The limitations of the state of California because of the pandemic make it more difficult for Christians to worship as they used to. First, the government banned singing in churches to quell the spread of COVID-19, and then came the recent order to ban meetings of churches that have ended services.
Churches unjustly closed
Some evangelical leaders believe that the closure orders have been unfairly and aggressively employed on the houses of worship, but Pastor Mickey Stonier of Rock Church in San Diego says the ban is forcing the church to minister outside its four walls.
«During times of persecution, the church grows. Our church is growing, the influence, the impact of the church is growing,» he said.
Stonier told CBN’s The Prayerlink that since the beginning of the pandemic his church has quadrupled in size.
«We put an emphasis on being in the community and addressing many of the needs. We have collected 307,000 N-95 mouthpieces and are feeding those in need,» Stonier said.
Pastoral care for professionals helping with the pandemic
Rock Church has currently focused its efforts on providing pastoral care to emergency workers.
«We are serving fire departments, police departments. There is a growing impact on the emergency services that receive patients with COVID. We have chaplaincy corps that are there and really join with each individual to provide support, guidance, counseling and many ministry opportunities,» Stonier shared.
«We’ve been blessed to provide more than 9,600 meals to the medical staff, nurses and doctors, as they are busy,» he added.
And Rock Church has been on the streets of San Diego to pray and minister to people.
«We have gathered 135 churches in San Diego, had a prayer event in 11 different locations. We had over 15,000 people all over San Diego or online. We called it ‘We Pray San Diego’. People prayed for an hour for the Lord’s work, for the revival to take place in San Diego,» he said.
Opportunities to Take the Gospel
Other ministries in California see confinement as an opportunity to lead people through street and beach evangelism.
«There is a breakdown of worship services in the outdoor beach communities that are on the coast right now with thousands of people gathering to worship, people repenting, being baptized and coming to the Lord,» Stonier added.
Other leaders join in
Bethel’s evangelistic leader, Sean Feucht, currently leads worship services at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Huntington Beach in California.
Thousands gathered on the beach to give their lives to Christ.
«The Gospel was preached with power,» Feucht said in an Instagram video. «People stood up to give their lives to Jesus and now we’re here baptizing people in the Pacific Ocean. God is moving in California. I think we’re on the verge of another ‘People of Jesus’ movement … you can’t see what you’re seeing now,» he added.
Sean recently resolved to hit the road by taking this outreach to the entire nation. His first stop was Washington Square Park in New York City, where hundreds of people worshipped on the street and were baptized at the park’s fountain.
And a young woman, named Olivia, moved from Connecticut to New Jersey to participate in the event. She nearly committed suicide weeks earlier, but decided to give her life to Christ.
«The power of suicide has been broken over her life,» Feucht said in an Instagram video.
He continues to minister in California
Feucht is back in California today to continue ministering to people in Redding, Pasadena, Bakersfield, Fresno and San Diego.
Stonier for his part believes the pandemic is causing a small group revival as the Church expands out of the buildings in which it regularly meets.
«You can’t stop the worship, people are worshipping and the revival is happening,» Stonier said.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit & teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
— Sean Feucht (@seanfeucht) July 19, 2020