Update: Life.Church pastors' quarantine will end soon
An Oklahoma pastor quarantined after being exposed to COVID-19 has only a few days to remain in seclusion.
In a video shown at Life.Church worship services on Saturday and Sunday, the Rev. Craig Groeschel said he and another Life.Church pastor, Bobby Gruenewald, had been in quarantine for about 11 days and expected the self-imposed isolation to end soon. Still, Groeschel, the church's founder and senior pastor, said he planned to skip an additional weekend at church.
"The good news is that a few days from now we will be released and declared never to have had the virus. But just to be abundantly cautious, not only am I not at church this weekend, but I'm going to go ahead and stay away for a whole other week just to make sure we're incredibly cautious," Groeschel said in a video from his Edmond home.
News began circulating Wednesday that Groeschel and Gruenewald had been exposed to the coronavirus known as COVID-19. The pair had attended the Willow Creek Deutschland Leitungskongress 2020 Feb. 27-29 in Karlsruhe, Germany, where a scheduled guest speaker was diagnosed with COVID-19.
The pastors were on a flight home when they learned that they had been exposed to the coronavirus at the conference. They said they alerted a flight attendant and met with health authorities once they landed.
Groeschel discussed the situation with his church family on Wednesday in a video from his home that was distributed via social media.
"If it looks like I'm shooting out of my bedroom, the reason is it's because I'm shooting out of my bedroom," he said. "We decided to isolate ourselves for the full 14 days, no contact with anyone whatsoever."
Groeschel typically preaches live at Edmond Life.Church located in the same complex as the church's headquarters at 4600 E Second in Edmond. His taped messages are shown each Saturday and Sunday at the other 33 Life.Church locations spread across 10 states.
Both Groeschel and Gruenewald are well known in their own right — Groeschel as founding senior pastor of one of the country's largest churches (about 90,000 people attend weekend services), a prolific author and sought-after speaker. Gruenewald is the founder of the popular YouVersion Bible App, a free app that has been downloaded millions of times by people all over the world.
Neither man has developed symptoms of COVID-19.
"The good news is, as you can tell, I feel great, Pastor Bobby feels great," Groeschel said in his most recent video message.
"I'm not staying in this room for long. When I come back, I'm ready to preach."