During the COVID-19 pandemic, churches in each state in America were faced with incredible, heart-wrenching challenges. But no state, perhaps, suffered through the lockdown more than the state of California under liberal Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Charisma News has published stories on Pastor Ché Ahn's battle with persecution to keep his church, Harvest Rock Church, in Pasadena open to continue to worship God as the Constitution freely allows us. Ahn sued Newsom for banning home Bible studies.
The state of California threatened church officials with fines and jail time, but pastors and churches stood fast through it all until a California district court lifted the ban from indoor worship just recently.
Along with Ahn, many other pastors, including Greg Farrington, the founder of Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin, boldly led the fight against Newsom and were vindicated by the court's ruling. Farrington says the pandemic journey has helped mold him and his congregation into stronger Christians.
Farrington graciously agreed to share his church's story on a recent episode of my Strang Report podcast, and you'll want to download this episode to listen to his incredible journey.
In a season where culture continues its ongoing hostility to Jesus and to the gospel, Farrington says he and his congregation simply needed to stay obedient to God and to trust Him that they would eventually be allowed to meet again. It was a major period of trial and tribulation, but they made it through the fire.
"In a way, it was the most exciting time of my life of pastoring Destiny Church," Farrington says. "That doesn't mean it wasn't challenging. It was exciting. Every week we were believing and trusting at a level maybe we have never believed and trusted in God before. I would never trade the last year for anything in the world, even though we had incredible hardships.
"People were hating on us, there were death threats. But it was a time where we leaned into God like we had never leaned into Him before. I loved that journey."
Farrington's congregation, along with Samuel Rodriguez's New Season Church, were two churches in the Sacramento area that took a bold stand right near the state capitol's doorstep. After about 11 weeks of the lockdown, Destiny Christian Church decided to open its doors with caution, and the commitment to taking all the precautions it needed to keep the virus from spreading.
"There was a certain level of anxiety and fear because we didn't know everything," Farrington says. "We did everything we could to protect people when we first opened the doors. We spread people out in every way you can imagine. We were way cleaner than Costco ever was. Opening the doors for the very first time was a traumatic day. But I can't tell you what it was like when I stood on the stages after the church doors have been shut for 11 weeks. I just said, 'Welcome home. Welcome to the house of God. Let's worship God.' The place just erupted. It was one of the highlights of my life."
For more of this compelling interview with Greg Farrington, listen to the entire episode of the Strang Report at this link. Be sure to subscribe to the Strang Report on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast platform for more words that will inspire and challenge you in the power of the Holy Spirit.
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