During unprecedented times amid COVID-19, many churches are hosting services online through live-streaming platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.
Trevor Gentry, associate college pastor at The Way, one of the Sunday evening worship services at Indiana Avenue Baptist Church focused on reaching college students, according to its Facebook page, said the whole church has been doing services online on Sunday mornings. As a college ministry, they are still having their services at 8 p.m. on Sundays. The only difference is the services will be live-streamed.
“Our church as a whole, (Indiana Avenue Baptist Church),” he said, “our church will have two online services on Sunday morning and for college we will have a special service Sunday night as well.”
The whole group of students attending have been sent a mass text containing a link, he said. From there, they can watch the livestream.
Additionally, The Way normally has community groups throughout the week, he said. The leaders of the groups were set up with Zoom accounts, and they are able to still host groups through Zoom.
“Students need community now, almost more than they did before,” he said. “That was a big deal for us. It’s great to have online services, but how are we going to make up for a lack of community?”
Now more than ever, Gentry said, they are relying on social media. Someone is posting a daily devotional on their Instagram.
Kevin Young, senior pastor at St. John’s United Methodist Church, said those at the church have been moving very quickly to try and follow all of the Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
“During the week, I have been doing little five-minute live streams from my home,” he said. “Beginning the second Sunday of Lent, we dismissed all services, closed the building, everybody went home.”
Those at the church have been operating on a bare bones crew, he said. They have a piece of tape on the floor that is exactly six feet to remind them what six feet looks like.
“We have a 7:30 sunrise service, that is a very brief service, live streamed,” he said. “That is sort of the crack of dawn on Easter Sunday, just to begin to celebrate Easter.”
This will be followed with a full Easter service at 10:30 a.m., he said. The service will also include communion.
“It’s going to be an interesting experience,” Young said. “How do you do that with any meaning when no one is in the building?”
Those at the church are doing everything they can to make it feel as normal as they can, he said. It is crazy to be irresponsible and not only put their own health at risk, but also affect the health of the entire community.