BEREA, Ky. (KT) — Allen Livingood doesn’t mind sharing the stage.
Livingood, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Berea, has been loaning his pulpit to Middletown Baptist Church Pastor Willam Dooley to record a weekly sermon for his congregation.
In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Livingood records his Sunday sermon each Sunday morning at the church, while Dooley records his sermon each Friday at 1 p.m. at Westside and shares it with his local congregation on Sunday morning.
Since churches have been following recommendations set by state and federal officials discouraging weekly services to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, many pastors have used Facebook Live to keep in touch with members of their respective congregations. Dooley didn’t have the resources to provide a weekly sermon from his church and that’s when Livingood stepped in and offered his services.
“We were on the phone talking a few weeks ago, and they didn’t have the equipment that we did, and so I offered, and video and sound tech ‘Uncle’ Roy Varney has been great,” Livingood said.
Dooley said the “real hero” is indeed Varney, who has provided the technical support needed to support the joint venture between the two pastors.
“Roy is a Baptist layman who is dedicated to using his gifts to serve the Lord and further the gospel,” Dooley said. “Allen and I are both praying that our churches will be stronger after the COVID-19 threat, that we can use this time to reach many with the gospel. If that happens, Roy Varney will certainly have played a part. He is truly a hero in the faith.”
Dooley said the cooperation between the two pastors is an example of the “fellowship that exists within the local Baptist association, Allen Livingood and the other pastors of Tates Creek Baptist Association.”
“Our situation is a perfect example of the lack of competition that exists between churches that preach the gospel,” Dooley said. “We don’t compete for ‘market share’ and we simply want to see people in southern Madison County and beyond come to faith in Jesus. We trust Him to use our cooperation during this time to draw them to Himself,” Dooley said.
Like Dooley, Livingood said the outreach during the past few weeks has produced more page views than normally.
“We do have many more views than usual on our Facebook page, website and YouTube,” he said. “I don't desire to create an online church; however, it has made me more in tune and aware in getting the message of the gospel to where the world is and let's be honest, they’re online.”
Livingood added he hopes the online approach will lead to a bigger harvest for churches in the future once the pandemic comes to an end.
“My prayer has been that if we can go to where they’re at and engage them, then we can bring them into the church,” he said. “That’s always been what Christians are to be about as commanded by Christ. There are many ways to engage with the world and this is just one area that the pandemic has forced us into.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at email@example.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.