Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Churches Offer Digital Services During Pandemic

When the community first started learned to social distance in response to COVID-19, many thought of the things they in daily life. Some of these activities were deemed essential, like grocery shopping and for some work. Other things, like music lessons and school work, were moved to virtual meetings. But many were unsure how worshipping God together would continue if people were not permitted to gather. 

The religious leaders of Irving responded immediately. Places of worship moved their traditional gatherings online. Some churches use YouTube or Facebook Live to lead worship, while others gather using virtual meeting platforms like Zoom. 

“We moved to an online format for our worship services,” Pastor Jared Richard, senior minister at First Baptist Church of Irving, said. “We are streaming one modified service on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. We use YouTube for our streaming on Sundays and Zoom for our small group meetings. We also utilize social media when appropriate to keep our congregation and others informed.
“We are not sure how many people are watching our services right now, because we know people are watching as families. It is our hope that others are joining us if they are feeling uneasy about the world right now. We have worked to put something out each day on social media so people feel connected.”

Pastor Bryan Eck of Irving Bible Church reported similar findings with their church congregation.

“People are scared, but they are able to sit as a family and listen to the message,” Eck said. “This is a difficult time, but we know that God uses these moments for good. We may not know the plan, but we know people are sitting with their families, in their homes, and listening to a message about God’s Word. There is something holy about that. We have changed the sermon series to address people’s concerns.” 

Some religious organizations have offered an online presence for some time.

“Approximately a year ago, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints implemented a study at home program called ‘Follow Me for Individuals and Families.’” Jason Parr, president of the Irving, Texas Stake of the LDS Church, said. “There are online resources available to allow anyone to learn outside of the church building. Additionally our bi-annual meetings are presented online, so everyone can participate, even if they cannot travel to the meeting.”

Pastor Eck emphasized the positives in this pandemic.

“We are have an opportunity to work with other groups as we are able,” Eck said. “Nobody knows quite how to address the needs of our community yet, but we are working with the Islamic Temple to try to build community and meet the food needs of people.” 

Jason Parr said their congregation is working to meet the needs of those around them.

“Isolation breeds loneliness,” Parr said. “People need to use technology, provide and participate in lessons, watch services and connect with each other. There is a great strength to be had in family and friends. The crisis will pass away, but what we have learned from it about ourselves and each other will remain with us. We can build upon this and become stronger when the next crisis comes for it will come.”

Pastor Richard encouraged the community to reach out.

“Here at FBC we are calling all our members weekly to check in on them and make sure their needs are taken care of,” Richard said. “I hope the people of Irving can do that for each other as well. The phone may be old technology, but it is essential to our ministry in this season.” 
All three churches are working with Irving ISD and the local food banks to ensure the community has the resources needed during this time, and each encourage the people of Irving to donate if they are able. Each offer messages of peace and hope.

“I’m grateful for the leadership of the city of Irving and for the people of Irving for taking this pandemic seriously,” Richard said. “I look forward to the day when we can gather in our communities of faith again. Until then, let us remain steadfast in the hope that can only come from God.”