COUPLE OFFERS TO PAY FOR ZOOM FOR SMALL CONGREGATIONS
Editor’s Note: Brian and Karen Massey are offering to purchase a Zoom subscription for small churches that can’t afford on. If your church fits, or if you know of one that does, contact Brian by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
By BRIAN MASSEY
Who would have thought in January of 2020 that almost the entirety of the churches across America would close their doors in a matter of weeks? It sorta caught us flat footed (took us by surprise), like a sprinter not ready for the firing of the gun. However, many of the churches jumped into action and took off with a Zoom, Zoom, Zoom as we searched for a way to continue meeting regularly. I am sure everyone has interesting stories of how awkward and difficult it has been to adapt. It is an odd feeling to look out at the empty chairs and try to preach or teach like someone is there. At my home church, some of the kids loaned us their stuffed animals and gave the stuffed animals signs that said Amen and Hallelujah. My pastor, Bruce Tentzer, tried to tell jokes but, the stuffed audience didn’t crack a smile…tough crowd.
Even though the Covid-19 pandemic has brought challenges, it has also presented opportunities. Pretty early in the days of cases first being reported, I felt like the LORD wanted me to present myself as a person willing to be on the front lines even without medical training. So, strapping on Romans 8:2 after reading John G. Lake’s writing called “Law of Life and Law of Death”, I very simply believed it and decided that I wanted to live like that. So, I spoke with my wife and kids and we prayed about it. We all agreed that we could endure a little hardship because this is what Houses for Healing is all about… it’s the call of the LORD on my life to serve Him and others.
Along the way, someone asked me to describe Houses for Healing to them in a few sentences. I told them Houses for Healing is a venue. It’s a place where churches, the Body of Christ, take care of the sick. And, the churches of the Big Country send them to us. It’s a way to bring the church together around a need we all have in common. It’s a way to connect with each other and display evidence to the world of our being ONE through our identity in Jesus.
But, what if the sickness could make the church sick?
I was speaking to a pastor of a smaller congregation where a large percentage of his congregants are older. I asked what they had been doing to continue in “flock continuity”… fellowship. For, we know from scripture that fellowship pretty much surrounds all of the wonderful stories we read and learn from. This particular church had not been meeting and had only recently obtained Zoom. They are in process of learning how to implement it. I thought of the bi-vocational ministers who are barely holding on, I thought of small congregations where there are no tech savvy members who can do all of the little things needed for streaming a service. I wondered if any pastors would throw in the towel because technology has outgrown them and life has outpaced them.
We have compiled a distribution list for churches throughout the Big Country of around 750 churches. It took a lot of effort because oftentimes, there would not be a Facebook page nor a website and we could not tell much by Google Maps.This tells me that technology may be uncomfortable for some and I understand that. I wonder about those congregations, especially where most are older and who might be afraid to gather due to the risk. These faithful and loyal do much of the giving and doing that keeps the church going. It is a hard thought to consider a hard and drastic change in their level of involvement.
Wouldn’t it be terrible if we look back 6-8 months from now and see how covid-19 brought the closure of 20%-30% of our churches? According to Gallup, the church has been in a steep decline for years and many churches do not have cash reserves to last but only a few months. The reopening of the economy, coupled with the issue of no vaccine, could potentially lead to a second wave. A second wave could be overwhelming for the congregations who have been barely hanging on. Together, we must be diligent and strive to continue standing, especially when we are the ones with the answer of Truth.
We want to help. Zoom might not be the best way to keep everyone connected but, it’s something. If you know of any small churches that would be willing to let my wife and I purchase a Zoom subscription for them (comes with some training and help setting it up), please let me know. If churches are not able to congregate with the relaxed stay at home orders (maybe due to concerns about being in close quarters), please let me know. We will try to help. This is what the LORD has called me to do and why we started Houses for Healing… helping and strengthening the Body of Christ.
[Hebrews 10:23-25] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
When the LORD looks throughout the land for someone standing in the gap and making up the hedge, let Him see us, the Church of the Big Country.