Message From the Shepherds

Dear Church Family,
 
These are difficult days.  We continue to monitor the events surrounding COVID-19.  It is our goal to keep the well-being of our church family, neighbors, and city in the forefront of the decisions we find ourselves facing.  We covet your prayers.
 
In Acts 8:2 Luke uses a word to describe what was happening to the church because of difficult times in Jerusalem.  He says they were “scattered.” The word “scattered” is the same word used by Jesus in Luke 8, the parable of the sower, to describe what happened to the seed the farmer sowed.  In the scattering is where the good news and expressions of the love of Jesus were being spread. 
 
We are “scattered” currently, in trying, but mighty ways.  These days provide opportunity for seed to be sown and the love of Jesus to be shown.  We were made for times as these.
 
Here are the latest updates, as of Tuesday, March 17: 
  • Church services will not be held at the building on Sunday, March 22 or March 29.  Decisions about future dates will be made as the situation continues to unfold.  We want to be good neighbors as we honor our government leaders and support the steps they are taking to battle this pandemic.  We see this not as a step of fear, but of faith.  We ask you to pray, along with us, that our witness will help advance The Kingdom and the spread of the gospel—which is always good news.
  • Fortunately, social distancing does not equate to spiritual distancing. As a portion of God’s people in North Raleigh, we want to encourage you to gather differently in the next two weeks.  Kent’s sermon from Colossians will be posted online (with more details coming on that later), and we ask that you have worship together with your family and share communion.
  • We will have a small group gathering at the church building on Wednesday evenings for Bible study.  There will be no ladies class. There will be no childcare, as we seek to abide by the guidelines issued to parents by Wake County Schools. 
  • Connect Groups and Discipleship Groups will meet at the discretion of the group leader(s).  We will follow establish CDC guidelines (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html), and ask that if anyone is feeling unwell, vulnerable, elderly, immunocompromised or anxious to please stay home. Also, if you live or work around those who are most at risk (elderly), please stay home.   
  • Stay prepared to mobilize in creative ways to live & give Jesus within and beyond our church family.  We are considering ways to best mobilize and respond to needs as we see them come available. Please contact your primary elder if you have a need, or know of a need that the church can help meet.
  • We will be using technology and social media to resource and encourage you in coming days.  Be sure to visit our Family News Facebook page and website.
  • Continue to give as you have been, and maybe a little more.  We are expecting needs to arise within our church family and in the community around us.  We also have obligations that must be met, even when we are scattered.  You may give online by visiting our website www.northraleighchurch.org and click the link at the bottom for online giving.  You may also mail your offering or drop it by the church office.  We do anticipate an opportunity in the future to help close any gap in our budget shortfall.
 
There is another powerful text that has the word “scatter”.  We hope this reading from Psalm 112 will give you great peace as we are sown. 

“Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
    their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn will be lifted high in honor.”
Psalm 112: 6-9 (NIV)
 
You are loved!
The North Raleigh Church of Christ Shepherds