Coronavirus Response Update - March 16
I met with members of our staff this morning to discuss and confirm our ministerial approach through the end of March. We wanted to share several updates with you.
First, we prayed for you - earnestly. We love you, and we are here for you.
Second, I know that there's a spectrum of responses to situations like this. Some think this is purely media-generated hype. Others consider it critical to "flatten the curve." Whether it is this or that or somewhere in between, I'm sure we can all agree that it's disruptive to our lives, families, and ministry.
And so, to help us keep moving forward together, please review the following updates:
We want to encourage the Willow Creek family to remain prayerful during this time. To encourage and equip our members for this, Pastor Drew and I will now lead daily times of prayer (Monday - Friday) on the Willow Creek PCA Facebook page starting tomorrow (Tuesday, March 17th). Pastor Drew will lead the morning sessions at 8:00 AM. I will lead the evening sessions at 8:00 PM. Our Minister of Member Care, Jeff Smith, will be joining us from time to time as well.
We encourage you to join these live feeds, passing along your non-confidential requests for prayer in the comment section or via our free ministry app. If you have a confidential request, please send it to us directly by email or using the ministry app.
We plan to communicate with our congregation through this unique time in the following ways:
- Willow Creek Daily Update - We will post a daily update to our website, social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), and the ministry app every evening at 7:00 PM (available at Google Play and the App Store).
- Willow Creek Weekly Email - We will continue to send our weekly email. However, we'll be adjusting the distribution schedule to Wednesdays. Please make sure you've subscribed.
- Willow Creek App "Push" Notifications - As necessary, we will send "push" notifications to those with the Willow Creek app. Please make sure you have it installed on your phone (see links above).
- Sunday Morning Announcements - We will include ministry-related announcements during our online Sunday morning worship services.
- Blogs - Pastor Drew, Jeff Smith, and I will either be starting or maintaining blogs on our church website. You can find my blog here.
We will offer online worship on Sunday mornings until further notice. We will make these services available on Sunday mornings, at 10:00 AM. You may access Willow Creek worship services on our Facebook page, YouTube channel, church website, and app (see links above). We will archive these services for later viewing.
You can make an offering during worship or at any time by texting GIVEWILLOWCREEK to 77977 (standard data and messaging rates apply). You may also visit the GIVE page on our church website (top right). Of course, you can mail an offering to Willow Creek Church, 4725 East Lake Drive, Winter Springs, FL 32708.
We've suspended all in-person worship services and ministry gatherings until further notice. Off-site small groups may meet at the discretion of their hosts and members.
Although our team continues to work, some in the office, we've decided to close the Willow Creek facilities until further notice otherwise. That said, we will still offer portions of our facility as a polling place for Tuesday's election.
Although our staff members continue to work, practicing "social distancing" while together at church, we've otherwise closed our office. If you need to contact a staff member, please do so directly. A full staff directory is available on our website and ministry app.
Professional cleaners will perform a facility-wide cleaning effort during this break so that we are ready to resume full activities at the earliest.
As you might know, Willow Creek Church is a designated polling place. Following the lead of state officials, portions of our facility will be open for voting tomorrow.
We keep a running list of those in our congregation who might be especially vulnerable in times of duress. If you or someone you know in our membership is in particular need, please contact Jeff Smith, Minister of Member Care, with the information. He will then coordinate with our staff, deacons, elders, and women's ministry leaders.
Heeding the counsel of local, state, and federal officials, we have suspended all hospital and long term care facility visitation until further notice.
A Personal Note
While we should all stay informed and ahead of the curve as much as possible, please remember that the news media and pundit class have little incentive to calm fears. Amid their reports, be sure to take ample time to read God's Word, pray, and meditate on his loving character and trustworthy promises. Remember: "God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" (1 Timothy 2:7).
You are very loved - by God and by us.
Grace and peace,
Kevin Labby, Senior Pastor
Willow Creek Church