Saturday, March 26, 2022

For Denver Church, Online Worship Is Way to Save For Permanent Building

By Tracy Simmons

Computer and bible on a desk at home with a videoconference on the screen/IStock

When members of Faith Community Baptist Church of Denver realized the Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t going to budge, they decided to embrace “Zoom church” in an extended way.

The 60-member church stopped renting a building, and moved to virtual worship for the indeterminate. 

The Rev. Kay Farley, who co-pastors the church with her husband, said by forgoing their building, the congregation could save money on rent and utilities.

That was November of 2020.

“It’s been a journey,” Farley said. “But I’m keeping my spirits up because God is God and I know who he is. We have never missed a bill, never missed a step. It’s been a blessing.”

Faith Community Baptist Church began 15 years ago when Farley and other founding members started saving their tithe money to open the church.

“Our CEOs are God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit,” she said.

According to the church website, the congregation’s mission has always been to create a community of God-loving and spirit-filled people who aim to, “empower the lost, lonely, hurting and un-churched in accordance with the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.”

Now, like many churches, that community is happening online.

“The church had a strong fellowship and commitment to one another off of which they were able to sustain community during this time,” said Rev. Dr. Steven C. Van Ostran, regional executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains.

Farley said God knew what was coming, and just in time, sent her church a new member who happened to be a technology expert. 

That member donated time and equipment to get the church set up for virtual worship and trained leadership and parishioners for online church. Their denomination also gave a $3,500 grant to the church for technology upgrades.

“Now it’s just one click on Sunday and we’re on Zoom,” Farley said, adding that some of the older members now call her on Sunday morning to tease her if they logon to Zoom first.

At the beginning of service everyone unmutes and says hi, and then the service begins – with the praise team, the pastors and congregation all coming together remotely. The chat box, Farley said, is used for prayer requests.

“I’ve learned so much. I didn’t know much about computers at all,” Farley said. “If it had not been for Covid, we would not have tried new and learned new things.”

Also meeting regularly on Zoom is the women’s ministry, the men’s ministry and the executive team, as well as Bible study.

On the fifth Sunday, Farley said the children are in charge of the service.

“The kids feel like they’re stars, they feel like they’re on television,” she said, adding that they do a liturgical dance from home, and other kids eagerly jump on the screen to wave hi to the congregation.

But Zoom church isn’t permanent for Faith Community Baptist Church.

As the church turns 15 this year, their goal is to use the money they’ve saved from not renting a space during the pandemic to buy their own building.

“In an area of the country that continued to boom even during COVID, deciding to eliminate building rent during this time and work towards being able to purchase a more permanent and better space in the future was wise,” said Van Ostran.

Farley said the congregation is actively shopping for a building, but waiting to hear “God’s yes” before making a decision.