Today at 4:00 PM, I joined with 500 pastors across America on a one hour conference call that was set up by Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council with Vice President, Mike Pence. I’m thankful to Pastor Joe Shakour for sharing the information to join the call.
I thought that many of you might appreciate reading my notes from the call:
Tony Perkins welcomed everyone and called on Chris Hodges, senior pastor at Church of the Highlands, to open in prayer. After a few opening comments, Tony introduced Vice President Pence.
VP Pence welcomed all the pastors, thanking all 500 of us for our efforts as a faith community. Then he surprised everyone by introducing President Trump. He said that when the president heard about the call, he volunteered to briefly join it.
President Trump greeted us and said he just wanted to say hello. He said that he knew that we were going through tough economic times, but insisted that, “We’re going to get over this!”
Tony Perkins prayed for the President. Afterwards, the president thanked him for praying for stamina for him, saying, “Thanks for praying for our stamina. We really need it.”
VP Pence talked to us at length. One of the topics he covered was the importance of churches doing what they can to encourage our health care workers. One of the ideas he offered was setting up childcare at the church for health care workers. He said that his main purpose was to say, “Thank you pastors for all you do.” And that we should tell everyone, “Do not be afraid. Be vigilant.”
He encouraged us to understand that the Coronavirus is three times more contagious than the flu. He asked that we share the president’s information on the virus at: Coronavirus.gov
VP Pence further asked pastors to take special care of our seniors and those at risk. He thanked us for keeping our country in our prayers. He repeated the plan: “15 days to stop the spread.” He quoted the pastor from his church saying that he thought it was a good word, “The gospel was made for times like these.”
Before he left the call, he took questions. Of interest was a comment he made that the president is asking Congress to include helping non-profits in the proposed economic recovery package. VP Pence said he knew that churches would be impacted financially by not being able to meet in person. He promised to encourage people to not forget to give to their churches when he speaks.
Carter Conlon, pastor at Times Square Church prayed for Vice President Pence.
Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, also spoke. He gave a very inspiring message on the memory power of the brain and the beauty of the creation. He said, “God is merciful. Imagine what would’ve happened if our economy had not been strong.” He asked for us to pray for God’s intervention and power. He said, “God still has His hand on this nation.”
Paula White prayed for Dr. Carson.
Tony Perkins introduced Pastor Chris Hodges again to talk about ideas for being the church during this time.
Pastor Chris said that his church had been working with their local health clinic to use their parking lot and volunteers to do drive thru Coronavirus testing. He said they played worship music on the radio as the cars waited in line. They helped test 2000 people in 4 days. He said that they had volunteers praying for people as they waited in their cars. He offered to pass along details to those of us who ask. He encouraged us to pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 prayers with our fellow pastors.
Pastor Carter Conlon talked about the Drive In church idea. He mentioned that we could broadcast audio on Facebook, or set up a sound system in the parking lot. He encouraged live-streaming services, Facebook Live, posting daily encouragement videos. He said to ask our young people to give ideas for getting the message out. He said, “Actually we’re growing. We need to cast our inter-nets on the right side of the boat.”
Dr. Ronnie Floyd, with the Southern Baptist Convention and LifeWay offered resources, such as: Webinars on streaming sermons. Online giving and others.
Dr. Floyd closed in the call in prayer.
All in all, I appreciated that our national leaders took the time to talk specifically to the concerns of America’s pastors.