ST. JOSEPH, MI – The Shore Church in St.Joseph has seen God show up in special ways throughout the statewide lockdown. The church like so many others has been forced into doing services on Facebook Live as well as other online services. Through this online presence, Pastor Kevin Hester says they have reached far more people than they would have during a normal week. Many of the people who had made promises to visit the church in the past are now watching online and have been contacting him about spiritual things.
Hester says, “Our reach and influence have just really grown.” The local newspaper did a feature story on how the church has adapted to the stay home order. That story has raised the church’s profile within the community and resulted in more people following them online.
Hester is the bi-vocational pastor at The Shore Church. He also works within law enforcement as a Sheriff’s deputy and police officer. He uses his “day job” to make new connections within the community, and invite them to church. The pastor/deputy says many of the people he meets are uncomfortable with church, and in the past he hasn’t been able to make any progress towards getting them to visit.
But Hester has noticed that “being able to join our services online has taken some of that fear and discomfort away.” He says his prayer is that when things go back to normal, they will feel connected enough to come in on Sunday mornings and we will be able to make real life connections with them.
Hester and his wife, Mary, have 8 children and four of them still live at home. Mary was already homeschooling the four at home so that part has not been as big a shift for them.
He says he tries to de-stress during the quarantine much the same way he would any other time. He turns off the media, enjoys getting out into creation by taking a walk and drinking in the sunshine and fresh air. He also enjoys just stopping to have time with my family, enjoy a movie, and play games together.
Pastor Hester is studying the book of James and meditating on the Book of Psalms. He says he returned to James because of his desire to make wise decisions during these difficult times. Hester adds, “James deals with faith and trials as well as watching what we say, and I feel that these are very important things during this pandemic.”
Hester is asking for prayer to balance everything, and be a good leader as his congregation navigates these difficult times. He says, “God is giving us greater influence and favor, and I believe Satan will be attacking our church in some way to try and thwart what God is doing.”