Six short months ago church-goers didn’t think twice about sharing hugs, sitting beside friends, and singing shoulder to shoulder during Sunday morning church services.
McDiarmid Alliance Church in Brandon had added a second service to their Sunday mornings, ministering up to 650 people a week just before COVID-19 hit the province.
About 18 months ago, the McDiarmid Alliance Church had started the process of building up their technical infrastructure, and in early 2020 the church began live streaming to reach those unable to attend Sunday morning services.
Little did they know that live streaming was to be the way to share the gospel once churches were closed to the mass public due to a worldwide pandemic.
Pastor Darryl McAuley says by the time COVID hit, they had been live streaming for about 6 months.
"We had been working out bugs and we had been getting our technology in place so that lent itself to where we were able to do the online services, but just continuing," he says.
"We have definitely added to our technology just to make the stream easier to access, a little bit more stable, and a little bit better quality, and so that’s what we’ve been working on since COVID hit, just building upon some of the things we had already been doing."
Since COVID-19, technology has certainly helped to fill the need, but McAuley says it just doesn’t replace Sunday morning fellowship.
Now preaching to empty pews and a camera, McAuley says COVID-19 has shed light on the value of what he, and his congregation, had enjoyed before the pandemic.
“As a church we’ve been talking, and we’re looking at how to roll out our Back Together Plan,” explains McAuley, “and in that, we’ve made lots of plans and a lot of those plans have changed.”
“So, when our staff and our elders meet now, one of the things that we often do is we plan, but then we hold it with an open hand,” he shares, “and, it’s been amazing what we’ve been able to see, and how we’ve been able to see God at work.”