As you are aware, concerns regarding COVID-19 have been circulating in recent weeks. Because this is a dynamic situation where additional information and recommended responses are rapidly changing, we have a team in place to closely monitor the situation. We want you to know that the health and safety of our members, guests, and the local Lakeland community is our priority at Heritage. As information develops, we will update this page accordingly.
Our Confidence as Christians
As Christians we realize that our hope and well-being is tied into something, actually Someone, much greater than a virus--Jesus Christ; however, as a church we must be prudent and responsible as we work alongside local health officials. Although the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 may naturally lead to panic, Christians must be the first to emphasize that there’s no reason to experience such anxiety (Matt 6:33-34; Phil 4:6). Our God is Creator God and every microbe and organism falls under his control.
Our Response to Date
Because we recognize the specialness of the local church, the body of Christ gathering under the preaching of the word and ordinances together, our response to the COVID-19 situation has been prayerfully and painstakingly considered. With this in mind, out of a clear conviction for love of neighbor and our local community, all in-person gatherings of Heritage Baptist Church have been suspended indefinitely. This includes Sunday morning, on- and off-campus Community Groups, Wednesday Night ministries, and all other regular and special events.
In order to continue ministering to the members of our church family and local community during a time when we’re unable to assemble, we plan to move to an online format for our main Sunday morning worship service. Since the New Testament is clear that local churches are not merely places or events that we attend but a people to whom we belong, it would be an oxymoron to assert that we can truly “take church online” or put forth a sort of “virtual church.” Rather, we take seriously our commitment to love our neighbors and the local community well, and so understand this solution to be temporary during an extremely unique crisis.
How should I respond to COVID-19?
Although our official gatherings for services and events will be restricted over the coming weeks, we encourage you to:
(1) Stay connected to the church body through personal community, calls, texts, and online engagement.
(2) Continue to faithfully give financially in a spirit of benevolence to our church family and on-going ministry efforts—you will find a link to Elexio Giving above and cash/checks may be mailed or dropped off at the church office. Our church office will maintain regular business hours at this time.
(3) Pray for those affected by this virus as we wait for Christ to return and bring about a day without sickness, suffering, and death. What a glorious day it will be!