Skip to main content

Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Partnering to Help in Time of Need

Better Together

May/June 2020

“2020 is going to be our year.” This was a common sentiment I heard regularly and saw in social media posts just a few months ago. I even said it myself as 2019 drew to a close.

2020 has turned out a bit different than we expected.

When COVID-19 was suddenly thrust to the forefront of the world’s consciousness, fear was at the forefront as well. Not only fear of the virus, but a growing concern about how long we would have to stay at home, how our families would be affected by major economic changes, and ultimately how our lifestyles would change. The unexpected has become the norm, and the phrase “new normal” continues to take on more meaning as we carefully navigate what will be considered a historic time in worldwide history.

Everything looks different. The church is no exception.

We at Visalia First are defined by a community who loves to be together. But because of social distancing, our buildings stand mostly empty during this time. But in the face of social distancing, something special has happened. Because of the internet and social media, we have been able to continue gathering for powerful online services that have overcome the social distancing brought on by COVID-19. 

Thousands now gather exclusively online for weekend services at We had the honor of broadcasting Easter services to a record 15,000 people online and over the airwaves. Each weekend online has had its own unique flavor, and we have felt new levels of hope and anticipation stirring in us. God continues to do what He has always done: to overwhelm bad with good.

We have, along with other churches and non-profits, been given the chance to serve felt needs in our community on new levels. We have partnered with Foodlink, The Visalia Rescue Mission, and other organizations to deliver groceries to hundreds of families and thousands of individuals. 

Through a diaper drive on our church campus, we distributed donated diapers and wipes to hundreds of mothers and families. Because of the generosity of our church family, we have been able to help meet felt needs that have grown exponentially because of the Coronavirus’ effect in our communities. We are truly better together. The challenges are great, but our God is greater!

If you’d like to be a part of our COVID-19 response through donation or volunteering, new opportunities arise every week. If you need help, we are here for you. Check out for more information on how to help, or how to receive help. 

Join us for Church At Home live online Saturdays at 5pm, and Sundays at 9 and 11:30am at Beyond the weekend, our kids, youth, and young adult ministries livestream programs daily and provide family-friendly content all week long. Find out more and start watching at

2020 is still our year. We are in this together. By John Leckenby, Chief of Communications at Visalia First.