“Every home a church” is the theme that is moving Southwest Region Conference. While all church buildings have closed and congregations have ceased to gather for face to face prayer and Bible study, church remains open for worship at home and on the internet. Matthew 18:20 affirms that where two or three gather in God’s name, there He is with them and we testify that God has been with us on every phone and internet connection, every Facebook Live event and every YouTube video replayed where God’s name has been lifted up.
At least once a day, every day of the week, members can tune in to one of many Conference-wide live prayer hours and small group meetings. More than 2,000 youth from around the Conference are coming together for YAWE, a Youth and Young Adult Worship Experience in both English and Spanish as well as for a live Bible Bee on Zoom. Friday evening has become the highlight of the week when hundreds of participants join Facebook Live for a “Fireside Chat with President Watkins” as he welcomes in the Sabbath hours and leads our membership in prayer and Bible study.
Members have also appreciated a special segment with Elder Watkins hosting panels with medical doctors and experts, the presidents of the nine Regional Conferences in North America and most recently, Elder Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church. In Elder Wilson’s message to the membership, he quoted verses from Psalm 57 and 46 and reminded us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He encouraged the members to spend time in the Word of God and in prayer asking for the latter rain and to be involved in the mighty mission to warn people of the great things to come upon the earth and the provisions that the Lord is making for us now and of His soon return. These weekly broadcasts have gained an extraordinary following, evident in the more than 6,000 viewers that have watched after the live broadcast has ended.
According to President Watkins, “the COVID-19 crisis is changing the way we do ministry.”
Members are actively conducting Bible studies through Zoom and other online platforms; former members are returning to Christ and the church is receiving all who desire to be ready for Jesus’ soon return.
While the world awaits the uncertainty of another day, the Southwest Region Conference Family continues to encourage one another and spread the Gospel and the Hope of Jesus Christ. We realize that, more than ever, there is no limit to how we can come together and worship God, there is no obstacle for doing ministry and certainly no excuse for sharing the Gospel message.
By Leslie Soupet