Scranton, P.A. – Palm Sunday is normally a Sunday where millions of Christians will flock to church to celebrate what marks the beginning of Holy Week. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic a significant portion of churches have released statements that they will be streaming worship services online via their websites and Facebook. There are however, a few churches that have announced that they will be allowing members to attend services physically.
Tony Spell, a pastor from Louisiana announced in an interview with Reuters that, “We’re defying the rules because the commandment of God is to spread the Gospel”.
While there are pastors such as Spell who are seemingly defiant to their states lockdown orders, many pastors have acknowledged that while they will allow members to attend services in person, they will also be ensuring that they follow the proper social distancing guidelines.
Kelly Burton, the pastor of Lone Star Baptist Church in Lone Star, Texas wrote in a Facebook post, “Satan’s trying to keep us apart, he’s trying to keep us from worshipping together. But we’re not going to let him win.” Lone Star Baptist has also been offering church members the option to worship the Lord from the safety of your car in the church parking lot – something they’ve named “Church on the Lot”. The option will also be available for their Palm Sunday service.
Peckville Assemby of God, a church located in Blakely, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Dickson City, has also been inviting members to attend services as usual in their sanctuary. They also have adopted church in the parking lot – inviting people to tune to a radio station from the safety of their vehicles.
In an interview with WNEP the lead pastor, Terry Drost explained, “God still wants us to have church. But secondly, people need church,” continuing on to explain how, “People need faith; they need to be able to take in a sermon; they need to be able to hear the word of God and be able to sing corporately.”
Churches are not the only ones taking a massive loss during this pandemic. Nail salons, gyms, and public libraries have closed. The entertainment industry has taken a massive hit. Restaurants and bars are taking massive losses during this time – leaving the majority of their staff out of jobs right now. Any business that has been deemed as being “non-essential” has been told to close.
Many states have classified churches as essential businesses though, either allowing churches to remain open during this time, or placing restrictions on the amount of people in the church.
While the way that some of the pastors are getting their message across may raise a few eyebrows here and there, they are encouraging people in this time of uncertainty. Many people are now out of work, and struggling to figure out how to pay all of their bills. Special events such as weddings, proms and graduations have been cancelled leaving many devastated. Many people need encouragement during this time.
Pastors are supposed to not only show care for the members of their congregation, but the community around them.
By offering members the option to attend services physically, or from the safety of their own vehicles in the parking lot they are acknowledging the seriousness of the situation at hand, while encouraging people not to live in fear. These options also allow for people to gather together as a community and worship the Lord if they feel comfortable and willing.
This is a guest article by Elizabeth Louise. To contact Elizabeth, please reach out through The Liberty Loft website. Want to be a guest author, please check out our submission page for more info. Please consider donating to support The Liberty Loft so we can continue to deliver the content you find here.