By Mark Ellis —
Two lead pastors of a multi-site mega church based in Oklahoma City with 34 locations in 10 states have been quarantined after they were exposed to the coronavirus at a leadership conference in Germany.
Craig Groeschel, founder and senior pastor of Life.Church, was a featured speaker at the Willow Creek Deutschland Leitungskongress 2020, which had around 7,400 attendees. Bobby Gruenewald, Life.Church’s pastor and innovation leader, also attended the conference in Germany and is under quarantine.
“We will not be at church, don’t worry,” Groeschel said in a video posted to YouTube on March 4. “We’re going to stay completely away. We’re trying to do this with an abundance of caution to make sure that everybody’s safe.”
Life.Church was formerly known as LifeChurch.tv, Life Covenant Church, and Life Church. Most of the church locations are in the Midwest, centered in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas. The church is known for its YouVersion ministry, which publishes the Bible App — invented by Gruenewald.
The conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, started February 27th, but ended abruptly after one of the speakers contracted the coronavirus.
Pastors Groeschel and Gruenewald heard the news on their flight back to the U.S. They informed a flight attendant about it, along with health authorities after they landed.
“We decided to isolate ourselves for the full 14 days,” Groeschel said. “No contact with anyone whatsoever. The good news is I’ve got a lot of time to pray. I’ve written outlines through almost the end of May for sermon messages. I’m working out like crazy…Pastor Bobby will probably invent another app.”
Groeschel noted in the video that he and Gruenewald are not showing any symptoms of the virus: “We feel 100 percent great. We’ve only got a few more days before we will be completely cleared.”
He brushed off prayer requests for his physical condition. “I don’t think we need prayers for our health. I need prayers because I haven’t seen Amy or my kids in a long time.”
The speaker who tested positive for the coronavirus was never present during the actual event, but was involved with the preparations. Three people who had contact with the speaker have since tested positive for the virus, according to churchleaders.com.