To say the past year has been challenging for churches and pastors is an understatement. Preaching and leading worship to empty chairs has been interesting, to say the least. At Christ Community Church in Sioux Falls, S.D., we held online-only services for about six weeks from March to early May 2020. Overall, it went well. Our sound people and worship team stepped up during a difficult time. But it was God who really stepped up for us.
The first Sunday we met virtually we had sound issues—the sound kept cutting out intermittently. Monday, I called a local company that handles audio/visual issues for churches; we had used them before. After checking out the system, they informed me that we would need to buy a new component that would cost $2,000. We did not have $2,000.
The next day I received a call from our landlord. He has called me one time in the nearly four years I’ve been at the church, so I thought this couldn’t be good. He asked how we were doing with the pandemic. His own church was having a hard time, he said, and he figured we were as well. That’s when he told me that he was going to mail us back half of our rent, which is…$2,000!
I was emotional and overwhelmed. God provided.
A few weeks later our digital mixer went out, and we were going to be dead in the water without it. Later in the week a good friend of mine who pastors an Assemblies of God church in Sioux Falls called me. He said that his people had really blessed the church with their giving, and they wanted to share it with some other churches in town. They mailed us a check for $2,500, which covered the cost of the new digital mixer. Again, God came through for us.
We live streamed our services. Though the quality was not the best, it was better than nothing. We had a small camcorder in the back of the sanctuary and the mic picked up the sound through the house speakers. Unfortunately, it also picked up the sound technicians no matter how quiet they tried to be. We were awarded a $2,500 grant from MB Foundation to purchase a new camera and upgrade our sound.
Now our sound runs directly to the soundboard from each instrument and microphone. Our audio and video are drastically improved, and that improvement has increased our online audience. While it is not a huge increase, it is an increase, which means people are tuning in—and having good quality helps. Again, God provided.
Our online presence continues to grow. People are finding our website from all over the country and even the world. I’ve had an email and a phone call from a woman in Pennsylvania who was looking for help in her relationship with Christ.
God’s provision showed me two things. First, that he wants Christ Community Church to continue growing the kingdom and making disciples. Second, that God knows what we need and how to provide for those needs. This was incredibly encouraging to me and our church in the midst of a difficult time. Soli Deo Gloria!
Jeff Turner has been pastor of Christ Community Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, since 2017. He came to faith in Christ in 1991 while in Alcoholics Anonymous and continues to work with those struggling from drug and alcohol addiction. He is a graduate of Trinity Bible College and Sioux Falls Seminary. He and his wife, Angela, have two children.