May 21, 2020
“When will we be able to worship together again?”
“When will our church be open?”
These questions are being asked more and more. We’ve been thinking and praying about them for quite a while. They are important questions that impact thousands of people in southeast Michigan. However, there are no easy answers. We have a cross-departmental staff team studying, praying, researching, and planning the best way to move forward. We are also consulting with other multi-site churches regarding their reopening plans and timelines. While we understand God may lead other churches differently than He’s leading us, we are learning from each other in the process.
Instead of providing a timeline that most likely will be inaccurate, we would rather share the guiding principles informing our decisions as we move toward reopening the physical locations of our Oak Pointe Churches.
Principle 1: Oak Pointe is open right now.
Sure, the church buildings in Milford and Novi and the Village Theater in Canton are not open. But “the church” (i.e. the people who comprise the church) has never been more engaged and active.
- More people are engaged in our online environments than regularly attend weekly services
- Many are joining us for the first time online and filling out online connection cards. The barrier to entry has never been lower.
- Oak Pointers are actively sharing church services, videos, and posts on Facebook and Instagram, extending the reach of the church to many who would never walk through our doors.
- Life Groups are quite active, meeting weekly for encouragement over Zoom
- People are being generous in new ways through our Help and Hope campaign in response to community needs brought about by COVID-19.
Because Oak Pointe has never been more “open” than we are right now, we are not pressured to open our physical locations until conditions are acceptable.
Principle 2: Our witness to our neighbors and community is a top priority.
We know many in our congregation would be happy to be meeting now. While we both understand and respect that position, we also know that, due to the size of our spaces and services, many outside the church are watching us closely. We have been working diligently to be a good community partner through the season of COVID-19 and don’t want that work to be undermined by the perception that we are compromising public health by having large gatherings before it is deemed safe to do so.
Principle 3: Oak Pointe locations may reopen at different times.
Our Canton location, which just launched in February, is smaller in size. Milford is a mid-sized church, and Novi is large by comparison. We will reopen each location based on a timeline that makes sense in each context.
Principle 4: Plans are fluid. We will remain nimble and adjust as needed.
Just as we had to adjust quickly going into the COVID-19 crisis, we will do so as we come out. When we make adjustments to our schedules and plans, we will communicate them with you.
A Phased Approach:
We are prayerfully considering a phased approach to opening our three church locations. Implementation could look like the following:
- Come to weekends online for adults and kids
- Students & young adults participate in online environments
- Groups meet over Zoom
In Groups Phase:
- Get in a group for watch parties of weekend services
- Life groups begin meeting in homes
- Some smaller groups and studies could potentially begin meeting on site
On Location Phase:
- Come to weekends on site
- Student ministries and young adults begin meeting on site as well
- Life Studies, ESL, and other mid-week groups resume meeting on site
Until we can meet face-to-face, we will keep being the church online and in our communities. We will continue to both know Jesus and make Him known while we bring help and hope to our neighbors, to those in need, and to frontline workers.
Bob Shirock, Lead Pastor
Oak Pointe Offices Closed
March 23, 2020
By now you are most likely aware that the Governor’s Office has issued an executive order called, “Stay Home, Stay Safe” to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. Therefore, Oak Pointe Church is closing the Canton, Milford, and Novi Church offices Tuesday, March 24 through Monday, April 13. During this period, only people doing essential work (classified as “critical infrastructure workers”) will be allowed to come to the church office.
Weekend Services Continue
The response thus far to Oak Pointe Online (our digital weekend services, student ministry teaching, kids programming, and social media videos) has been overwhelmingly positive. A huge thanks to all of you for sharing Oak Pointe’s resources with your community of friends!
As for our weekend service, we will continue to record that at the Novi building using only a staff-based skeleton crew. We have been in dialogue with representatives from the Governor’s office to make sure we can continue creating our online service this way. Because we have no more than 20 people in a room that seats 1200, and are together for only part of a day, we are able to maintain proper social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.
If you missed church this past weekend, you can still watch it here.
Two Task Forces
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent needs it represents, Oak Pointe has established two key task forces that have been hard at work.
- The Community Care Team will coordinate the donation and distribution of resources to those in need.
- The Discipleship Resource Team will create resources to help us grow deeper with God through this challenging season of life.
Stay tuned to our website and future communications about key output from these teams.
We sure do miss seeing you! Please continue to use digital tools to connect as a church. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus in your community.
Cancelling All Meetings at Oak Pointe Family of Churches
March 16, 2020
- We are cancelling all regularly scheduled meetings at our Oak Pointe family of churches until at least April 6. This includes Life Studies, Renew Groups, Prayer Groups, Forged, ESL, Crossroads, and any other class or group that uses our facilities.
- We are discouraging group meetings, including Life Groups. We know this walks back our call to view worship services in Life Groups and watch parties, but the more we understand about the nature of COVID-19, the more appropriate measures must be taken.
Again, we are not doing this based on fear, but out of our desire to be a great community partner and for the health and welfare of our neighbors.
What we are not discouraging is connection! It is still vital that we stay connected with one another. So in the coming days, we’ll encourage you with things the people of Oak Pointe are doing to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities. We’ll also share some recommended digital resources for you to stay connected to God and each other. Stay tuned!
This past weekend’s message came from Psalm 46, and the final verses are a fitting encouragement to us as social distancing slows the pace of life.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
This is an unprecedented time in history, but since we serve a God who is the author of history, we can move forward in faith over fear!
Oak Pointe Weekend Services Suspended
Live Stream Only
March 12, 2020
Oak Pointe Family,
I have just completed several hours of meetings and discussions with both regional church pastors and key leaders of Oak Pointe Church, including elders and staff. What has emerged from those discussions, especially from our elder/staff meeting, is a consensus on how to proceed in the near future as we face the implication of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Please understand that we are not making decisions based on fear. Rather, the measures we are taking come from a posture of love for our community, a desire to protect the health of our congregation, and a heart to honor the public health requests of our government leaders. With that said, we are taking aggressive measures to combat the spread of the virus. This impacts all large group gatherings at our churches.
Weekend Services Suspended. Live Stream is ON! As of today, we are suspending all large-group gatherings over 100 people at our Oak Pointe family of churches in Canton, Milford, and Novi for this weekend. This means the following:
- No physical attendance at weekend services. We will live stream our weekend service and encourage our three congregations to join in (service details to come in a future email).
- No Rock (middle school ministry) tonight at Milford and Novi.
- No Sozo (young adult ministry) this Sunday evening in Novi.
Why are we taking these measures?
- Many have been communicating with us, expressing their compassionate concerns about the vulnerable in our community. We share these concerns and, as a larger church, feel the responsibility to to mitigate the spread of the virus.
- The Governor of Michigan has declared a state of emergency and recommended community mitigation strategies, including the recommendation that “organizations avoid large gatherings (e.g., greater than 100 people in a shared space) or move to smaller and staggered gatherings.” All weekend services at each of our churches is over 100 people.
Our COVID-19 Web Page We will post any updates and more detailed information to our new COVID-19 information page. Look for updates there, in future emails, and on our social media channels (e.g. Instagram and Facebook).
Again, it is so vital that we are praying for people around the world and in our state who have been and will be affected by COVID-19. May God be glorified! Our hope is in Him.
P.S. I know this email does not address all questions you may have regarding weekend services, mid-week meetings, studies and groups, etc. As we gain clarity on upcoming ministry activities, we will communicate that information with you.