'I am a people person’: Church ministers face challenges connecting with community

'I am a people person’: Church ministers face challenges connecting with community

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Some of our Amarillo ministers are having trouble connecting to the community during the pandemic.

Sunday services, home and hospital visits, and events have been a few ways our pastors have shared in-person interactions with the community.

Although during the pandemic, a majority of that interaction has been done digitally.

Carter Chapel’s minister says people’s responses are completely different on the phone.

“People are more apt to not talk about their true feelings on the phone,” said Wheatley Bell, pastor at Carter Chapel Methodist Church.

With all of their Sunday services being online, Bell has relied on gaining information from his members over the phone.

Adding to people not wanting to disclose as much information, he also misses out on non-verbal cues that hint something could be wrong.

“That comes because you’re there physically. You’re looking at them, they’re looking at you and you read their body language or maybe an eyebrow will go up or something like that. That will contribute something to your knowledge,” said Bell.

To compensate for the missed face to face interactions, some ministers are doing things they have never done before.

The minister here at Saint John’s Baptist church is making monthly calls to all 338 members of of his church, just to check in.

“I call them individually and do a wellness check just to check in on them, check in on the family and see how they doing. So, everyone looks forward to that,” said Anthony Harris, senior pastor at St. Johns Baptist Church.

With only a quarter of the members attending Saint John’s Sunday services since they opened in July, Harris thinks the added communication is crucial.

“I am a people person, so I love to hug and be able to congregate with the members. Being able to communicate with them on Sunday mornings seeing how their week has been and so not being able to do that on a weekly basis has been very challenging for me personally,” said Harris.

Harris says he has also reached out to more people on social media since the pandemic hit and will continue to do this after the pandemic.

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