Churches cope with COVID-19 to maintain sense of community

At times like these, people turn to religion for comfort and reassurance. COVID-19 is disrupting worship services but many churches are turning to technology to keep a sense community while their seats are empty.

Since last week, Houston’s First Baptist Church joined many area churches going exclusively online. This week, the church brought in new equipment to improve their virtual worship service and other programs like Bible study.

“It’s learning as we go, for sure,” said Ryan Langford, the church’s worship leader.

On Thursday, Houston’s First began recording the music with each of the worship teams from their four campuses.

“Each day that goes by we are met with a new opportunity that we’ve got to adjust for,” said Pastor Stephen Smith.

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Some of the challenges facing churches like Houston’s First include their operations amid the community’s growing needs due to income loss. Additionally, they are preparing for the possibility of a virtual Easter Sunday service.

“I do think it’s going to be a defining moment in the church of how we connect with people and how we stay connected online,” added Langford.

Houston’s First says thousands watched during last week's online services. Smith compares this time to Hurricane Harvey, and that gives him hope.

“When the rain falls, the church rises. That was something that we came back to again and again,” Smith told FOX 26.

Some churches that were still hosting in-person services last week including Second Baptist Church and the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston have now also moved all services online.