Local churches rally to keep Sunday services alive during virus

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CoVID-19 has changed life as we know it, including church.

Dr. Zane Brown, director of missions for Colleton County, received dozens of phone calls from local pastors asking what to do about church services.

While most churches in the area called off services, Dr. Brown believed that this is the time when church is needed the most. Church members consider themselves part of a larger family and want to be with each other for support, yet many residents and citizens are fearful of this virus.

Brown’s position as local missionary for the Southern Baptist Convention means that he assists 32 pastors in pooling their resources and helping churches work together to promote Jesus and provide opportunities to serve the community. While he is accustomed to dealing with a variety of issues and concerns in the churches he works with, the COVID-19 virus posed a new problem.

What was to be done to help people spiritually while still ensuring the safety of church members?

Brown encouraged pastors to think of church in a new way — outdoors with trailers, cars, sound systems and low boys.

Nova Church responded with a tractor-trailer and lowboy, a sound system, tents and an radio AM transmitter that can be heard on car radios that are parked nearby. Approximately 50 people enjoyed the service as they sat apart in lawn chairs or in their cars with their families and pets. The service was even Skyped for a member in the armed forces.

Pine Grove Baptist also had church outside, while Ashton Baptist, Ruffin Baptist and Zion Baptist combined forces for a service on the lawn. All to continue this arrangement of the unforeseeable future.

Brown encourages more churches to follow suit. “Churches are the body of Christ, showing patience and peace while meeting needs in their communities. Church is needed more than ever before,” he said.

“This is really nothing new; it’s just new to us,” said Brown. “Hundreds of years ago, while communities were in the process of building a church, people often met outside under a tree for church. Even today, our missionaries across the world worship this way every Sunday,” he said.

According to Brown, while all of the pastoral messages were different, they all had the same theme this past Sunday: God loves us and is in control of the world. “If we have faith in the Lord, we have nothing to fear from this virus. We have to behave responsibly, but if we have a close relationship with Jesus, we know that our future is secure in heaven and there is nothing to fear.”

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