LOUISA, Ky. (KT) – Louisa First Baptist Church Pastor Chuck Price didn’t set out to break any records when he committed to doing daily online services when the coronavirus first arrived.
“We thought it was going to be two weeks,” he said. “Now we’re on day 57.”
Every day at 6 p.m., like clockwork, the Louisa First Baptist Church broadcasts a Facebook Live and YouTube service. They usually last about 45 minutes, Price said, and have involved 25 different speakers over the two months. An estimated 80 volunteers from the church have participated in one way or the other.
Price said the church will open to in-person services on May 20 to “slow ourselves into it” before having a bigger crowd on May 24. They will continue doing the online services daily through May 24, bringing them to 66 at the finish line.
The church has bought into the commitment, he said. “We have different live music every night. We’re all in quarantine and can’t do anything away. We can’t leave the great state of Kentucky or visit the hospitals or nursing homes. I just saw this as a great opportunity to reach our church and our community.”
They have a daily watching audience of more than 1,000 and have had 50,000 total views on Facebook during the course of the streak. The YouTube numbers are about 7,000, Price said.
“That was the last in-service church worship I attended before the shutdown,” said Brian Horton, the Association Mission Strategist for the Greenup Association. “We’ve had people concerned about being a weekly presence on Facebook and they’re doing it every night. The commitment to stay visible every day is unbelievable.”
Horton put it another way: “They’ve done over a year’s worth of services during the quarantine.”
Price has been able to do the Sunday morning and evening services and the Wednesday night service. Friday is for the youth with the youth pastor speaking and Saturday night is worship night for children. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday have had different speakers from within the church each week.
“It’s a great to involve so many leaders in the church,” Horton said. “It took some organization on Chuck’s part, too, to make sure you don’t have the same message preached five times in a row.”
The church always did online services but that was through an iPad and “was not a very high quality.” Price said. “I’d rather people come to church than watch it online.”
But with the need to have onlne services they upgraded equipment to one webcam, then a second webcam and not have an optics camera that streaks on Facebook and YouTube.
“We’re grown in technology,” Price said. “I have some good people working with me as far as that’s concerned.”
When the streak reaches 66 on May 24, the pastor said they will return to normal services. But the church isn’t likely to forget the commitment that was made to provide encouragement and instruction during the difficult days of the coronavirus.
“Too many times we focus on what we can’t do and this is something we can do,” Horton said. “I’m not sure any other church in Kentucky is doing what they’re doing as far as consecutive days online.”