Serving the Community Online
Katie: You’ve been hosting at least four Zoom meetings per week. How’s the turnout been for you and your department?
Anil: We started doing something called Growth Lab on every Tuesday and Thursday, to share ideas and inspirations on how we can grow in our culinary skills, mental health, fitness, videography, etc. We’ve been getting about 30-60 people. For bible studies and worship on Friday, we get about 50-120 people and 70-130 on Sabbath.
Katie: What are some of the most popular topics?
Anil: We record our meetings, and we get over 1000 views on topics related to the pandemic and prophecy studies. That’s not counting YouTube views. Many people are interested in the prophecy studies now.
Katie: Now is the time to take ministry into the digital space, right?
Anil: When Jesus gave the commission, He didn’t say stop serving and teaching during a pandemic. The packaging may change and the way we communicate may change, but, yes, we don’t stop. In fact, we should’ve started building community and content in the digital space a month ago or, even, a few years ago.
I preached a sermon on this. When you read Acts, you’ll see lots of excitement—high energy, lots of momentum, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Did the book end with the same type of higher energy? It ended with Paul on house arrest, but it was during this time that he had the greatest influence. Paul penned most of the new testament during the house arrest. It’s incredible. In Acts, we see that God wants us to be creative.
Katie: Are the older adults being invited and engaged in this type of community built via Zoom, Hangouts, and Facebook Live? Is there a gap?
Anil: I seldom see attendees older than 50 years old. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of content, but there’s It Is Written and 3ABN.
Katie: You’ve been promoting the content for Growth Lab on Instagram. How do you engage your followers? Can you share three tips with us?
Anil: Don’t do the same thing you did last week. That means update your flyer and change the graphics. When someone ask a question or make a comment, we respond within a day or two. In a world where people are searching to understand the bible more, we encourage our team members to respond quickly and use advertisements. The more our followers see new content and advertisements, the more they will be interested and become engaged. Finally, church leaders and pastors need to do more than preaching. We need to incorporate discussions, bible studies, and interviews. It also helps to solicit help. One of our followers asked if she could help. That really helped build momentum and excitement for our community.
BY Anil Kanda & Katie C.M. Li
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Anil is the Young Adult Director at the Central California Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist church.