Churches in Western Australia are using Adventist Record to connect with their members, especially those who may not be internet savvy, while churches remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Many of our churches are using the Record to connect with church members by dropping them into people who appreciate knowing they are cared for,” said Pastor Steve Goods, WA Conference president.
According to Ross Craig, who pastors in Manjimup, Boyup Brook, Kulikup and Katanning churches, a significant number of members have limited or no internet, for a variety of reasons.
“In Manjimup [we] have actually seen an increase in Record/Adventist World consumption via the hard copies,” he said.
Copies are delivered, with a pastoral letter, church bulletin, tithe envelope, Signs of the Times (when available) and Connect (WA conference magazine), to attendees’ homes within a 40 kilometre radius. The church has also installed a “Record Box”, a weatherproof box secured to some exterior seating on a covered veranda on the side of the church facing the pastor’s residence, and advertised to all members on the roll (via phone, email, letter drop, Facebook) that copies of the Record, Adventist World and Signs are in the box should they wish to collect at their own time.
“We are now running out of hard copies and this could only be due to ‘missing members’ also dropping by and grabbing copies, which is wonderful.”
Some of the members who no longer attend have also been joining the Zoom services. “I feel that these folk are starting to, God willing and leading, reconnect with the church in some form by being able to obtain copies of publications and ‘engage’ with sermons etc without needing to set foot inside the church. It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit can use any situation to the glory of God! [pullquote]
“During this time it’s actually been a wonderful way of simple reconnection with some and a strengthening of bonds with others.”
Manjimup church is also connecting with their community at this time, converting their relatively new food pantry ministry into a “drive-thru”. Food parcels are also being delivered if and when needed. A core group has begun working closely with other community and charity groups in town and on a number of occasions actively assisted in helping those made recently homeless into new accommodations, supplied necessary furniture items and stocked the pantry.
It is not only regional churches who are finding this model useful. Gosnells church pastor Kyle Richardson estimates that about one-third of Gosnells members don’t have access to online resources. He makes sure that, as part of the continued care and connection with Gosnells members, there is a weekly drop-off of all the materials they might need to keep them connected—the bulletin, Adventist Record, Sabbath school pamphlets and other motivational materials.
Daniel Salazar, pastor of the Mandurah church and the Kwinana church plant, has a similar story. “Many of our attendees like the hard-copy Record and other materials.”
He often visits the homes to drop the materials off, following strict social distancing protocol if they happen to be home, or dropping materials in their mail boxes.
“I find that members greatly appreciate still being connected to their local church even if it is only through the Record magazine,” he said. “The ‘ministry of presence’, even if only to bring a copy of the Record to our church members who are missing the fellowship at church, really makes a big difference when encouraging our members.”