Home Pastors After the storm: Lima region pastors weigh in on faith after pandemic

After the storm: Lima region pastors weigh in on faith after pandemic

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LIMA – In March 2020, government officials nationwide announced a lockdown that shook the country’s foundations. Schools moved to Zoom meetings; doctor’s appointments have become telehealth; and some churches have been asked to worship outdoors.

Gathering places across the region felt the tremor. Despite all the questions, many have found hope in an unseen substance: faith.

Now, two years later, believers have been reminded of the start of the pandemic and what life is like after.

test of faith

New Life Christian Ministries, led by Pastor Damian Tibbs, said many believers have experienced a test of faith like never before. He said that for many, the pandemic has revealed where their level of faith really is. Was their faith really greater than any fear?

“Some thought they lived by faith, but fear got the better of them,” Tibbs said. “I would say that kind of exposed the true level of faith of those who follow Christ, and that’s what fear does. Fear is a test of faith. We will all experience fear because we are not immune to it, but depending on your level of faith, this is how you will react.

Pastor Janet Wend, of Cornerstone Church Lima, said her church continues to share the message of Jesus Christ. Church leaders pointed their congregation to Jesus in the midst of any fear they might face.

“He told us that in this life we ​​will have tribulations, but rest assured, I have overcome the world,” Wend said. “We were constantly pointing people to Jesus and their faith in him. If you keep your eyes on Him, you will remain at peace.

The transition

When lockdowns were in effect, many switched to online church. According to Father Matt Keller, pastor of St. John’s Catholic Church in Glandorf, believers felt confused and hurt. Community members began to fail to come together and express their faith in God.

Churches like In Faith Ministries resumed meeting as soon as they could. Pastor Michael Lyons said they have made the necessary accommodations as they begin to meet again.

“The Bible says faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God,” Lyons said. “What we hear is what we tend to believe. We kept hearing how dangerous and deadly COVID was. That’s what people started to believe. My job was to let people know what God was saying.

faith over fear

A few local churches continued to meet during the pandemic and after, to be a safe place for those seeking answers.

Anástasis Church, led by Tyler and Hannah Perry, opened its doors eight months after closing. On November 1, 2020, the Perrys opened their doors to anyone wishing to worship.

Tyler shared that his congregation has grown and found hope in his faith throughout the pandemic. Community members felt thrilled to come together again after months of isolation. The pandemic has raised the fears of many buried or unrecognized people. The Perrys preached the message of peace and hope in Jesus Christ.

Anástasis Church took precautions but did not close the doors to those in need of belonging. Perry said the pandemic has created a lot of questions in many people’s hearts often wondering what’s next or how things will go. He has found that many have found healing, peace and hope after embracing a relationship with Jesus.

“I saw people who already knew God lean on Him even more,” Perry said. “Then I saw new people coming to faith in God. For people who already had faith, it got even stronger and people who didn’t have faith started exploring it. So many fear reigned during the pandemic.For Christians, faith is still the only option.

new believers

After a real storm in life, people start to assess where they are. After the pandemic, some believers experienced new depths in relying more on their faith, and some decided to believe again.

“One of the things that we found really cool is that the majority of our church grew not only from Christians who were looking for space, but also from people who were trying to figure out who God is,” Perry said. “We saw a lot of new converts to Christianity or people who grew up in church and didn’t really have a place.”

Mary Deringer of Wapak Church said just before the pandemic their senior pastor shared a message titled “This changes everything”.

“If we really put our faith in the resurrection, it really changes the trajectory of our lives,” Deringer said.

The previous message simply prepared the congregation for what was to come before they even knew it. Deringer said he noticed a significant increase in the number of believers, new and old.

To advance

Now that the churches are coming together fully again, many are beginning to live again after the storm, leaning on the one thing that has kept them above it all. Perry encouraged people to hold on to faith even in the temptation of fear.

“Having an emotion of fear isn’t bad,” Perry said. “But God didn’t design us to live in fear. He wants us to experience his peace and give up our control and give up the desire to dictate the outcome. The best way to find peace is to open our hands and say, “God, you do what you want to do in my life, whether it’s this pandemic or whether it’s our own personal battles or struggles.” My advice would be to relax, pray, and trust the One who knows what you need before you even ask.

New Life Christian Ministries hopes to continue to be a light and a shine to help those who face a trial or obstacle.

“The key is to show people he’s what we’ve been missing from the start,” Tibbs said.

Contact Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.