Faith Aluko serves along with her husband in the leadership of the youth ministry of the Williams Memorial Methodist Cathedral Church, Ago-Ijaye,, Lagos. During the lockdown and restriction on physical gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she moved discipleship online using WhatsApp. She shares with us the experience and the impact.
What was the effect of the global pandemic on your church?
The effect of the pandemic was that we couldn’t do some of the programs we ought to have done this year due to the restrictions on gathering.
Why did you decide to run Alpha online using WhatsApp?
I decided to run Alpha online because of the government’s restrictions on social gatherings. To make it easier for most people to be able to connect, especially for those not used to zoom, we settled for WhatsApp. I saw that WhatsApp would enable a good number of young people to participate.
What were your fears when you were planning to start (if any) and how did you manage them?
My fear was how to fund the course by providing assisting the youth with data for each session.
Thankfully, I was assisted by some of our parents in the church, and a particular group supported us.
We were able to even give out gifts to those who participated fully.
How does Alpha fit into your church outreach/discipleship plan for young people?
Alpha is a helpful tool for evangelism which is a key business of the church – winning young people for Christ. It helps in bringing the youths together, to look at God’s word and build them up spiritually.
How would you describe the experience of running Alpha on WhatsApp?
Running Alpha has its challenges. Sometimes, we experienced network challenges, and being an online course, we always have to remind the guests through phone calls a few minutes to starting time.
What was the impact of it?
The impact was a positive one, most especially the Holy Spirit day, the distance wasn’t a barrier to His move in our midst.
On the Holy Spirit session, we used both chatting and voice recording for worship and prayer sessions, and the Holy Spirit surprised us, we deeply felt His presence.
What are some of the lessons for you/your church from running Alpha online?
The lessons learnt is never to let anything be a hindrance to evangelism i.e. reaching out to the youth.