In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen churches rapidly adapting in order to serve their congregations and communities. From live-stream services to Zoom Bible studies, churches are finding new ways to connect from afar. But what happens when a church does not have the infrastructure in place to connect online?
That was the predicament Segunda Iglesia Bautista in Corpus Christi found themselves in when stay-at-home orders were issued. Before the pandemic hit, Pastor Esteban Jaquez and his wife Cyndi were already acutely aware of the need for their church to integrate technology into their services. At the beginning of the spring semester, they decided to take Technology in Ministry at Stark College & Seminary so that they could learn more. When the pandemic hit, the class started discussing how their own churches were addressing the new challenges.
“The only thing I would like to do is just to go online and present the message and present the sermon to our people,” Pastor Jaquez shared with the class. “We’ve never done that before, and we’d like to finally do that.” The class immediately took action and started discussing ways they could help Segunda.
“The class eventually asked me if they could change their final projects to work collaboratively to help this local church and get them up and running to stream their church services by the weekend,” said Professor Tina Villarreal Cooper. “Of course I said yes, but with the stipulation that they document their processes and make an easy to follow guide that other churches could use. Because, in the end, it’s not about just this one church but the local church as a whole. We want to be able to share what we’ve learned and are applying in this one academic setting for other local churches to use in their own contexts.”
Fast forward a few months, and Segunda Iglesia Bautista is now streaming their services every Sunday so their community can stay connected during these uncertain times. Not only did the class get them ready to stream their services, but they also created an action plan to establish a sustainable model for Segunda to continue expanding the church’s online offerings in the future.
“I don’t think we would have gotten into live streaming if we hadn’t received the cooperation of the class. We are grateful to the Lord, and we are grateful for our classmates,” Pastor Jaquez said.
“It was just so inspiring and so exciting to see Stark College & Seminary students come together and want to love and serve a local church that had a need going through this pandemic,” Professor Villarreal Cooper shared. “In a time where our community can feel divided, it is so encouraging to see our local churches coming together to serve and love one another.”