Anchor Church

Anchor Church, Albuquerque, Pastor Jared Bridge (right) and Worship Leader Chad Spriggs (left) pre-record the church's March 21 worship service.

ALBUQUERQUE (BNM) - Following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and President Trump against large gatherings, as well as New Mexico public health orders, many Baptist Convention of New Mexico churches canceled in-person worship service Sunday, March 21, opting instead for online or drive-in alternatives.

Several churches, including Paragon Church, Rio Rancho; Rio Church, Albuquerque; and Northdale Baptist Church, Albuquerque, pre-recorded their services earlier in the week and posted videos online Sunday morning.

Other churches, including First Baptist Church, Roswell; First Baptist Church, Alamogordo; and Sandia Baptist Church, Albuquerque, live-streamed their services on Sunday morning.

Some churches, including Monarch Baptist Church, Albuquerque, and Christ Church, Albuquerque, hosted live worship services via Zoom. Zoom is a video conferencing software typically used in business environments. Christ Church was among at least six BCNM churches that also canceled in-person services on March 15. First Baptist Church, Santa Fe utilized Zoom to host its Sunday morning Bible study classes. Anchor Church, Albuquerque utilized Zoom to host a virtual church-wide fellowship after its Sunday worship service.

X Factor Church, Albuquerque, met in person for its Saturday evening worship service, but canceled its Sunday morning service and children’s ministry. Several members of X Factor’s church, including its pastor, Luke McKinnon, returned from a mission trip to central Asia on March 17. Approximately half of the team attended X Factor’s March 21 service.

At least two BCNM churches - First Baptist Church, Santa Rosa, and Mayhill Baptist Church - opted for a drive-in church service in their respective parking lots. At these services, members and guests were invited to drive to church and participate in the service from inside their vehicles - mitigating the risk of contagion while still allowing for an in-person gathering. The churches used sound systems set up outdoor to conduct their services for church members and guests in parked cars.

Residents of the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries, Portales, gathered inside the NMBCH’s chapel to watch a live-streamed service from First Baptist Church, Portales. Many residents, house parents, and administrative staff attend First Baptist. 

For churches still working out their plans for how to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and public orders, bcnm.com/coronavirus offers help. Convention staff are constantly posting new ideas and information. Free resources continue to become available. 

LifeWay Christian Resources is now offering free adult and children’s curriculum to churches through its website. The entity has also made its online giving services free, for now. Information about these resources is available at lifeway.com/coronavirus.

New Mexico Governor Lujan-Grisham’s latest public health order limits mass meetings to no more than five people. The Baptist New Mexican asked the governor’s office, “What will stay-at-home instruction mean for clergy and religious volunteers who gather in small groups at churches and other places of worship in order to record worship services for online distribution? Will they be allowed to continue doing so under the new stay-at-home instruction? Similarly, does this order bar in-person religious gatherings?” The offical response was that “Churches, synagogues, mosques or other places of worship are exempt from the 5 or more rule.”

Share your church’s adjustments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Email Daniel Porter at dporter@bcnm.com.

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