‘There is power in connection’: Valley church congregations double as Easter moves online

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Local pastors say while it's not how they planned Easter to be, the church will shine on.

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — During a crisis, the church is known to be a beacon of hope. But how can it do that while its doors remain shut?

When Lenten season began, most church-goers probably didn’t expect to be giving up quite this much.

When everything is taken away, what are the things that are still there? We still have our families, and we still have our friends, and we still have our churches.

Tim Seidler, Lead Pastor at The Experience Church

As many in the world turn to the church, meeting in-person is what leaders believe to be going against God’s call.

We’re in unprecedented times, and as the church, it’s interesting because we’ve always been taught to love our neighbor. But right now, loving our neighbor means staying away from our neighbor.

Tim Seidler, Lead Pastor at The Experience Church

At C3 we want to invest in ourselves and the community, so what kind of message does it send if we are doing the exact opposite of what science, and officials, and doctors are recommending?

Adam Mick, Pastor at C3 Church

With congregations of thousands, though the doors aren’t open, local pastors say the numbers in attendance have near doubled. A typical Sunday at C3 in Wheeling would draw 500, but in recent Sundays over 800 tuned-in virtually, with many out-of-towners getting involved!

Our mission statement is to help everybody take their next step of faith in Christ. And really, that doesn’t change. So, now we have our services online, and now people can watch them at anytime; not just live. We also have mid-week Bible-studies where we’ve been able to have 40, 50, 60, people pop on these bible studies, and we actually get to see each other. Some of these folks are people that would have never gotten to come to an in-person Bible study.

Adam Mick, Pastor at C3 Church

Ohio Valley churches have gotten innovative in ways they’ve wanted to for a while! But is it the same? Being a place so defined by its community, there is one major disconnect.

When people do go through a crisis, when people are losing a loved one or going through difficult personal circumstances; not being able to be there with them in person.

Adam Mick, Pastor at C3 Church

Psychiatrists say praying during a crisis is actually therapeutic. But believers find showing up Sunday morning goes beyond routine; it’s essential. And at least for a while longer, congregations throughout the Valley won’t be gathering in person.

Just because we’re called to social distance doesn’t mean we have to social isolate. That’s a big difference between those two. Even if you have to get creative, pick up the phone; call somebody, ask for prayer. A phone call is way better than a text. But I would also say a video-chat is way better than a phone call because there is power in connection. If you need prayer or somebody to talk to, if you have questions about your faith or just feel lonely, don’t be afraid to reach out.

Adam Mick, Pastor at C3 Church

One of the most attended days for a church is Easter Sunday and now many will be in their Sunday best, at home. This unordinary circumstance is, in a way, startling. But the message remains the same.

Easter we celebrate that Jesus conquered the grave and that he is alive, so we want to celebrate what’s called in the Bible the living hope. Hope is something we put in ourselves or our abilities to control the circumstances, and for many of us, we’re in a circumstance right now that we can’t control.

Adam Mick, Pastor at C3 Church

You’ll always find what you’re looking for. Shift your focus from your fear to your faith because your faith is what will get you through your fear.

Tim Seidler, Lead Pastor at The Experience Church

To get connected with C3, head here.

To get connected with Experience, head here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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