The coronavirus may have forced churches to close their doors, but many Georgetown churches still found ways to share their message Sunday.
From Facebook Live to YouTube to other streaming options, most churches held service despite restrictions encouraged by medical experts to close their sanctuaries to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This was the first week, but several pastors cautioned these closures might be ongoing for awhile.
“This is the first time I have ever done Facebook Live, so this is a whole new experience,” said Mike Justice of the Georgetown Church of the Nazarene as he introduced himself. “I was originally going to do this at home, but I thought, you know what is worship if you’re not in church, sometimes, that’s how you feel this morning and I understand that.
“So, if we can’t bring you to church, we’ll bring church to you.”
Southland Christian Church closed each of its campuses including Georgetown, but featured as usual an online version. Technology is widely used by Southland, but the church used a low-key approach Sunday starting with online pastors Will Briggs and LeShawn Barber sitting behind a table each behind a laptop.
“Normally, I’m at the Georgetown campus, so a shout out to the Georgetown folks, and I’m from Nashville, so I’m wearing my Nashville shirt, so a shout out to you too,“ said Barber. “Today is a cool day because we probably have people from our Danville campus, our Lexington campus and our Nicholasville campus and really all over the place.”
“Really all over the world,” Briggs added before giving instructions on how to view the online sermon, how to hold your smartphone to get the best view, how to chat, how to tag for Instagram and other ways to “connect.”
Focus Wesleyan held services as usual in its sanctuary, but also streamed the service so those who might be compromised by the virus could stay home.
“Unless mandated by our government, Focus will continue on with our scheduled worship services for the month of March,” Pastor Alton Folz wrote in a Facebook message to his congregation. “We will also live stream our service through our Focus Facebook page for who are unable to attend.”
A “handful” of people attended services at Georgetown Baptist Church, but pastor Alan Redditt welcomed his online congregation and encouraged singing and worship at home.
“Are we live?,” said Georgetown pastor Alan Reddit. “Welcome Facebook friends, we’re so grateful that you are here streaming this morning. We are thrilled to have a handful of people, here, in the worship center.”
Justice explained why cancelling worship services at the churches was prudent and ncessary.
“This is a great time for the church to be the hope and to reach out and offer hope to the world that desperately needs hope,” Justice said. “Some say cancelling worship services is an over-reaction and fear mongering. But when it comes to how we, as a country, as individuals and most importantly as a community of faith handle this coronavirus, in the end it will be impossible to know if we did too much. But it will be very evident, very apparent if we under-react and not do enough.
“Our church’s response to the COVID-19 or the coronavirus in our midst is, something we need to talk about. We have put up hand sanitizers and we sanitize this place. We were all prepared to have worship this week, but as dominos kept falling and things kept getting cancelled, then warnings were put out and recommendations were put out for us not to worship together. We needed those recommendations. Some of you think we are crazy, but I think we are being safe. I would rather be safe than sorry in the long run.”
Mike Scogin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.