April 2020: In the midst of schools, churches, and every organization that can move online has, one Broken Arrow-based organization wants to continue to keep a close connection with its people. While many churches have moved their services online, one pastor wants a more intimate setting than a typical sermon in the pulpit. Pastor Chris Buskirk of Abiding Harvest Church knows many of his people are dealing with their world being turned upside down: kids home from school, a lay off from work, shortages at the stores, and shortages in the wallet. Buskirk pastors a close-knit church family, and his heart goes out to them during this unsettling time.
To remedy this issue, Buskirk is staying in touch with his people through online technology. Instead of transmitting a live stream message from the pulpit in an otherwise empty building, he instead is going to broadcast his Sunday morning message from the church library in a fireside chat format. He will deliver a message of encouragement and then hear from his people in real-time. He will open the online channel for a Q&A session and comments from the live audience. In addition, for as long as the quarantine lasts, he will send a message to his flock daily to lift their spirits during a difficult time. This will take the format of a simple message of encouragement, a Bible study and even a panel discussion.
Pastor Chris Buskirk, Abiding Harvest Church.
“For 2000 years, the experience of the church has focused on people gathering to tangibly share what unites them in Spirit,” Buskirk said. “Hebrews even commands it. At first, virtual connections seemed to undermine that tradition. More recently, churches have adopted the internet to supplement their ministries. Now it looks like the only option, or at least the safest of ways, to connect and do our part to thwart the spread of this potentially deadly virus. Today, I’m thanking God for it. We will use it to keep doing and being a church.”
Although the parishioners will miss their face-to-face engagement with each other, they won’t miss it with their pastor in this online environment.
“I appreciate our church always being focused on community and relationships,” ORU Professor of Media & Communications Dr. Even Culp said. “In these challenging times, it presents an opportunity to continue those relationships through different methods. I appreciate that during this online season, I have an opportunity to stay connected with my church and still follow the CDC guidelines.”
Abiding Harvest Church is located at 4407 S. Olive Ave. in Broken Arrow, on South Olive between 111th and 101st Street, and Sunday morning service will be held via Facebook Live at 10:30 a.m. The church’s Facebook page is found at Abiding Harvest UMC. For more information, call (918)449-1970 or visit www.abidingharvest.org.
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