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    Go into all the world… digitally | Kellyville Church

    21 September 2021

    She is quiet and shy, but through COVID-19 and Kellyville Seventh-day Adventist Church’s digital ministries, Michelle Abellana has become an evangelistic dynamo.

    Michelle, a Kellyville church member for 15 years, is the eldest child in her family. Growing up in the Philippines, Michelle’s family went to church; but when the children moved away from home, church attendance for some became spasmodic or non-existent. Michelle’s father got sick and, before passing away in June 2020, he told his children, “I want to see you in heaven”. Michelle has a burden for her younger siblings and took this to heart.

    Kellyville Adventist church started to broadcast services in March 2020 as Sydney locked down. Media Ministries Director Rod Long produced digital services week after week. “We planned to pre-record our services each week rather than broadcast them live”, he says. “This gave us the best opportunity to bring a quality worship experience and point of connection with our church community, which we felt was going to be vital as isolation began to take its toll. We placed a high priority on connection with viewers and creating engagement through interaction.”

    Michelle saw COVID as an opportunity to reunite her family in worship. She told her siblings, “We can all be together and worship. Just try and see if you like it”. At first, just three sisters started watching, but then it grew. Now, 12 families, friends, and workmates—about 42 people—are watching together on Facebook and YouTube from the US and Philippines.

    Michelle says, “Through the Holy Spirit I was able to bring my family back together and worship. Now our family is united in worship each week. I’m overwhelmed that I can share the good news; I am so grateful that our online ministry is touching lives virtually”. Through Michelle’s ministry, three people have started Bible studies, including a former Catholic chapel president, and her siblings Mercy and Michael.

    COVID brought Kellyville church viewers across the globe—Philippines, India, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States—as well as a request from New Zealand for a sermon script for a man in gaol. “We felt that what we were producing could have a broader impact than our immediate church community,” said Pastor Martin Vukmanic. “We have developed a digital strategy and we still broadcast our service live each week. Until we found out about Michelle’s ministry, we did not have any idea about the impact our services were having”.

    To broadcast live, Kellyville church invested in cameras and broadcast equipment in faith. This initiative has also had another benefit. “Most of our camera operators are young people who have an opportunity to both learn new skills and to serve in our church community; the vast majority of our camera operators are of high school age, many just 12 or 13 years old,” Rod Long said. “This digital ministry has given them opportunities to serve and to feel a strong connection to their church community.”

    At Kellyville and beyond, churches are seeing what digital outreach can do. “This is such an exciting new area for evangelism in the Seventh-day Adventist Church”, says Pastor Terry Johnson, Greater Sydney Conference President.

    “Prior to COVID, we had 6,700 people in our churches worshipping on Sabbath in the Greater Sydney Conference. Since the start of COVID, church attendance has boomed to over 25,000 watching our programs. Michelle’s personal touch has taken private viewing from being impersonal to evangelistic fellowship, and her example is one we’d love everybody to take up.”

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