Churches and area businesses have certainly seen a decline in large-group activities, in-person financial giving, and regularly scheduled gatherings. Nearly every business or church organization has either found ways to adapt or are looking for ways to become innovative to draw people into the community and closer to each other virtually in the midst of social-distancing orders from the government.
Therefore, most local church congregations have started to see a temporary but significant drop in tithing through the physical offering plate, yet an uptick in online financial offerings and giving. Additionally, these same churches have continued to bring the message of Jesus to the world by holding services online, sometimes multiple services per week.
True Love Christian (TLC) Church Pastor Eric Lacy preaches in a service held weekly every Sunday at 10:45 a.m. over the web. One of his most recent messages centered on being a light in and to the world. “When we choose to be a light, we are choosing to be a light over darkness,” he said.
Several times throughout his message, he referenced several ways people can show the love of Jesus in the things they do. One of the ways that TLC Church is helping to be that beacon of light is through their temporary grab-and-go lunches program. The church seeks to solve the hunger problem in local students by giving 200 lunches per day during the COVID-19 pandemic. If interested in contributing to this program, be sure to visit the website at tlchumble.org.
While many congregations and church bodies have found it a challenge to not be able to hold services in-person, especially on Easter Sunday, they have found new ways to share God’s Word in other ways that comply with social-distancing orders.
Director of Communications for Atascocita United Methodist Church Madeline Christensen said, “Since mid-March, we have been taking strides to keep our ministry going. We have moved all of our Sunday school classes and small groups to online settings — each of these events are still taking place via Zoom meetings. We are experiencing a terrific turnout.”
Christensen added, “Our family ministries director uses Facebook and Zoom to interact with families and children at our church, talking with them daily and offering tons of crafts, activities and devotionals to continue and enhance their Christian education. We, the members at AUMC, also have a group of ‘responders’ that are ready to help out any of the members of our congregation or people in need during these times. For information about these activities or assistance needed, refer to aumc.org.”
The recurring theme among many church leaders is that ‘the church’ is more than just a building with several walls. Congregational members are still meeting for devotional and Bible time. Technologies, such as Zoom.us or Cisco WebEx offer new ways to be and stay connected while also remaining safe during times of questioning, doubt and also a newfound hope in God.