Taking Small Group to Facebook

12th April 2018

It all started several months ago when we came to the realisation that hardly anyone and sometimes no-one was turning up for our Small Group on a Friday night. We kept it running as it was nice to bring in the Sabbath together, but we were slowly realising that something needed to change for more people to be involved in connecting with God.

So, what did we do? I have a good number of friends on Facebook and every so often I would be invited to see one of these friends broadcast their adventures, funny moments in life, or very boring moments in life that they really wanted to share live on Facebook in real time. Which got me thinking, 'what if we did this for our Small Group?'

One Friday I announced it on Facebook that at 8:00 pm in the evening there would be a LIVE St Austell Facebook Live worship session. It turned out to be just Jena (my wife) and I in front of my iPad. We sang several worship songs together, I read a portion of scripture with a few short sentences to accompany it, and then we finished with a song. That was it, 30 minutes and done. But boy was I surprised as we worshiped together to see people engaging with the songs, commenting words of encouragement, even song requests. The biggest surprise was how after a few hours the recording had received well over 400 views; now that was a few more people than we had turning up on a Friday night! We had to do it again.

Over the following months I invited fellow musicians and singers to come and be a part of this new experiment with good friends joining us from the Methodist church, the Baptist church, and from the Church of England offering genuine selfless worship to an online audience we would never ordinarily meet. This was turning out to be something special not just with who was interacting online but with the group that was starting to form in front of the camera on those Friday nights.

However, Friday 6 April was the evening where it became apparent to me that this was an event we have to continue. Steven Webb turned up at the house an hour early to set up various iPhones and iPads (mine included) to make the live streaming more interesting. During the week several youths we are connected to through the church requested being there along with the various artists I had invited for the evening. It really was one of those moments that one would say, "You have to have been there."

It was a God-filled room crowded with bodies of all ages along with guitars, keys, a saxophone, and the cajón drum. EJ gave us the scriptural inspiration for the evening from John 14:27 and sharing on the topic of 'What do we fear or worry about?' From the room many said that this was what they had needed at the end of what had been a busy week. I was also encouraged to receive several texts from a few people who had watched online saying exactly the same thing.

Why do I share this with you? Because I believe God can turn an empty living room on a Friday night into a space that has the potential to speak to hundreds. There are many more stories to tell about this adventure, but I fear I have already written too much. But do keep an eye out and feel free to join us online as we worship together.

 


[Steven Hulbert]


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