Locked In But Not Locked Out … FEIC Member Churches Thrive During COVID-19 Lockdown
As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through Europe months ago, national lockdowns became the norm. Government officials restricted individual movement and group gatherings to minimize the spread of the virus.
But that hasn’t stopped the church from being the church! FEIC member churches across Europe – and even Northern Africa – continue to meet and minister online throughout the lockdown.
Over the next few days, the FEIC communications team will release a series of brief interviews with a number of pastors from our member churches on how they are coping with lockdown, how they are keeping ministry going, testimonies of what God is doing in their church and city, and what they’ve learned through this unprecedented experience.
We hope you enjoy this series we’re calling: ‘Locked In But Not Locked Out … FEIC Member Churches Thrive During COVID-19 Lockdown’
Jeff Slaughter for FEIC
Lockdown in Morocco: Chris Martin
Chris and Carol Martin pastor CIPC (Casablanca International Protestant Church) in Morocco.
FEIC: How are online services going for your church? What kind of engagement are you getting? What has surprised you about having services online?
Chris: It is going well:
- We are getting very good views: 150-200 on Sunday plus 50-75 watching the french version and about 100 watching KidzChurch. Each week the views of the older services climb so folks are tuning in later in the week and watching which is good.
- We are getting good feedback from people all over the world that they are watching out video services. It’s a bit hard preaching to the camera. Also I am not a super-techie guy so editing and uploading is a bit of a burden… but I have our church media team helping out and it gives them a way to serve during this time.
- We are doing a lot of food deliveries each week. About 50% attend our church but we are also getting calls from old members that we have not seen in years… funny who they turn to in crisis! And we also get a lot of calls from new folks who find us online or stop at the church to ask for help and get our number. I am hopeful this will bring some new folks into the church when we restart our regular services. Whether it does or not we are glad to help out… we know this is a real need for many.
FEIC: Since you started having services online, what have you learned that works and doesn’t work?
Chris: As I am watching my services and others…
- I find it best to keep it short… I’m trying to shorten mine.
- I also notice some folks place the camera looking up… maybe they are recording from their laptop… but looking straight on or down is so much better. Changing angles is good.
- I’ve been doing my intro and announcement in different locations… driving in my car… walking on the beach… etc…
- Watch yourself each week and ask – what can I do better next week?
FEIC: Can you share a testimony or two about what God has done for you, your family and your church during this time?
Chris: Well… I’m blessed! Hallelujah!
- People are giving even though I have said they don’t need to. Even when I’ve delivered food – people have said – pastor, here is my tithe… and handed me an envelope! Incredible how faithful God’s people are. God has sustained the church beautifully during this season.
- As we have delivered food many have been very conscious that others need food and are budgeting their resources so they don’t have to ask again so we can serve others.
- I’ve been surprised by so many who use to attend our church but have moved to other countries and have chosen to watch our online service. And they have written me! And they’ve said the sermons were good! Now the last one is a stretch but I am thankful for their kind comments. Some have even said they are sharing the messages with new friends who don’t know me or our church. Amazing!
FEIC: Do you and/or your church have any specific prayer requests you would like to share?
Chris: I don’t think anything specific to us. Just that it ends. We can get back to our services. That we can have an even greater ministry because of this crisis.