With Aotearoa New Zealand in COVID-19 lockdowns again, one of our Regional Leaders, Reti Ah-Voa was quick to seek Sunday online gathering resources from within the Baptist whānau to share with each other, initially from and for the Northern Baptist Association, but we thought this might be helpful over the next few weeks for local churches throughout the motu.

Speaking initially to our Northern Association churches last week, Reti said:

“We are mindful that many of us are still recovering from last year, and we are thankful to you and your teams for your steadfastness and commitment to your faith community.

As we prepare to gather [online and] in different ways on Sunday, we want to provide a resource that is already available within our Northern whānau—particularly if your faith community do not normally have an online presence. If you are not resourced to stream content online, or are not planning to, but would like to direct your people to worship and sermons from within our Baptist Association, below is a list of online services you are welcome to make use of—listed here with permission.”

Looking at the list below you might find a church similar to yours, or one very different, that something from their live stream or previous weeks content might be useful to use in your own context. Feel free to use what you need. Also feel free to let these churches know they are helping your local faith community in some way. Perhaps you could add to the list.

Let lockdown release you from tradition

We would also like to acknowledge that during lockdown it is also totally fine to let go of the weekly Sunday church service routine with the usual expectation of producing singing, sermon and notices, just now online. Here are some other ways a local church could connect together and sustain spirituality during these stay-at-home times:

  • Prepare ‘at home’ packs with resources such as Bible readings, prayers, activities to do with others in your bubble, including children, things to prayer for, links to some video/audio content online to watch together and discuss, for example:
  • Using pre-made resources like The Bible Project’s newest video (6-minutes) on Psalm 148 that unpacks how this psalm summons the entire cosmos to praise God in response to God’s promise of a king who will bring victory and rescue all of creation.
  • Set a time to meet together for a cuppa over Zoom (this doesn’t have to be Sunday morning). Use break-out rooms to have 10-15 minute chats with smaller groups and see how people are going. Pray for each other and the world (Afghanistan, Haiti…)
  • Remember 10% of New Zealanders—more than half a million people—don’t have internet access.1 If ‘at home’ packs are produced—which might just be a one-pager—see if you can coordinate a few people who are online to print these pages out and deliver them to those in their close-to-home exercise zone who are not online.

Share: we’re better together

It would be great to hear what others are doing to connect with and care for their local faith/church communities—please share what you’re doing in the comments section below (these are moderated within hours). If your Baptist church has an online presence that might be helpful to others, let us know in the comments and we’ll add you to the list.

Baptist churches with online streamed church services

In alphabetical order, Sundays unless otherwise stated:

Albany Baptist Church – 10am Facebook
Auckland Baptist Tabernacle (Mandarin) – 1.15pm YouTube
Eastgate Christian Centre, Auckland – 9am YouTube and Facebook
Ekklesia Samoan Baptist Church, Auckland – 4pm Facebook
Glen Eden Baptist Church – 9.30am and 5pm on Facebook or gebc.org.nz/live/
Hamilton Central Baptist Church – pre-recorded services hcbc.nz/virtual
Hills Church, Auckland – 10am YouTube and Facebook
Hutt City Baptist Church – 10am YouTube
“Kaa-Morgan” Whakamoemiti (Te Reo), Auckland – 7pm Facebook
Kerikeri Baptist Church – 10am Facebook
Liberty Church, Auckland – 10.30am Facebook
Manukau City Baptist Church – 10am Facebook or YouTube
Māngere Bridge Baptist Church – 10am Facebook or YouTube
Mt Albert Baptist Church – 10am Facebook or YouTube
Pakuranga Chinese Baptist Church (Cantonese) – Saturday 7.30pm; Sunday 10.30am; English 4.30pm Facebook
Ranui Baptist Church – 11am YouTube
Taupo Baptist Church – 10am YouTube
The Render Gathering – 9.15am therendergathering.com/render-live or Facebook
Titirangi Baptist Church – 10am YouTube
Westgate Baptist Church – 10am YouTube
Windsor Park Baptist Church – 9.30am windsorpark.org.nz/online/church-online or Facebook

Our thanks to these churches for making their work available to us all. Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Contributor: Mike Crudge, Communications Director, Baptist Churches of New Zealand

Reference:

  1. 2018 Census