Wesley Mission’s Samoan Congregation paves the way for online church
It was a long night. They spent hours recording their first online church service. “We wanted to get it as perfect as it can be,” Pastor Watson Pualilo said, Minister for Wesley Mission’s Samoan Congregation.
“It was a totally new experience for myself and my family who are all involved with this.” In March 2020, gathering restrictions prevented churches from meeting in-person, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).So Wesley Mission’s congregations moved into the online space by streaming their weekly church services.
“When I first heard that we’d be holding our services online, a bit of panic and fear set in because I’d never done online before,” Ps Watson said.
But Ps Watson and his family are making a significant impact in the community with their online service. Together with his wife Tanya and two children, Grace and Jireh, they’ve adapted their service to bring the message of Jesus Christ in a relatable format online. And while a small congregation of less than 50 people, their online presence has expanded their reach since they began streaming.
“We didn’t expect to get more than 50 views. So it’s good that we’re able to reach that many people. It’s really encouraging,” he said.
Since they began streaming, their numbers have grown from strength to strength, with over 3,100 views and more than 52 hours watched. Their church service has moved beyond an Australian audience to have an international presence in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, Ps Watson said their online presence has provided another pathway to share the gospel message with people they previously wouldn’t have reached. While Ps Watson’s church community is eager to physically gather again, he hopes they can continue ministering to people online.
“Even when we go back to our churches, I hope we can maintain contact with those people viewing our services online,” he said.
In addition to services in Samoan, Wesley Mission are also streaming services in English, Indonesian and Chinese each week.
Join Wesley Mission’s Samoan Congregation at wesleymission.org.au/congregations-online or Wesley Mission’s Facebook page at 11am every Sunday.