New Canadian Baptist Church is a Russian-speaking CBOQ church in Montreal. Their pastor, Vitaliy Shelemba recently reported that some members believe the church is better now in the days of COVID-19 than it ever was! This is a surprising comment given that its members are dutifully keeping physical distance.
So how is it happening? Through Vitaliy’s leadership, the church revitalised some time ago, putting all the elements in place to make New Canadian Baptist a great place to belong now. Pastor Shelemba credits the change to his three-tier approach:
- On Sundays, the church meets through the Zoom platform. Regular worshippers are encouraged to invite friends and acquaintances to the service. Attendance has soared as so many people seek hope in these times of uncertainty.
- A prayer and Bible study meeting take place for regular worshippers only. Children and youth have their own virtual group meetings also.
- To date, nine small groups meet virtually during the week, caring and praying together.
Working from home, Vitaliy continues to remain connected with his flock, rejoicing that through some tough years of restructuring, God is being glorified in ways he never thought possible.
Another Montreal congregation, Madison Baptist Church, has also found new ways to serve. Led by their long-serving pastor Thomas Paul, former chaplain to the Montreal Alouettes, the church has not stopped ministering to its Christian community despite the COVID -19 virus. Some creative leaders have even created a new webpage called We Are Still a Church.
The church designed a full Sunday experience for the whole family in a way that allows families to take the lead. There are ample opportunities for families and even people who live alone to interact with the content and with each other. The elements range from a podcast to a video devotional from the pastor. Humour is used to ease some of the pain of physical distancing.
Pastor Thomas is glad that his leaders have been quick to seize the opportunity to use their gifts in different ways while still serving their Saviour.
Many churches are finding creative ways to connect with each other and the communities around them even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s your church doing? How are you connecting with your community, and what ideas can we share with the rest of your Canadian Baptist family? Let us know! Your ideas might be just the thing to help another church!