By Jonathan Hill
We find ourselves in strange and unique times. Yet, when the children of God are stretched beyond their comfort zones, it can be an opportunity to utilize various methods of sharing the Good News we previously have not capitalized on. When our church gatherings were put on hiatus, so many of our pastors began to ask the Holy Spirit for the guidance of how they could still be effective in reaching their community. Many put a new emphasis on online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, etc. Several began to use online media for the very first time and have seen profound results of reaching people not only in their community, but across state lines and even around the world. God has given us the ability to literally reach people around the world, even from the comfort of our homes. For this, we are thankful.
Another method being used to help accomplish the vision of Arise 2033 is to utilize drive-in services and broadcast over FM transmitters. Many of our churches have chosen to set up outside in the church parking lots and have services where people can remain in their cars. Pastor Michael Hearp has been ecstatic with the response to the “parking lot church” with reports of visitors attending every week for over two months. During this time, Swansonville P.H. has celebrated 5 salvations and averaged just under 200 people. Their finances have been “fantastic” and Pastor Hearp said his community has really appreciated their efforts of meeting this way and has a goal of keeping the momentum going for the glory of God.
FM Transmitters have been an additional tool used to help in parking lot churches and there are plans for several churches to continue utilizing it to reach shut-ins surrounding the church. Pastor Brian Frazier has permanently mounted a transmitter in the steeple at Mount Airy P.H. and plans to continue utilizing it along with online services. Pastor Mark Richardson of the Journey Church, has been successfully using an FM transmitter during his parking lot ministry. Pastor Cas Horton shares about some families near his church in Stoneville, NC who are thankful for the FM transmitter being used so they can continue to hear the message even though they are unable to leave their homes.
A community partnership has begun when Pastor Chuck Edwards of Galax, VA reached out to a business that uses FM transmitters for music used during a Christmas lights display each year. Pastor Chuck asked if they could temporarily borrow the business transmitter and they agreed with excitement. But it also spawned into a working relationship where the business will advertise the church during its Christmas celebration as the sole church sponsor for the event.
I’m so thankful the church not only ministers inside a structure but is reaching its community with the message of love, repentance, forgiveness, and grace…with the multiplicity of tools God has made available for use in modern times. If you are interested in utilizing FM transmitters, please understand there are government restrictions for using the airways. You can check out the FCC guidelines by clicking on this link: https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/low-power-radio-general-information#UNLICENSED