Though Church Doors Remain Closed, Browser Windows Are Always Open

Churches offering streaming church services to offer hope amid COVID-19

April 28th, 2020

By Sarah McCormick

Churches across the nation are taking to social media and online streaming services to offer hope, prayer, love, and a sense of calm during the current COVID-19 outbreak. In doing so, people from all walks of life are discovering faith, recommitting to their faith, and finding hope for the first time in months.

Online church services have been around for some time now, but they have seen incredible growth over the course of the pandemic. Forbes Magazine is reporting a 70% increase in internet usage as of March 25th, and much of that is attributed to streaming services and streaming other sources of online entertainment and engageable content, such as music and church services.

Many churches nationwide have jumped on board the live streaming bandwagon to offer their congregations a way to get their fill of faith and hope, while congregating via live chat platforms with other churchgoers. Pastors are still able to connect with their church, songs are still able to be sung, and although service looks a bit different for all involved right now, it proves that even in times of fear and isolation, God’s light still shines.

Stories are being told of the countless people reportedly gaining a new sense of hope and purpose in these times. “The great thing about watching church online is that it’s convenient for you, no matter where you are in life or what you’re doing. Just because churches had to shut their doors, doesn’t mean Jesus can’t still be found,” states Lori A.  

Says Caitlin T., “Going to church online allows me to set time aside to focus on scripture and worship instead of just prayer or reading the Bible throughout the day. It helps me to focus on and renews my faith. It also helps to know there are others doing the same…focusing on Christ during this time of uncertainty.”

One of the largest Christian Holidays of the year, Easter, saw record-breaking numbers of attendees for online services. Across America, families gathered on their couch and live-streamed from their TV’s and devices, still in pajamas with bowls of cereal and mugs of coffee. Services for all of America were unlike anything anyone has ever seen before.  

One of the greatest perks of online worship services are that friends and family members from abroad are able to join in and watch together as if all in the same room, bringing a sense of closeness even from afar. Churchgoers are also reporting how easy it is to invite people to church by simply sharing a graphic and link, rather than fear the rejection of inviting someone in person.

Regardless of the fact that churches aren’t able to hold normal services, many churches across the nation have also taken to parking lot church service, where churchgoers drive into the parking lot of their churches, remain in their vehicle, and watch a service with their windows down. For some, its been their saving grace. “Drive-in church is the biggest blessing for me right now. It’s helped me maintain a sense of community where most of the time I feel isolated and alone. If they have it, I am gonna be there,” states Amy L.

This is just one example of American ingenuity and innovation that has proved to be incredibly helpful, lighting the way in these dark times.

For those anxious to get back to church in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis is set to make an announcement regarding re-opening the state tomorrow – so good news may yet be on the horizon. Stay tuned to Tampa Free Press as we continue to bring you the latest as it unfolds.

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