Churches overcoming quarantine – Q&A with David Howells
Our team recently spoke with David Howells, senior pastor of Church of the Living Christ in Bridgewater, PA. We asked him some questions about his experience, and he was kind enough to share his answers with us.
TFN: What went through your head when you heard that the quarantine was going into effect and that you would have to suspend in-person church services?
David: What went through my head? That we can sit by and be idle OR we can move into a new realm and capture an audience that we never had any idea that we could reach. Fortunately, I am blessed with a group of men that helped me get there. I’m grateful that we didn’t sit back and wait for it all to be over.
TFN: How did you arrive at your current online church format?
David: We first thought about making DVDs of our service and sending them out to people. But then it was suggested that we not only play to the older crowd but also move into new methods all together. So we started broadcasting our Sunday service live on Facebook and Twitch. And its been successful! People are watching online and its great to see the church connect.
TFN: What are you doing throughout the week to help keep your congregation close and cared for?
David: We reach out with calls and Facebook live moments. We send out reminders on Twitch that we will be coming to them again in a few days and add times. I have even considered going from house to house and stand in the yard and just shout a Word of encouragement to those who can’t get Twitch or Facebook! (laughs)
TFN: If you could do it over again, what would you do differently?
David: I would be more aggressive in trying new video platforms. Twitch is usually associated with the very young crowd, but it has been one of our most successful forms of participating in church. I would maybe add a third platform (Zoom, Youtube, or pre-record Youtube) and increase the number of times I use them in short moments. I would find more opportunities to encourage people to keep up their energy and serve others.
I would plan more time to read the online comments and minister to people. Many of them are hurting during this time of crisis and want to connect with their pastor. I would devote more time to that early on.