The state of California is making it very hard for Christians to worship like they used to do. First, the government banned singing in churches to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, and then came the recent order to ban indoor church gatherings which has put a halt on church services.
Some faith leaders believe the lockdown orders have been unfairly and aggressively applied to houses of worship, but Pastor Mickey Stonier of Rock Church in San Diego says the ban is forcing the church to minister outside its four walls.
"During times of persecution, the church grows. Our church is growing, the influence, the impact of the church is growing," he said.
Stonier told CBN's The Prayerlink that since the start of the pandemic their church has quadrupled in size.
"We put our emphasis on being out in the community and serving a lot of the needs. We've put together 307,000 N-95 masks and we are feeding those in need," Stonier explained.
Rock Church has recently focused its efforts on providing pastoral care for emergency workers.
"We are serving the fire departments, the police departments. There's a growing impact on emergency responders that are getting COVID. We have chaplain corps that are there and actually coming alongside each individual to provide support, guidance, counsel, and so many ministry opportunities," Stonier shared. "We have been blessed to provide over 9,600 meals to medical personnel, nurses, doctors as they are being busy."
And Rock Church is taking to the streets of San Diego to pray and minister to people.
"We've had 135 churches in San Diego come together, we had a prayer event - 11 different locations. We had over 15,000 people around San Diego or online. We called it 'We Pray San Diego'. People prayed for an hour for the Lord's work, for revival to take place in San Diego," he said.
Several other ministries in California see the lockdown as an opportunity to reach people through street and beach evangelism.
"There is a breaking out of worship services in beach communities outdoors that are down the coast right now with thousands of people gathering to worship, people repenting, getting baptized, and coming to the Lord," Stonier added.
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Bethel worship leader Sean Feucht recently led worship services on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and Huntington Beach in California.
Hundreds gathered at the beach to give their lives to Christ.
"The Gospel was preached with power," Feucht said in an Instagram video. "People stood up to give their lives to Jesus and now we are here baptizing people in the Pacific Ocean. God is moving in California. I believe that we are on the verge of another 'Jesus People' movement...you can't unsee what you are seeing right now."
Feucht recently decided to hit the road taking this outreach across the country. His first stop was Washington Square Park in New York City where hundreds worshipped in the street and were baptized in the park's fountain.
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit & teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
— Sean Feucht (@seanfeucht) July 19, 2020
And one girl, named Olivia, traveled from Connecticut to New Jersey to take part in the event. She was on the verge of committing suicide weeks earlier but decided to give her life to Christ.
"The power of suicide has been broken over her life," Feucht declared in an Instagram video.
Feucht is back in California today to continue ministering to people in Redding, Pasadena, Bakersfield, Fresno, and San Diego.
Stonier believes the pandemic is sparking revival in small groups as the church spreads outside the buildings it normally meets in.
"You can't hold back the worship, people are worshipping and revival breaking out," Stonier said.