While the tragedies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have upended many lives, ‘getting back to normal’ is not something the people of Mawson Lakes Community Church (MLCC) are hoping for.
Like many other churches, this LCA/NZ congregation in Adelaide’s north has undergone dramatic shifts in its ministries since March. But for MLCC it wasn’t just a case of temporarily ‘pivoting and innovating’ while churches were closed – it’s worked for sustainable change.
For Pastor Chris Mann that attitude is biblically based. ‘Every time there’s a crisis, what God wants people to do is to embrace something new – you find that all through the Bible’, he says. ‘So we want to keep on going and see where God would take this.’
Before COVID-19, MLCC had an out-of-date website and little social media presence. When shutdown occurred, staff were employed to improve the church’s online presence, including through its website at www.mlcc.org.au
Creating an online community using live-streaming – even after face-to-face worship returned – has enabled the congregation to support those unable to meet in person. Today MLCC describes itself as ‘one church, two rooms’ – one virtual, online room and one face-to-face room on Sundays.
Pastor Chris says MLCC has learnt through the pandemic to be as inclusive as possible. ‘We’re serving people with online church who always needed to be served, but would only be included through people visiting them in their homes’, he says. ‘Now they’re part of the worship service and they feel included.’
While following health guidelines, members with internet access have also been encouraged to invite others over to watch the streamed services, while MLCC people have also been on a phone cycle to contact those not online.
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