Based in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside near High Wycombe, The Community Church was established in 1984 and is a growing community who desire to make God known by serving our neighbours and the nations. Like many of us, they have been learning how to brave the new world of online church, and in our latest blog, Dave Price, who leads the church, shares some highlights and encouragements:
Just over three weeks ago I was a child of God, a husband, a father of three and a pastor. A few weeks later, I’m all those things plus a newly qualified teacher and a digital communications coordinator! The learning curve has been very steep and I’m sure many of you can identify with these new challenges we are all facing.
As we’ve been adapting to this together, we’ve found ourselves able not just to stay connected as a local community, but also to reach out into the nations and the nations. There are many hard aspects to this season, but also ways in which we can flourish and thrive. We are not a big church, and we have a small staff team, yet God is working through our digital efforts to look after His people and share Jesus with those who don’t yet know Him.
A few highlights have been:
– This Easter we had 5 people raise their digital hand to say YES to Jesus. Amazing!
– One of the guys in the church who works IT sales got to do a Good Friday talk to over 40 other colleagues
– Earlier this year, a teenage girl who wasn’t part of the church was miraculously healed of a functional neurological disorder (FND) which had caused paralysis over 10 months. She then went on to do Alpha even inviting her parents and recently came to faith in Jesus.
In the midst of it all, we’ve also been learning new practices and new truths. We’ve learnt not to judge our “service attendance” by views – initially these went up to 1000-1500 views for an online Sunday service, but only 8% of people watched the last 10 minutes. Assuming most household are at least 2 people watching (which seems reasonable in our context) our Sunday attendance hasn’t grown 10-fold in 3 weeks. It’s more likely to be between 160-240, which is still significant growth considering pre-lockdown we had an average attendance of just under 100!
We’ve learnt to find something that works for us in enabling us to both serve our community and to reach out. We’ve tried out using a range of different programs, from Larix to record video and CastR to stream to multiple platforms, to the Church Online Platform for hosting Sundays and Zoom for prayer meetings and small groups. Going Live on social media sites – either on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube – has allowed us to engage with people for the first time because that’s where people already are! Depending on the demographics your church is reaching you might find different platforms work better for you, but having church so accessible means it’s so easy for any of us, whether we are leaders or not, to invite others to come and try church.
In everything, we’ve found this: the church doors may be closed but the Kingdom of God is still advancing!
Written by Dave Price from The Community Church