OTTAWA — Many churches have turned to creative ways to get their messages out while the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on — some by live-streaming their services, others by YouTube videos.
“The biggest thing we’ve done is we’ve really upped our phone conversation. We try to call everybody at least once a week,” said Ben Geiser, senior pastor at Faith Assembly of Believers of Ottawa. “That seems to be going really well and we’ve encouraged our church people to also do the same thing.”
On Sunday the church members met in person for the first time since before Easter, but they had to stay in their cars in the parking lot, while the service was broadcast via a mini FM transmitter.
“What we’re finding is people just miss each other. We thought it’d be a good idea to try the drive-in sermon and music time. People would be able to see each other and least try to engage. This is one step of trying to get that community encouragement time back together,” Geiser said.
Bonnie Turner has been coming to the church for more than four years and was looking forward to seeing others again.
“I am so glad to be back here, not only to the church, but to all the people,” Turner said.
She believes the COVID-19 has tested the faith of many, but recognizes that God is in control.
“God took away our idols. He took away our football, took away basketball. He took away everything. Because he wants us focused on Him,” Turner said.
As businesses open up, churches will soon have the option for in-person services.
“Our biggest motto for this whole thing has been ‘wise but not fearful.’ We believe we need to be subject to our states and try to follow the best guidelines they give us within wisdom. And even as they do open us back up, we’re probably going to continue with the recommended social distancing, as well as mask, gloves, things of that nature and hand sanitizer. So we’re going to slowly phase back into this,” Geiser said.
He doesn’t think anybody was prepared for the pandemic.
“We’ve had to really figure out a way to allow the church to be more than what happens inside the walls,” Geiser added.
Church member Bill Gulker was excited as he helped organize the event.
“It’s a different way of reaching out to people,” he said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.