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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The pandemic is taking a toll on places of worship.

So what is it going to take for churches to survive, while at the same time prevent the spread of the virus?

Well, two Guilford County pastors say the answer is to work together, and that’s just what they’re doing. 

Pastors Randall Reece and Jason Goins sat and laughed as they reminisced on how they got their start in ministry.

“I mean Randall and I are great friends. He’s like a spiritual father to me. He got me involved in the ministry. It takes that relation equity,” said Jason Goins, lead pastor at the Renaissance Church. “This is an opportunity for something great to come out of something that is a period of darkness for all of us.”

That period of darkness became even clearer for Pastor Reece last year when he noticed a decline in attendance.

“With a loss of attendance also comes a loss of income,” Pastor Reece said. 

It didn’t stop the bills from coming. 

“We had a large building with a large mortgage, and there were bills to pay. So going from a church of 350 to a church of 80, the loss of income was significant. And even in the congregation of 80, some of the ones who were regularly giving really had to stop because they were impacted by COVID as well,” Reece said.

While Renaissance Church wasn’t completely in the red, they had their share of challenges as well.

“I think people are afraid. I understand that this is a scary time. We dwindled by 150 people or so, but the folks we have been left with are excited and energized, so we’re bringing together two pockets of two energized congregations,” Goins said. 

Both pastors say this is an opportunity to keep a dying church alive, and they hope their story will be a model for other struggling churches praying to survive.

“It certainly makes sense. Those churches can stay alone and struggle or come together in strength and merge out of the pandemic from a position of strength. Hopefully, it becomes a model,” Reece said.

The pastors say they have had other local churches express interest in joining their merger 

They also welcome others who are interested.

Service will begin here at Rennaissance Church in Jamestown on Harvey Road beginning at 10 a.m.