A Statesville, NC church is adapting to worship during the Coronavirus
Historically, Americans have flooded the churches and participated in days of prayer in droves following every major calamity. In times of crisis, we all lean heavily on our faith. The Calvary Baptist Church of Statesville, NC is no different. As a large but very close-knit congregation, CBC is accustomed to gathering and participating in group worship and other activities multiple times a week.
Since early March, however, the pastor of CBC has encouraged his flock to participate in alternative forms of worship. Pastor Chris Haizlip has chosen to protect regular churchgoers by closing the doors of the church to members, and live-streaming music and sermons from an empty building instead. The church also has a Facebook Live stream for mid-week Bible studies and prayer. In an effort to honor the Governor's request to halt large gatherings, the church as a whole has not met in person in over two weeks.
Finding Separate Togetherness
On Sunday, March 29th, for the first time in history, Calvary Baptist Church hosted a drive-in worship service. Church members were parked by security personnel at least six feet away from other cars, and instructed to stay within their parking space. The church building was still empty, closed to the public. Restrooms were not available, and parishioners could only approach the offering plates one at a time to offer their tithes - But they were together again, after two long weeks of lost fellowship.
The joy on their faces was evident, as they sang along to the music and beeped their horns in hearty accord.
The bluegrass band, Brady Rochester Family, brought a sound system loud enough that even the neighbors of the church building were able to participate and enjoy the service.
Pastor Haizlip, thank you for your concern for not only the spiritual need of your community, but the physical safety and wellness of your flock.
Those of us in attendance were inspired and challenged.
The church is not a building. The church us. WE are the church, and we carry our Lord and our faith in our hearts regardless of where we are or how we worship. Philippians 4 states:
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
And God is not dead, nor does he sleep.