New Hope Christian Fellowship in West Columbia is a recipient of a $1,500 project grant from CBFSC. The grant is made possible because of your gifts to the Beverly Greer Offering for State Missions.

I believe the grant has benefited our church in a way that allows us to continue fellowship in a tough time. This pandemic has taking a toll on the older people as well as our young people.

New Hope prides itself with being able to fellowship on a daily basis. The people genuinely love each other and really do enjoy seeing each other as much as they can. Our church is like any other church with its own issues, however for the most part, fellowship is the glue that holds the foundation in place.

Our church has pushed through and even in this tough pandemic by coming together through social media and conversations, it has only strengthened us.

We’re encouraged by our new look, the fact that we can broadcast and that families are learning to use technology together, centering around our church.

We have used scriptures, stories, and God to show how God has used technology to help us carry out the spirit of what it means to truly not forsake assembling together.

In turn, it has helped families develop intergenerational conversations that would have not happened had the pandemic not come. We would probably be writing a different outcome.

By Jeff Howard
Pastor, New Hope Christian Fellowship

New Hope Christian Fellowship in West Columbia set out to identify ways in which we could use social media to bridge the gap between our senior adults and our young folks. With so much going on in the world, we thought what better way to begin to bring people together than through social media.

Social media brings both positive and negative feelings out of people these days. However, I’m a firm believer that using social media in church can be used a catalyst to open doors, reach people and develop relationships.

Many people have testimonies of being able to experience our grandparents showing us how to cook, fish, or tell our favorite stories. We thought that through this difficult time in history, that we could use the social media platform to bring a new look to this form of relationships.

We originally set out to have a space created to be used for opportunities to have intergenerational gatherings but the pandemic brought everything to a complete halt. We were in the process of painting a room to bring our families together but decided to put that on pause.

Our goal was to have intentional conversations that would spark conversations that would develop meaning relationships over time. We upgraded our logo to make it more modern. This upgrade produced conversations around the idea of what it means to be relevant. We shared stories with each other concerning the upgrades of the modern telephone, AOL, the internet, and now apps. We added a YouTube channel and upgraded our Facebook page. This is significant because we bought an iPad to broadcast services. The congregation as a whole began very reluctantly at first but our young people led the way with encouraging the older generation to see this new extension of our church.

Our church has used the social media platform to encourage our members to have more conversations about the gospel. We post daily scriptures and flyers, and we were able to use the social media platform to host our first community event where we fed families. This is significant because our church didn’t have a social media presence. By doing the upgrades to our logo and digitizing the logo so that it could be marketed, it allowed us to talk about the importance of the great commission and then carry it out without folks in the church not being able to get the information because we were not doing in-person worship.

As pastor, I believe this grant has helped our church community for the better.

The Blands thankful for New Hope’s new technology

Lynette and Billy Bland are two of the cornerstone members of the church. Having been married for more than 57 years, they have seen changes in the world. Lynette said she was worried at first about the doors of the church being closed and what would they do for worship? This is what they told me:

“Because of technology, we can go online and see what is going on in services. Had it not been for the grant from CBFSC, we wouldn’t be able to be a part of our church family on Sunday mornings. We are very thankful that we can see our young people interact in services. It feels good to see the folks and the pastor, and hear the word. We miss the people  so having social media is critical.”

I told the Blands that some of my pastoral colleagues don’t have social media or young folks, and that they have been worshipping via telephone. “I can’t imagine not being able to see or experience the worship experience without the social media,” Lynette said. “Being able to talk with people has made this experience worthwhile.”

Lynette said on Sundays her family gets up, eats breakfast, reads the paper, talks with each other and “at 10:30 a.m. we come together as family to hear a word, to hear you talk about social media and we feel a part though we are apart.”