Pastors take to streaming as congregations shelter in place

Pictured is Reverand Darias G. Bowers, as he preaches the gospel. Photo by A-Chai’a Jackson

The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced pastors and other professionals to serve their communities virtually, to lessen the effects of COVID-19.

For the past couple of weeks people in micro and macro communities have been impacted socially by the widespread pandemic, which has caused frustration.

Apostle Louise Aaron, a devoted woman of God at Rose Temple Apostolic Church of Bushnell,in Sumter County, shared her views on live-streamed worship.

“If members pay attention to the word the pastor is giving, they can surely gain something from the experience, whether it be from home live-streamed or from television,” Aaron said. “They don’t have to be physically present to be reached by the word of God. I personally never tuned into any live-stream services as an apostle of my own ministry, however, I have tuned into over-the-phone conference calls and television streaming of services.
“I was touched by different pastors’ opinions of what is going on during a time like this,” she added. “Everybody does not have the same opinions or scriptures about COVID-19. Sometimes people may not have the revelation of the word and just talk to be heard instead of connecting to people for them to gain an understanding.”

Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, the church community has also shown ways to make the best out of any situation through creativity. It’s all part of an effort to reach souls from home.

A-Chai’a Jackson engages in prayer on Facebook LIVE. Photo by A-Chai’a Jackson

The Rev. Darias G. Bowers, a FAMU graduate, is a proponent of virtual worship and all that it encompasses during a time like this.

“I believe pastors and their churches have done an excellent job adapting to the changes caused by the COVID-19. Not only by streaming their worship experiences, but by finding creative ways to interact throughout the week,” Bowers said. “During my time of living in Tallahassee, I worshipped at New Mt. Zion AME Church, under the leadership of Dr. Anton Elwood, and I was able to worship there virtually on Sunday, just as I could any other time.

“I was also able to see and engage in other worship experiences, both in Florida and Georgia, virtually. The church has shown us how to make the best out of any situation. I believe the word of God can still be received, regardless of the mode in which it’s given — virtually or in person. However, it’s my personal belief that there is nothing like the in-person experience that we feel and experience from being in the sanctuary,” he said.

While pastors believe in prayer and faith to heal the land during this time, they still work to take cautionary measures in the members’ interests. Pastor Jermaine D. Gordon Sr., at St. James Missionary Baptist Church, said he is concerned about his members’ safety.

“The process has been difficult, but Facebook messenger, Facebook Live and the conference call resources have been very helpful. Oftentimes the technological issues can be problematic because everyone is trying to use these virtual methods at the same time. And you have to have some type of contact with members every day. Whether that means to have some type of devotional engagement,” Gordon said. “If we put ourselves in certain situations, certain consequences are to be expected.
“The church has got to be fluid during the evolving times. The church is in a place where they need to return back to God,” he said.