October 20, 2020
This year has been quite a ride with several challenges and a whole ton of change. One of those changes for us and so many others was that church was shut down. We could no longer meet in person on Sunday mornings like we are so used to doing. But luckily with our age of technology, our church at Gateway Foursquare quickly found a way for us to still be together. We were able to worship Jesus in a whole new way. We found a way to keep our church going during a pandemic. Because even though everything was shut down, the church still had to go on. We needed a way to bring the word and worship into people’s homes.
I was so blessed to be a part of this incredible team that helped get church back up and running to be viewed online on a youtube channel we created. Once a week a small media team and the worship team would get together to pre-record our worship set and the message from our amazing pastor, Greg Schaub. Being able to use my gifts and talents from my photography business to help my church family was such a huge blessing to me. And not just because it got me out of the house once a week during the shut down!
This is my home
Anthony and I started attending Gateway Foursquare about four and a half years ago. Our first service there was Easter Sunday 2016. I was actually hesitant to go for my own personal reasons. But Anthony had a friend that attended and invited us to check it out. I never thought I would find what I did there. We were welcomed in with such warmth and love. It instantly felt like a place I could return to, not because of the building or anything they had to offer but because of the atmosphere and the way the people were so welcoming and friendly.
Gateway is called the friendliest church in Salem and for good reason. They accepted us the way we were, but loved on us and in turn helped us better ourselves. They stood by us through some of the most challenging times of our lives and celebrated with us in our successes. When the associate pastor, Aaron, remembered our names the very next week when we returned after that first Sunday, that was it for me. We have been attending ever since and have helped in a number of ways through these last few years. I have never had such a large family before. I have so many new mommas, grandmas, sisters, dads, uncles, and grandpas. What a blessing to do life with people who truly love and accept you for who you are.
There were challenges
We entered into a whole new world that we were unfamiliar with when the pandemic hit. Our church was trying something new for the first time and it had its challenges. There were technical challenges, creative challenges, emotional challenges. But I learned in the midst of figuring out our way in this new season that it led to so much growth. It led to growth as a church, growth as a team, and growth individually.
I absolutely LOVE my business and taking photos is my passion for sure! But I really loved the opportunity to expand my knowledge for video. I loved recording the worship with the different angles and focusing on details and emotions that came pouring through my lens. I loved that I was helping bring Jesus to people in a whole new way. There was a learning curve for sure, especially during the weeks that I would also be in charge of editing the entire service and piecing it all together in time for Sunday morning.
I am thankful that we now get to meet in person, with guidelines and restrictions of course. There is nothing like worshiping in person together, hearing others voices around you. But I will forever cherish my time with this team during one of the strangest and possibly most challenging seasons of our human history. They came and really brought it, week after week. To be part of such an incredible church family has really changed my life. To be on the team of that church family and know that I could be part of making a difference in someone’s life is priceless.
If you’re in the Salem area and looking for a church to call home, check us out at https://gateway4.com!
Not ready to go in person? Subscribe to our youtube channel. You can watch us from home! We are now live streaming every Sunday! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiJRdXdWkqS2kFb785Xp6ZA
It’s one of my FAVORITE seasons! Check out my favorite fall treats! https://joniloraine.me/2020/10/16/favorite-fall-treats/