Noel Vickers, pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church, Ashland, in Clay Baptist Association, preaches a sermon May 4 via Facebook. He began posting sermons in April.

Clay County pastor says hard times an opportunity to rely on God, pray for each other

By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist

Noel Vickers said there are definitely people who have faced tougher times than he has through the past few months.

He thinks of his cousin who’s been facing cancer and had to go in for treatments alone because of COVID-19 restrictions.

He thinks of church members who are older or have health issues who have needed to stay isolated.

Isolated — that’s the word that hit him the hardest.

Facing things alone

Vickers, pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church, Ashland, went in for three outpatient surgeries during COVID-19, and every time as his wife was told she wasn’t allowed to go with him, he thought of how hard it must be for people to face things alone during times like these.

“People are scared,” he said. “We’ve gone through a lot of history as a nation this year already.”

But one thing Vickers sees in all this is an opportunity to lean into two truths — how much we need God and how much we need each other.

“Maybe that’s one thing the Lord is trying to teach us through this, when we get to a place like this — we can rely on Him to do more when we can’t do it ourselves,” he said.

For him, that’s meant trying to pull together with church leadership to keep the church going when they got down to the “nitty gritty” — only four or five people coming on Sunday mornings at the height of the meeting restrictions.

It’s also meant learning to use Facebook to post sermon videos when there’s no internet or phone service at the church.

“Our church people have really stepped up to help,” Vickers said. “That’s been so encouraging. I think what we need most is for churches to pray for each other right now. We’re headed for a better home — but we still have a lot to face here.”