Northgate Baptist Church
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Living the Acts 1:8 Challenge

Words of Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Tuesday, June 7
Hello Church Family,
 Let me begin by saying thank you for your prayers these past four weeks.  They were felt and greatly appreciated. Please do not stop.  I still have a ways to go.  I will keep you apprised as I learn more at my doctor appointments.
 
I know many of you saw where the governor mandated the wearing of masks indoors effective midnight, July 6.  The way we will address this new mandate as we gather for worship is as follows:
 
. Entering into the building, we ask you to wear a mask until you get to your seat.
.Once you are seated, and are safely distanced from others, if you so choose, you can take off the mask for the service.
.Once the service concludes, before you leave your seat, we would ask you to put your mask back on until you exit the buidling.
. We will continue to project the songs onto the screen to use as a time of reflection.
. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available in the foyer for your convenience.
. As before, Cody will wipe down all areas after everyone has left so as to sanitize and make safe the area for our next gathering.
 
I know some of us may not be particularly happy about these recommendations, but it is for our safety and our neighbors as we gather for worship.
 
If you feel comfortable gathering with these guidelines, please come. If not, please continue to meet us on Facebook Live each Sunday at 10:00. We need to stay connected best we can in these very strange times we are living.
 
In closing, our tithes and offerings have stayed steady. That is a testament of your support to the church. We are able to pay the bills and continue to support the community through outreach ministries.  
 
Now, may the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you…”(Numbers 6:24)
 
Blessings,
Pastor Craig    
 
Wednesday, June 3
Good Morning Church Family,
For the past few weeks, we have been encouraged to wear masks at our gatherings. I want to thank everyone for being accommodating. Beginning this Sunday, June 7, you can choose to wear or not to wear a mask in the facility.  We still must maintain a safe distancing of six feet, but a mask is no longer mandatory for entering the church. 
 
During our worship service, we will continue without congregational singing due to the fact tens of thousands of water droplets are spread around the room as we sing. The music team will continue to prepare the music for us beforehand. The words of each song will be projected on the screen for us to reflect and meditate upon as the songs play.
 
At the conclusion of the service, we will not dismiss by rows; rather, we ask that you use social distancing guidelines as you leave.  Also, if you stand around in the foyer before or after the service, please be mindful of safe distancing.
 
We are no longer asking for you to keep an empty parking space between cars.  Park where you like, but, again, please be mindful of safe distancing as you are coming from the parking lot into the building.
 
As of right now, we will still won’t be able to offer voluntary manned nursery services. If, however, you have a child nursery age and you need to take them out, the nursery will be open for you to use. Please note, before and after the worship service the nursery will be sanitized.
We are still on hold for Sunday School and Wednesday nights due to the fact it puts people in small rooms where social distancing cannot be safely practiced.  That is especially true for our children.  In time, as this requirement is relaxed, we will return to these services.  We must exercise patience as we continue our journey back to normal—or to our new normal.
 
As of right now, we will continue to offer the worship service at 10:00 AM on Facebook Live.  
If you have any questions about any of what you have read, please feel free to call me.
 
Blessings,
Pastor Craig
 
Wednesday, May 27
Dear Church Family,           

Due to the small number of attendees this past Sunday at both services, there will be only one service beginning this Sunday, May 31.  It will be at 10:00 am. We will stream the service on Facebook Live just like in the past, so that those that don’t attend can watch it with us.  We will continue following the CDC safety guidelines that were previously sent out.   We ask that you send in your God Moments to Pastor Craig at northgatechurch@hotmail.com for him to share during the service. If you don’t want your name mentioned, please tell him that in the e-mail.

 Wednesday, May 18

Guidelines for On Site Worship Beginning May 24

 Good Morning, Church Family,

The purpose of this email is to share how we can safely begin worshipping on site again. We will follow the guidelines as set forth by the CDC and suggestions by the Southern Baptist Convention. 

The following guidelines must be followed to ensure safe worship:

 Upon entering the parking lot, please park in every other space. There should be an empty space between cars. This will ensure safe distancing as we come into the church.

When you come in the church, please go directly to the sanctuary and find a seat. If you are setting on the same row as another family, please keep six feet apart. Every other row will be blocked off, so please don’t sit in those rows.

Everyone coming to worship must wear a mask until you leave the building. If you have a mask, please bring it. If you don’t have a mask, the church as ordered some and they should be here before our first gathering.

We will not use an Order of Worship during the initial start up nor will we be taking an offering in the traditional manner. Offering plates will be placed at the entrance of the sanctuary for you to deposit your tithes and offerings.

For the first several weeks, we will not engage in congregational singing.  What we will do, however, is project the songs on the screen so we can follow along and reflect on the words while the musicians play. Awkward I know, but the spray from singing is one of the greatest ways the virus is spread.  

We must not hug or shake hands before, during, or after the service. I know that will be hard for all of us, but remember it won’t always be this way.

 We will dismiss the service by individual rows, beginning at the back first and working our way toward the front of the sanctuary. Each row must exit the building before the next row recesses.

We must not gather in the foyer before or after the service. If you would like to talk with others, please do so out on the parking lot where there is fresh air and plenty of room to distance from one another.

There will be no Sunday School, Children’s Church or nursery provided at this time. Wednesday Bible study will remain suspended as well.  Right now we are focusing on building back a strong worship service. At the appropriate time we will add these services back.

For a time, our worship service will be abbreviated due to the fact we are in an enclosed area.

If you do not feel comfortable gathering in a group setting at this time, we will continue to livestream the 11:00 service. Come when you feel that it is safe.

I know this sounds like a lot of does and don’t. We may not even like some of these precautions, but we must adhere to them if we want to safely gather and worship.  

Remember, this is temporary. As awkward as this may seem, it will pass and we will get back to a more normal form of worship, but for this to work, and all to stay safe, it will take all of us working together following the guidelines as set forth. In time these guidelines will slowly be relaxed.

Let’s stand together and make the best of what we have to work with.  These are the baby steps to getting back to a sense of normalcy.

Blessings,

Pastor Craig

 

Tuesday, May 5
Good Morning, Church Family,
The purpose of this email is to share when and how we will resume worship services. We will begin meeting on Sunday, May 24. You may wonder why we are waiting until Sunday, May 24. The answer is so that we can make sure that as the state begins to reopen, there is no spike in the spread of the corona virus. There is great debate in the medical community as to whether we are reopening too soon. Therefore, we want to make sure that as we begin to congregate, we are doing so safely. Safety is the number one concern as we begin gathering for worship. Waiting the extra two weeks will give us the certainty we need to move forward.
 
In order for us to safely worship, we will offer two options for onsite worship, one at 9:30 and one at 11:00. This will help us to keep our groups smaller and to allow more room to spread out around the sanctuary for safety. Both services will be identical. For those that are not yet comfortable gathering at the church, the 11:00 service will continue to be streamed on Facebook Live. During the worship services, the nursery will not be open, nor will there be children’s church. For now, children will need to stay with their parents. 
 
For the time being, Wednesday night classes and Sunday school will remain suspended until we are given the green light that closer contact in smaller classrooms is safe.
 
For now, our focus will be on building strong and healthy worship services. As we are able, we will add other opportunities (i.e. Sunday school, Wednesday Bible studies, and nursery). 
 
The first of next week I will send out another email on the precautionary measures we will need to take in order to stay safe.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
 
Blessings,
Pastor Craig
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wednesday, April 29
Good morning, Church Family,
 
I hope you have had a good week and have discovered some creative ways to keep yourselves occupied while self-quarantining.  As the “lockdown” is slowly being lifted, we will soon be able to congregate for worship. When we get within a week of being able to congregate, I will send out guidelines that we will need to follow so that everyone stays safe. We will not rush to get back to the way we were pre virus. Life around the church will be different for several months. We will need to be patient with the process. The key is to use sound judgment as 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us. As we move forward, we will continue to monitor the activity of the virus and respond accordingly. 
 
Please don’t forget to send me your God moments. We all are encouraged when we get to hear how God is working in our midst. If you want to share, but do not want your name used, simply let me know, and I will share your moment without your name.
 
Our songs for Sunday are as follows: “How Great Is Our God”, “Build My Life”, “Surrender”, “Sunnyside of Life”, and “Wayfaring Stranger”.  We are now able to expand beyond traditional hymns because we now have a live stream copyright license to most all the Christian songs. The scripture reading for Sunday will be James 1:2-3.
 
Please do not forget to send your tithes and offerings to the church. You can do so by mailing them to the church or by going to the church’s website at www.northgatebaptistchurch.com to give online.
 
Also, we are still working on improving the volume for Facebook Live. I appreciate your patience and your grace while we are still working on getting the bugs worked out.
 
Have a blessed and joyous day, and I will meet you Sunday at 11:00 on Facebook Live as we celebrate together our faith in God!
 Blessings,
 Pastor Craig
 
Wednesday, April 22
Good Morning Church Family,
We are entering our sixth Sunday of live streaming our Sunday worship service on Facebook. I must admit it feels a bit strange talking to the backside of a phone in an empty sanctuary. I thank God that I have Shane, Walker and Andy with me. Having them present is a great comfort.
As we continue to move forward, I know this separation is wearing on all of us, but I want to encourage you to stay strong. This will pass and one day, hopefully soon, we will be congregating in person, looking at each other’s smiling faces singing, praying and worshiping.
In the meantime, don’t forget to send in your God Moments; folks find them uplifting and comforting. It’s such a good reminder and an object lesson to all us that God is still in our midst. He is with us and working all around us. Let us give thanks.
Also, if you need a copy of the devotionals “In Touch” or “Daily Bread,” please let me know and I will deliver them to your mailbox. I will text you when they are delivered. A few members have already had theirs delivered.
Sometime in May the governor has tentatively planned for the state to begin phase one of opening our state back up. Knowing this is coming, I am studying the material that is coming out of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) on how to phase back into “on site” worship services.
As I get more clarification on how best to open back up in a safe manner, I will share it with you. From everything I am reading right now, it will be a slow open and very limited. We’ll have to be creative and patient until we can work through these phases until we’re back to normal. Pray for wisdom and discernment as we begin to explore the best and safest way to begin opening up once we get the green light. The scriptures remind us to use sound judgment, and that is what I want for us.
Thank you for your continued financial support of the church, your prayers for each other and the notes of encouragement that you’ve sent in. See you Sunday! Don’t forget to invite a friend to worship with us live on Sunday. Remind them they can wear their pajamas and sip on a cup of coffee or hot tea. We are giving a whole new meaning to a relaxed atmosphere.
Blessings,
Pastor Craig
 
Wednesday, April 15
Good Morning Church Family,
Don’t forget to send in your favorite hymns; those who have, thank you.  Also, don’t forget to send in your God moments from this week.  I will share them with the church family on Sunday during the worship broadcast.  If you do not want your name shared, let me know and I will share the moment without your name.  God moments help strengthen us, give us courage and encourage us.
 
Also, if you are still able to support the church financially, you can send your tithes through the mail to: Northgate Baptist Church, 301 Pinewood Drive, Beckley, WV 25801, or you can go online to the church’s website, www.northgatebaptistchurch.com, and on the homepage you will see "Click Here to  Give Online” at the top of the page. Click on it and it will take you to the “My Donation” page. You can give using a credit card or a debit card.  This is a secure website.
 
Also, check on your elderly neighbors and see if they need any supplies from the store. This is a great way to minister to your neighbors. Check on each other through emails, texts or calls. 
 
We will get through this together. In the meantime, let’s continue to pray for each other, encourage each other and wait with expectant hearts for the day we can once again gather in the sanctuary and lift our voices as one as we give praise to God. 
 
Blessings,
Pastor Craig
 
 
 
Wed., Apr. 8
Since the kids aren’t going to be out playing on such a wet and rainy day, this might be a good day to introduce them to baking. Here is a recipe for Unleavened Bread that you can make with your kids in preparation for our Easter Service on Sunday. 
 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
 
Add all ingredients to list
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Mix flour, oil and salt together in a bowl; add water and mix using a pastry cutter until dough is soft. Form dough into 6 balls and press into disks onto the prepared baking sheet using your hands.
With a butter knife mark a cross in the center of each disk
Bake in the preheated oven until bread is cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. 
Now you are ready for Sunday communion, and you have just made a memory with your children.  While you are baking the bread with your children, this is a wonderful time to tell the story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, being placed in the tomb and rising on the third day. It is a great time to explain that this is our hope in Jesus Christ. 
In closing, remember one of the best ways we can take care of each other during scary times is to pray for one another. 
Blessings,
Pastor  Craig
 
Monday, April 6
Hello, Church Family,
I hope you and your family are doing well.  I appreciate all who have been watching the Sunday service on Facebook Live or listening to the audio on the church’s website. Awkward for us all, I know, but together we will get through this.
 
On the other side of this national quarantine, we have the potential to be stronger in our faith—by using time to read the Bible and by exercising times of fervent prayer. Also, this time allows us the potential to grow stronger and closer as families—by taking time to play games, go on hikes or read a good book together. What a great time to reconnect with the kids and spouse. 
 
This Sunday is Easter so do not forget to get your grape juice and “yeast free” bread or crackers, so you will be ready to celebrate communion. If you don’t have any unleavened bread, use what you have. God is more interested in the heart than in the makeup of the bread.
  
Last week our church worked with the Salvation Army to pack and deliver boxed food to several residents at Wildwood House. The recipients were very grateful for the boxes. 
 
Let me mention our finances. Speaking about money is not one of my strengths, but I want to keep everyone apprised as to where we are financially. Our offerings the past two weeks have been down, not alarmingly low, but off by a couple thousand dollars.  With all that is going on, it is to be expected. Folks are having their hours reduced or worse they are being laid off. If you are able to continue tithing, please do. You can contribute online at the church’s website, www.northgatebaptistchurch.com, or you can mail your check to the church at 301 Pinewood Drive, Beckley, WV 25801. 
 
In closing, if you have a favorite hymn you would like to hear during the worship service, please let me know by text, email or by calling the church office (304) 255-4021.  We will do our best to honor your request. Also, please send in your “God Moments” so that I can share them during the Sunday service. They are a great encouragement to us all! We all need encouragement right now!
 
Blessings, 
Pastor Craig
 
Tuesday, March 24
Hello Church Family,
I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. I want to bring you up to speed on how we will do Sunday morning worship while we are under the Governor’s Stay at Home Order. Also, I will mention a mission opportunity we are working on to help our community.
 
  1. Concerning Sundays: We will now go strictly to Facebook Live on Sundays. We will not congregate at the church. Therefore, I want to encourage all of us to congregate in our homes as we meet together for the live stream service. This is one of those rare moments where you can go to church in your pajamas.
  2. Food For Those in Need: I am in the early stages of talking with the Salvation Army about how we might partner to help feed our elderly in the community that can’t go out or are fearful to go out, and those who have children at home who are without their school lunches. As we flesh out this opportunity there may be opportunity for you and your family to go out and deliver food to the front doors of our elderly. If this works out, we may need help packing bags.  I will keep you posted as this ministry develops.  Be praying and see if this is a ministry God would like for you and your family to get involved in. 
  3. Thank You: I want to thank everyone who sent their tithes and offerings through the mail or contributed online through our church’s website. Your commitment and generosity of sharing will keep us going during this time of our physical separation.
  4. Look Around: Check on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly, and meet whatever needs you can. Let’s let our lights shine as we reach out and minister to those around us.
We will get through this together. Our love for each other and our prayers bind us together as one as we serve our Lord. And remember, no matter how dire the situation, no matter how bleak things may look in the coming weeks and possibly months, remember this—“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).  
 
Blessings,
Pastor Craig