be held, including expanding livestreaming, so participation could continue from our homes.
At this time, we believe that it is appropriate to cancel our Wednesday evening Family Nite at NC4 Bethlehem (which includes Kids Club, Youth Group & Adult Class), until further notice. For all other connect groups, bible studies & growth classes, etc., that meet throughout the week at either of the campuses or in homes, those groups may continue if conditions are appropriate. However, participation decisions should follow the same approach as outlined above, i.e., to avoid those at greatest risk. Group leaders should inform the church office of any changes or cancellations.
For the time being, we are asking everyone to refrain from our otherwise typical greetings (handshaking, hugging, etc.). As we communicated last week, classrooms, bathrooms and handrails at both campuses are being sanitized more frequently, additional hand sanitizing stations have been installed near sanctuary entrances and classrooms. We will be checking and refilling them as long as we are able to source the sanitizer.
Here’s what we’re asking of everyone:
- Do not panic! Minimize your media influence and maximize your devotion time.
- Trust God but be wise, follow the advice & precautions of the CDC (CDC Guidelines)
- Pray, especially for our healthcare workers, of which NC4 has many.
- Love your neighbors – the peace that you have within you at this time can be a very effective witness for Christ!
May the Lord bless and protect you and your families through this challenging time.