North Point Community Church, one of the nation's "most-mega" megachurches, is suspending in-person worship for the remainder of 2020 over coronavirus concerns.
Located in Atlanta, North Point has seven locations in the region. The campuses host over 30,000 believers for Sunday services. From now until at least the end of the year, all services will stream online.
"Even if we did reopen, we certainly would not be able to create a quality adult or children's worship experience with social distancing protocols in place," Andy Stanley, founder and senior pastor of North Point, said in a video message.
CNN reports North Point made this decision due to its sheer size and the difficulty in contract tracing: "'North Point came to the decision because of its size and the difficulty that poses for contact tracing,' Stanley said. "'If a church member is diagnosed with coronavirus after attending a service,' CNN reports Stanley as saying, "'North Point would be responsible for contact tracing, or identifying anyone who could've been exposed to that sick person.'"
North Point is not the only megachurch campus to shutter its doors. T.D. Jakes' The Potter's House is closed "in light of global precautions for the coronavirus, and to ensure we are adhering to the direction of our leading health and government authorities." The Potter's House closed before North Point but has not indicated it would stay closed through 2020. Other megachurches such as Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have vowed not to close.
On Dec. 31, 2019, I prophesied about a global realignment beginning that would include churches.
"Megachurches as we know them will start waning in popularity over the next decade as people look for greater connection. Those who realign with a family focus that puts faces over numbers will survive and thrive and ultimately birth many smaller churches where true community can be sustained.
"Am I prophesying the end of megachurches? No, I am saying they will morph and change in focus, and the ones that don't will see decline.
"The church at large will see a clear line drawn between those who allow the Holy Spirit in and those who shut Him out. Seeker-friendly churches will serve the purpose of drawing in the lost, but will not sustain revival with a robotic flow that leaves no room for the Spirit of God to move in power.
"As 1 Corinthian 4:20 says, 'The kingdom of God is not in word but in power." The Passion Translation puts it this way: "For the kingdom realm of God comes with power, not simply impressive words.'"
Is this part of the global realignment of churches?
Jennifer LeClaire is senior leader of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, founder of the Ignite Network and founder of the Awakening Blaze prayer movement. She is author of over 25 books. Find her online at jenniferleclaire.org or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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