TERLTON — Pastors all across the country are finding new ways to gather in the era of social distancing
In Columbia South Carolina, Pastor Richard Humphries, the senior adult pastor at the First Baptist Church of Columbia, says his church sometimes relying on previously recorded sermons and worship services
George Marty Brock is the pastor at the First Baptist in Olive, Oklahoma. His church is still meeting just not in the church.
As the pandemic reached Olive, Brock came up with “Church on the lot.”
Church member’s park their cars in the parking lot and they can experience the service with others from the safety of their cars – it comes complete with a live stream service on Facebook.
Roger White, a pastor at New PathWays Baptist church is doing a similar parking lot service, but his voice is reaching inside the cars through the radio using a short range transmitter.
In rural Oklahoma, one of the first communities to see a positive case of the virus was the community served by Justin White. Since the social distancing rules went into effect, Justin White preaches to his congregation at Terlton’s First Baptist, through a live stream of the service and the church’s YouTube channel — just to make sure anyone who misses the message live can watch any time so no one is left out and his congregation can stay connected.
Many of the pastors say the virus has affected their community. In South Carolina, Pastor Humphries says the stores have cut down the number of people allowed in any given area.
The rules for gatherings have also hit other church activities, such as youth programs and small group meetings.
Brock wants to make sure young people stay connected during this time and has found success with inviting teens to share their own stories.
White’s youth groups meet via Zoom video conferencing to make sure they can keep in touch. Students use cell phone apps to stay social during the week so that no one is left bearing their own burdens and stress during a time of a global crisis.
While the virus is keeping people physically away from each other, the pastors say they are working to make sure it does not keep people from being emotionally or spiritually distant.