As Pandemic’s Economic Impact Rages, Churches Rise to Meet Radical Needs by NADIA JOY SCHULT for Charisma News
The cafeteria is crowded. The lunch line is out the door. But when asked to pay, you realize your pockets are empty.
Your rent is due. The bills, piling up for weeks, lie unpaid on the kitchen counter. You try to decide which is more important: food or heat?
Your church runs on the support and generosity of others. You feel guilty for asking for more consistent tithes when the world seems to be falling apart. But you realize what you have to give isn’t enough to sustain your small congregation.
These scenarios and many more have become commonplace as America nears the one-year mark of battling COVID-19.
Even though many congregations are still not able to meet in person due to social distancing restrictions, followers of Jesus across the country are finding creative ways to meet the needs of those affected most by COVID.
The Debt Is Paid
Florida megachurch Idlewild Baptist Church, with campuses in Tampa and Lutz, Florida, has been tutoring and mentoring the public school students in Hillsborough and Pasco counties since before the pandemic hit. In an attempt to remind its community of God’s grace, Idlewild provided for the kids who were in debt to the school.
“After talking to the school districts in the two counties where our church is sandwiched between, we found out that, though lunches are being funded this year, the debt that students owed to the schools was very high,” director of local missions Yerusha Bunag says. “We wanted students to know that God loves them; that in God, all debts are paid. So that’s what we did. We paid the debt for juniors and seniors at Hillsborough County and the debt for all students at Pasco County.”
A Place of Comfort and Sound Counsel
Christ’s Church of the Valley in greater Phoenix, Arizona, saw the need for Bible-based counseling in a time when isolation has caused depression, suicide and other mental health issues to skyrocket.