Pastor Neal Benson of Coastline Bible Church had an extra reason to be bummed about not gathering in-person this Easter—it was his church’s 98th birthday.
But like thousands of other pastors across the world, Pastor Neal has embraced technology and has seen God continue to move in their church through church online.
We had hoped to meet in person for Easter, but we saw online church as a great opportunity to reach more people than we could have if we met in person only.Pastor Neal
Pastor Neal started using resources on the Open Network years ago, but just as COVID-19 began to shut the doors of churches in the Ventura, California area, he received an email from the Open Network team about a resource that would allow Coastline Bible Church to stream church online in this season. It was at this moment that their relationship with the Church Online Platform began!
We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t have a plan or solution. But we were able to call the Open Network team and have them walk us through what we needed to learn to get the Church Online Platform up and running. It was so easy to do!Pastor Neal
Even before “social distancing” was a phrase in our vocabulary, Pastor Neal prayed that their church would see 500 people attend Easter online at Coastline Bible Church—but God had more in store. Nearly 1,000 people logged on to watch Coastline’s Easter worship service from cities all over the world, and as a result, they saw 23 hands raised through the Church Online Platform’s Salvation Moment—a way a church attender can digitally commit their life to Christ!
There’s no way that the Coastline Bible Church staff could have known the impact and reach they would have through the Church Online Platform. But Pastor Neal has seen firsthand the power of an invite, especially an online one. He watched as his mother, who struggles with a brain injury, invited her friends from all over Southern California to join them for church on Easter. Many other attenders, Neal included, invited family members who aren’t connected to a church to gather with them too. Because church was meeting online, many new folks logged on who may not have attended church otherwise, and heard the Gospel message preached. What a huge win!
One of the things that the Coastline Bible Church team really loves about the Church Online Platform is the way that online hosts can chat privately as services are live. They can identify people who are joining them for the first time and encourage one another as a volunteer team while they interact with newcomers in the live chat.
As a church, we’re seeing people invite their family members who’ve walked away from the Lord, back toward a relationship with Him and reconnect with each other.Pastor Neal
When the Thomas fire came through Ventura California two years ago, many pastors in the area united together during that time, including Pastor Neal. As the coronavirus spread began several weeks ago, this same group of pastors came together to talk about how they could rally together in this season. As they gathered, Pastor Neal was able to help these church leaders learn how to use the Church Online Platform for their ministries too.
Pastor Neal, we celebrate what God is doing through your online ministry and your faithfulness in sharing the Gospel!
Pastors, we hope you’re realizing by now that sharing God’s Word with others online has never been easier; the Church Online Platform team is honored to provide ministry-specific tools to you to continue reaching your community.
Pastor Neal and Coastline Bible Church are just one story of many about how streaming church online doesn’t mean we have to be any less connected to each other. We can continue to encourage people to invite their family members, Facebook friends, and co-workers to join them virtually for church because we know that there is so much power in an invite — even an online one!
Has God been showing up and showing off in your ministry through the Church Online Platform or as you’re using Open Network resources? Share your story with us!
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