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Staying online: Why one Austin mega-church still isn't risking in-person worship

Austin Stone Community Church, which has a congregation of roughly 8,000, will continue with online sermons amid coronavirus outbreak.

AUSTIN, Texas — While some churches across the country are still having in-person worship services during the pandemic, others aren't quite ready to open their doors again.

The Austin Stone Community Church has a congregation of roughly 8,000 people with six different locations. Pastor Ross Lester said they had actually planned to have their first in-person service this weekend, but on Friday decided it wasn't safe. 

In order to keep their congregation healthy, Lester said they will continue with online sermons. But he said it's been a tough couple of months not being able to worship in the same room.

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"We've been trying to create opportunities to care for people that way, but then also hold the tension of the public health risk and loving our city well," said Lester. "So, we've been trying to lead our people the best we can but, man, the difficulty of not being able to be physically present with your people has been really tough to get around."

The Austin Stone Community Church has a COVID-19 fund, where members of the congregation have raised more than $700,000 for any church member who may find themselves sick and in need of financial help.

WATCH: Austin mega-church still isn't risking in-person worship

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