When the coronavirus pandemic struck, the first lockdown brought with it a need to stay in touch with the teenagers in her congregation, so Revd Anne Beverley filmed on the social media platform, TikTok – but she did not expect what was about to unfold.
In three days, her video on her TikTok account @ChristChurchWesham was seen not just by the seven local teenagers, but by 1.7 million people around the world.
“We just sat at home watching the numbers go up every time we refreshed our phones,” said Revd Beverley, “it was ridiculous.”
Today, five or six videos are posted each week, which range from dances and singing, to short sermons while walking the dog.
The church has more than 66,000 followers and receives around a thousand comments each week, including questions about the Bible and where God is in the pandemic.
Every commenter is prayed for and replied to by a team at the church.
“TikTok isn’t the place for deep theological debate,” explains Revd Beverley, “but we can direct people to our YouTube account.
"We did a whole series on difficult questions.”
She added: “We hope and pray that some of the seeds that we are scattering will produce fruit in the future."
Interest is already being piqued. One person told her that they had become a Christian after seeing her TikTok posts, while another expressed starting to think about faith as a result.
Lockdown restrictions may now be easing, but the team at Christ Church, Wesham have no plans to ease their TikTok involvement – they will keep posting, praying, and being present.
- The Church of England's Vision and Strategy for the 2020s is helping us to be a Church which proclaims and lives out the Good News of Jesus Christ afresh in every generation.