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'It Can Happen Wherever You Are': How Facebook Is Helping Churches Share Jesus During Coronavirus

03-17-2020
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Facebook, Photo, AP

Growing concern of the global Coronavirus pandemic is taking a major toll on places of worship.  Many have closed their doors, taking the message of Christ and hope online.

From Rick Warren's Saddleback Church to the Potter's House with Bishop T.D. Jakes, millions attended church last Sunday in front of a screen from their smart TV, laptop or cell phone. 

It is the new normal as churches close their doors to help prevent spread of COVID-19.

Nona Jones leads Facebook's faith-based partnerships. She told CBN News about the growing number of ministries utilizing the platform to keep spreading the good news.

"There's been a pretty significant surge in the number of not only live-streams but also people viewing worship online and I think one of the things that's really important is for everyone to know Facebook is here," said Jones.

Jones, a licensed minister and pastor's wife, believes the crisis can also be used as an opportunity for the church to use technology to its advantage.

"When I think about the life of Jesus and I think about the 12 disciples, these were 13 men who literally turned the world upside down and they did not have the internet," explained Jones. "The faith experience has been so narrowly defined to a building when in fact we're discovering through this situation that the faith experience doesn't have to happen in a building. It can happen wherever you are."

For example, thousands recently attended an online prayer meeting hosted by several ministry leaders, including Jones.

"We had over 200,000 from all over the world tune in and that number continues to climb as people are finding that archived video even today," Jones said.

Autumn Miles is taking her ministry to Facebook urging her more than 130,000 followers to join her in a day of prayer and fasting on March 20.

In an interview on the CBN News program Prayer Link, she said, "Fasting is a supernatural secret weapon. When we as believers start engaging and sacrificing things that we normally don't have to sacrifice, the lord seems to show up in a supernatural way."

Miles says she hopes that includes a supernatural end to the deadly virus.

"I'm calling for us to deny ourselves food, except for medical reasons of course, but to deny ourselves and focus on the Lord," Miles said. "God is more powerful than this COVID-19."

She added, "He is more powerful, and he promises in 2 Chronicles 7 that if we're faced with pestilence, we need to call on the name of the Lord, turn from our wicked ways. He will come and he will heal our land. He is the great healer."

Meanwhile, a new website sponsored by the Billy Graham and Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College is helping churches engage in online ministry.  It includes resources and ministry and public health policy updates. 

 

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