The senior pastor of Elim Church in Dunedin uploaded a powerful live message to Facebook and interacted with many gathered in the comments. The video quickly amassed more than 1000 views. As the Covid-19 pandemic shuts down much of the world, most churches are doing the same thing as Adam Dodds either pre-recording messages or uploading them live. Throughout his live stream, he senses something strange and finds out that his viewers are higher than usual in a traditional service.
"It was strange ... and I'd much rather talk to people face-to-face, but you've got to make do," he says.
"The number of viewers was actually higher than we would normally get on a Sunday," Dodds says. "I know it wasn't all church people, either. I think this is a time when those who are curious can watch with comfort from their own home."
He states, Christianity can become less about buildings and traditions, and more about relationships, even if the social aspect of his faith has changed. He believes that the coronavirus pandemic is bringing non-Christians into Christians and some are encountering God at this moment. People are getting curious about Christianity.
Elim is encouraging its worshippers to break off into smaller groups and keep in touch via social media platforms, something the Anglican Church is also doing.
"Faith isn't just about taking part in an institution."
He believes the pandemic is a test from God - a God who is also helping people overcome that test. "We are being tested, but like last year after what happened in Christchurch, our country came together. I believe that with the help of God and our government and our doctors we will succeed and defeat this virus. "Because this virus has no religion."
Adam Dodds says he hopes the pandemic will lead to people re-evaluating their priorities, as well as greater compassion for their neighbors. He says hard times end up shaping people's lives more than the good. He says his main source of comfort is that while he may be quarantined, "God isn't".
"God is at work in all kinds of ways."