Our ministry has not stopped

Dear Wildwood Family,

Last week Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans to reopen the state of Florida in phases. I am grateful. We all look forward to inching closer to a more familiar sense of normalcy.

With this news you may be asking, “What does this mean for Wildwood Church?

We will be providing a virtual town hall very soon to address this and other related questions. Stay tuned as we finalize the details.

In the meantime, it is critical that everyone in our church family know this: our ministry has not stopped.

While the church building may be closed, Wildwood’s ministry has not and will not. Our church family has been creative in finding ways to continue to worship, meet, care and serve.

  • God has moved our hearts as we worship every Sunday online via our website. Many of you have interacted with each other in the chat feature online.
  • Many of our community and discipleship groups are connecting via Zoom for prayer, accountability, care and training.
  • New Bible studies and book conversations like The Cross Before Me are meeting via Zoom and YouTube for further equipping.
  • Kids and Student Ministries are reaching children, students and families in new and creative ways online. Parents have been getting weekly resources to help them invest in their children's spiritual growth and maturity.
  • Our Prayer Teams meet weekly via Zoom to pray on behalf of our church family.
  • Our Father's Storehouse continues to serve our neighbors freely by meeting their critical need for food in a safe drive-thru style pick-up in front of Wildwood.
  • Our Congregational Care teams meet weekly via Zoom to review current needs and coordinate efforts to care deeply for those who are sick, hurting, distressed, etc.
  • Marriage Mentoring continues to happen online.
  • Our Elders and Deacons continue to meet monthly online to handle the necessary responsibilities of church officers.
  • The Finance Team continues to meet online as they find ways to steward our financial resources freeing up others to focus on other ministries.
  • Our E-team meets monthly to ensure we are driving forward with the vision and mission, even in these very different circumstances.

I have been excited to see just how many leaders and volunteers have eagerly stepped up to minister in and through Wildwood Church in this season. Our ministry is alive and well, and our vision and mission remain unchanged. People are becoming mature and equipped followers of Jesus, and a global pandemic has not stopped His Spirit from using you.

Secondly, just like the state of Florida, we will likely reopen in phases.

The specifics of our plan are dependent upon the plans of Leon County and the City of Tallahassee. The major news networks will largely focus on the federal and state level. As you can imagine, there is no shortage of varying opinions on how leaders should go about reopening and when. However, our church family is in Tallahassee, and Tallahassee is our immediate concern. That being said, I am in regular communication with the leaders of our sister churches in Tallahassee. We are working with them to determine the wisest plan to move forward. I am also included in regular conference calls with city and county officials, including the Mayor’s office. We have different options to consider, but again, these are dependent on guidelines from Leon County officials.

Make no mistake, we are not making decisions based on fear. Our motivation has always been the same: to love God and love people.

We believe the majority of our people will not be significantly impacted by COVID-19. However, regardless of opinions on the scope or severity of the virus, it has been, and still is, a very real threat to a number of people who call Wildwood home. We have a responsibility to these brothers and sisters not just as Christ followers, but as church leaders, to love them well by caring deeply for them.

In order to do that, we will continue to honor the recommendations of our local, state, and federal authorities as they consult with medical and healthcare experts.

We plan to open the doors of the sanctuary again, and we will reconvene our physical worship services, but only when it is wise to do so. Love will drive that decision, not fear.

We will not fear the virus. We will not fear public or private opinion. We will not fear the Enemy who would like to use this opportunity to stir division.

We understand some will agree, some will not...and that’s OK. We will communicate our plan to reopen when our leadership has finalized it.

In the meantime, please continue to pray for us. Pray that God will continue to see disciples made, hearts moved, people cared for deeply, and more people served freely.

Whether we meet in a building or online, we are still the Church; and God is still using His Church to accomplish His local and global purposes.

As I’ve defined in our series on 1 Corinthians 13, “ministry” simply means meeting needs in love. That is exactly what you are doing. Keep doing it.

Together, let’s continue to minister well, all in the name of our King.

David McNeely,
Senior Pastor
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