By David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
The transition hasn’t been easy for all churches, especially those who had never before used live streaming. And that’s where New Vision Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, comes in.
New Vision has developed a ministry in which the church is helping other churches get started with online worship services and other events. The ministry includes helping churches with both the technical aspects of online services as well as the actual production itself.
“We have developed several different resources for those who want to try their hand at an online experience,” said New Vision worship pastor Robert Russell. “We have recorded worship sessions for our congregations to sing at home, offer technical coaching for other churches and continue recording sermons.”
Brady Cooper, senior pastor at New Vision, said when the church first heard that many pastors in Tennessee were struggling with the “how-to” of online streaming, New Vision wanted to help.
“While difficult decisions were looming as churches prepared for COVID-19, pastors began to lean on each other for wisdom and direction,” Cooper said. “Needs were shared, and we believed that we could meet some of those needs with relative ease.”
“So, we began coordinating with Interim Missions Director, Doug Campbell, from the Concord Baptist Association,” Cooper said. “They played a pivotal part in getting the word out to other churches.”
Russell said developing an effective online presence can play a key role in helping churches continue to impact their communities for Christ — even without the standard practices of gathering for services and events.
“Digital ministry is much more than streaming church services,” said Russell. “We are approaching ministry digitally from children to adults.”
Cooper said he understands that the pandemic has created hardships that can seem overwhelming to many churches and pastors.
He said he hopes his church can be a source of encouragement to those who need help.
“Many churches are finding this time to be challenging,” he said. “But rather than looking at this time as one of trouble, we believe it to be a time of training. It is a chance to grow ourselves, improve processes, and pour into our congregations in innovative ways.”
Cooper said New Vision’s ministry extends beyond online streaming assistance. The church is also reaching out to pastors who are dealing with exhaustion.
“We are very excited about a new offering for pastors of smaller congregations who have experienced, or are experiencing, burn-out,” Cooper said. “We hope to assist these struggling shepherds with a weekend of rest, where they can unplug from the daily grind of leading others.”
This segment of the ministry includes helping pastors get some down time, he said.
“One primary concern for many pastors who are trying to take a break is filling the vacancy in the pulpit,” Cooper said. “We have a lineup of very capable communicators that serve on staff at New Vision, and if desired, would be happy to help step in for that weekend.”
Russell said New Vision’s team is excited about the opportunities to assist other churches in their attempts to remain connected with their congregations during this unprecedented time of “shelter-at-home” restrictions and other virus-related mandates.
“Our ministry teams love engaging other churches,” said Russell. “We are open to help in whatever way is most efficient.”
The ministry at New Vision is not limited to churches, Cooper noted.
“We have found that this pandemic has impacted even the incarcerated,” he said. “We have filmed or are filming 10-15 leaders from across the association that minister in prisons in the Middle Tennessee Area.”
Russell said God’s glory is being revealed in the midst of these unusual circumstances.
“We believe that God is doing something through this,” he said.