The Virtual Word of God

On Sunday, May 4 Pastor Rick Andrus of the Parker United Methodist Church prepares to speak his sermon to his congregation members via Facebook live. (Photo/Dawn Rye)

Dawn Rye | Writer

Jeremiah 29:11 — “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Pastor Rick Andrus of the Parker United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Pastor Dylan VanMeveren haven’t had a regular Sunday to preach to their congregation since the beginning of March but that hasn’t stopped the pastors from moving forward with their obligations. 
Andrus commented during this unknown time, God has been his inspiration and inspired by love to preach to his congregation every day in an online daily devotion and on Sundays. He noted his theology is a simple one and one of his uncle Duane’s that he has followed his entire Pastoral career: God is Love! 
He explained the biggest challenge has been missing the people he loves so deeply. Andrus said the energy and love of the congregation members are not physically in the church, but it is there. 
“The Holy Spirit is even more powerful because we are reaching more people now,” commented Andrus.
VanMeveren added the biggest challenge isn’t necessarily with his faith, it is with people of faith who seem to value their “constitutional right to peaceably assemble and to reopen American business” more than their safety and the safety of others. VanMeveren said as Christians, people should be interested in protecting and preserving human life in all of its stages. However, more people are willing to temporarily surrender their constitutional right to peaceably assemble and suffer momentary economic hardship to keep people from dying. 
“Jesus is in the “giving abundant life” business, not the “open American business,” commented VanMeveren.
Andrus said the one thing he has learned about himself as a pastor during COVID-19 is his faith and love for Jesus has only deepened and evolved during this distressing time. Reaching out to people beyond the church and the community is essential in spreading love and belief, he noted. Not only fear of COVID, but also all of the fear that people face in their lives, noted Andrus. 
He explained his faith was challenged by loneliness at first and that feeling of what he is going to do now. Andrus said he was facing many questions that included; the church is relaunching in October, how is the church going to do that? What is God’s plan? What is the new mission direction? 
“Questioning God is not lacking faith, it is healthy to do that. I know God has a plan and we must trust that God’s plan is the right now. It has strengthened my faith in many ways,” commented Andrus. 
He said one of the many things he misses the most about preaching to his congregation is their energy and the direct experience of God laying the Holy Spirit over the church during worship. He also misses the children’s church, but most of all their laughing.
VanMeveren commented he misses the fellowship, Folgers, cookies and worship. 
Andrus is about God’s love and he understands that his congregation members may struggle with their faith during COVID. His advice to his congregation and the community is “Know that God can give us the strength to get through these tough times.”
He said to take the opportunity to listen to not only your church pastor, but others as well. This is a gift from God.
VanMeveren explained since the residents are locked inside with nothing to do, he recommends reading the Bible. He noted there are a lot of pastors locally and nationally who are producing great devotional content.
“My personal go-to is Truth For Life with Alistair Begg,” said VanMeveren. 
He noted God’s people still need God’s word and the local pastors get to participate in that. 

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