When the COVID-19 pandemic forced one North Carolina church into 21st century technology, not only did the church launch a livestream, they premiered it on the most important Sunday of the church year!
First Baptist in Lexington, NC had been planning to livestream its services for a few years. They were already on the local radio station each week, which was streamed via the station’s website. So the need to actually livestream with video was put on the back burner since churches traditionally move at a slow pace.
About two weeks prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, First, Lexington was informed that the local radio station was going to change its format and after 50 plus years, they would be off the air. The last broadcast would be March 15.
Couple that with NC Governor Cooper’s Executive Order to prohibit mass gatherings, the church’s thinking and planning about livestreaming was forced to the forefront.
Research began in earnest into best options including software, licensing, equipment, and cost.
The week before March 15th, everything began shutting down and their “last broadcast” ended up being a re-broadcast of a previous service. That Monday, March 16, the church convened its first meeting of the audio, now technology committee to discuss options. At the end of that meeting, they had decided on what they wanted and what they could afford. They began preparations, thinking it would take just a week or two.
During that time, Jim Skotthy, the church’s business administrator, learned about CBFNC’s technology grants. First, Lexington applied and two weeks turned into nearly month to get the necessary equipment and labor to install and set everything up.
The church made a bold and daring move–to make the Easter Sunday service its first livestream! Nerves went well into that Saturday as they tested and retested to make sure everything worked. Suddenly, on Easter Sunday at 11 A.M. the stream began and Senior Pastor Dr. Ray Howell, III proclaimed that he had GOOD news to share.
“I had tears in my eyes as I listened to our first hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and realized that we pulled all of this together in less than a month,” said Jim.
“CBFNC’s grant helped us purchase the necessary material we needed and we couldn’t be more grateful. The best way to describe this is how I felt, which was echoed by many of our members–it felt so good to be back together, even if we were together by video,” he said. “God is Good…ALL the time.”
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, CBFNC offered special, one-time technology grants to partner churches to assist with technology upgrades. For more information on these grants, contact Andy Jung, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Skotthy, business administrator for First, Lexington, provided the content for this story. The church gives special production thanks to the A/V team at First, Lexington: Richard Honeycutt, Trey Shoaf, Jim Honeycutt, Willie Edwards, Jim Skotthy, Whitney Brooks, Wes Richardson and Tobin Shepherd.
Visit First, Lexington’s website for a link to the YouTube channel to view their live or recorded services: fbclex.org.