Wesleyan churches are thinking outside the box when it comes to ministering during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some ways that churches in the Pacific Southwest District are communicating the gospel as Easter approaches.
New Hope Community Church (Escondido, California) has a food pantry that is open for folks who need supplies. They are also a drop-off point for “More than Apples,” a new organization that is committed to feeding families.
Skyline Church (La Mesa, California): In the first three weeks of online services they have seen 41 salvations. This number does not include Palm Sunday. The church is also mobilizing folks to make house deliveries of toilet paper, food and other needed items. Additionally, they have partnered with ‘Mask for COVID’ as a collection site. This organization drops off dozens of masks at the Skyline property, where people can come by to pick up.
Neighborhood Christian Fellowship (Covina, California) has adopted an apartment complex to provide food and other necessities. These apartment units are just down the block and are occupied with under resourced people. Each week the NCF family delivers food and other supplies. The online service was shared far and wide. Dr. Phil Stevenson, district superintendent, received a text message from a friend who does not attend the church, but she started a watch party. Some of her other friends were sending her text messages saying thank you so much for sharing the service and that they wanted to start watching every week. Neighborhood Christian Fellowship has received financial gifts each week from people who have viewed the services online but have no connection to the church.
Village Church (Red Rock, Arizona) compiled and delivered care packages to emergency room workers at a Tucson hospital in partnership with a local Starbucks. The church is also providing “Easter in a Box.” People sign up for this online, and it is delivered to their doorstep. The box includes an Easter devotional, material for kids, communion elements, a step-by-step plan on how to receive Christ and links to the church and online Easter Service. So far, the majority of folks who have signed up to receive these boxes are not part of the church.
Church of the Redwoods (McKinleyville, California): Pastor Chuck Clark wrote an article published in the Eureka Times Standard regarding the peace we all can have in the midst of the COVID-19 storm.
Open Arms (Scottsdale, Arizona) affixed small American flags on 48 street light poles located on the street that runs by the church campus. They also placed a sign nearby that said, “We are in this together-Hope is not Cancelled @openarmsaz #forscottsdale.”
Faith Legacy Church (Sacramento, California) reported that they received 112 percent of its needed budget for March.
Christian Faith Fellowship (Tucson, Arizona) shared that in the first two weeks of online church, it has received more than the average giving from the previous four months.
Cornerstone Church (Moreno Valley, California) has had up to 360 watch-throughs. This represents people who have watched their service from beginning to end. Prior to the shutdown they were averaging 60 on a Sunday morning.
Antioch Wesleyan Church (Antioch, California) rents out a space for a preschool that has had a significant reduction in number of kids. The church has forgone the April rent so the pre-school could use these funds to pay staff. Additionally, Antioch Wesleyan continues to feed 55 homeless each week.
East Parkway Church (Granite Bay, California) made arrangements to rent their facility to an Iranian Church. However, with the ‘Shelter in Place’ order the church has yet to use the facility. Yet, as a gracious act of generosity, the Iranian Church took up a love offering for East Parkway knowing this time would be a hardship for them.
Chester Wesleyan Church (Chester, California): A gentlemen, who has lived across the street from the church for over a year but never attended the church, reached out to the pastors and assistant pastor as they left the church building. They led this man to the Lord, keeping in play social distancing. Salvation happened from six feet away!