Churches have always strived to increase membership. Why not? After all, is it not a sure sign of growth? Furthermore, the churches do so to obey the word; the gospel shall be proclaimed to all and the end shall come. With Covid-19 looming in the horizon, the rules of the game have changed overnight.
Church congregation must not exceed 100 members per service. Instead of encouraging members to attend church services, churches must now engage reverse gear, start discouraging church members from attending services.
The church should entice the flock into staying at home on Sundays or Saturdays by reaching out to them through electronic means. One way to do this is through live TV and radio broadcasts. The challenge is that Malawi does not have enough TV channels and radio stations to cater for the many churches. Live TV and radio broadcasts are not cheap.
Churches in the urban set-up have WhatsApp or Facebook groups for the membership. Church leadership can record sermons orentire church service proceedings and ‘broadcast’ the same on the group.
For churches that have websites, they can stream live church services or streams live broadcasts on Facebook just as good as Times 360 does.
Churches can take advantage of YouTube free services to upload church service or sermon clips. Any member with a smartphone can access the content in the convenience of their homes. Members can download such video files and share with others on flash media. The advantage with these electronic means is that they kill two birds with one stone. A sermon on YouTube will not only reach out to members.
It will reach to others and may convince them to join the church. It is a wonderful avenue for evangelism. Would recording every church service not require huge storage facilities?
You might be asking. Not at all. Ours is a cloud space age. The church can take advantage of Google Drive and Drop Box to store content. With a little investment, church cloud space storage can be accessed by members. This is like some VPN for the church.
With or without corona virus, churches must continue to pay salaries and utility bills. The traditional offering plate going around is already old-fashioned in this covid-19 era and may not achieve much.
Church must embrace electronic means of receipting tithes and offerings.
My take is that people make such payments to advance the gospel and not as a payment for having attended a church service. Members can, therefore, make such payment through TNM Mpamba, Airtel Money, Mo626, FDH 525, NBS EasyMoney and the many other plastic money avenues available in Malawi. Welcome to the digital world!