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Keeping faith during unprecedented times

When Governor Andy Beshear first begin limiting in-person gatherings in early to mid-March, church-goers and pastors across Harlan County weren’t sure how they would hold services or continue to spread love and faith into the hearts of others. With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, Christians and other religions didn’t let a virus stop them from helping others in a time of need.

Liggett Baptist Church Pastor Bob Cornett said these temporary changes have allowed his fellow Christians to experience “how precious home-centered Bible study can be.”

“We’ve tried to encourage everyone to use the technology we have available to worship, study and share the gospel,” he said. “While the pandemic can be frightening, it’s also an exciting time for the church. More and more churches are embracing technology. The result of which is the gospel being shared on a level that we’ve never witnessed before.”

Cornett said livestream services have become the new norm for Liggett Baptist Church during the pandemic, although internet service isn’t available at the building’s location. He added he has adjusted to livestreaming sermons from his home every Sunday and Wednesday to make up for the loss of in-person services.

“Like everyone else, we’re doing all we can to continue worship and praise God for all he does for us,” he said. “Through it all, we maintain and encourage the same thought, that God is the creator of Heaven and Earth. He’s in control. We may not understand what’s going on and why, but we trust God and his plan. Because God is good, all the time!”

Sean Daniels, pastor at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Cawood, echoed Cornett in his message, adding they knew things would be different and require them to “think outside the bow like never before.”

“The first thing that convicted me was that we have to use Godly wisdom in this. Politics aside, there is a real virus out there, and places (even churches) that have had gatherings, has ended up with people sick, even dying,” Daniels said. “Many Churches are made up of individuals 60 and older, so we want to protect them. Yes, we have faith. No, we are not giving into fear, but God gave us a brain for a reason, to use it.”

Daniels said no pastor wants this to happen but it’s what they have to deal with, adding he prays things will go back to normal very soon. Until then, Daniels tells his brothers and sisters in Christ to “be the church, remain faithful and hopeful and use God-given wisdom.”

“The biggest thing that I wanted the church to do was be the church during this time. To show Christ’s love. So, we made it a point to deliver lunch to as many healthcare workers, retail workers and other essential businesses as a way of saying ‘thank you,’” he said.

Daniels added, for Easter, he and his sons carried a cross through communities in Harlan to “show and remind ourselves what Easter is all about.” He said they also

“We had drive-in service at the mall for Easter and plan to do it again along with Facebook Live,” he said.  “On Wednesdays, we do a streamed devotional time. WTUK has opened the opportunity up for us to do a weekly radio program.  These are all outlets to share our faith and the Word of God.”

Daniels said his goal is to share the good news of the Gospel any way possible through the tools and resources they have available. He said he believes a great revival will come from this and the church will be stronger than ever before.

“People are looking for hope, the only true hope we have is in the Lord, and so the ball is in our court. Either we can be the church through this and possibly have a great revival. Or, if we set on the sidelines, then we can expect a possible road of rebuilding.

“I’d rather continue to be the church and reach as many souls that I can for Jesus during these challenging times, than when things normalize, we will be ready to go and be stronger than we were before. We hope people will see that the church and its people really do care, love and are concerned for our communities.”