After several months of ministry in the midst of a pandemic, things are slowly beginning to shift. Some states have begun re-opening. Most states and churches are announcing and exploring phased stages of regathering. Communities are thinking about recovery and what the “next normal” will look like. By the way, there are two helpful images we have been hearing to think about the next few months:
Ed Stetzer told us to think about the next few months like an accordion. There may be multiple phases of expanding and contracting in terms of our ability to gather in-person. Related to that, many envision a pendulum effect on public safety. There is a continuum between caution and confidence. We will begin to settle into a new equilibrium between caution and confidence as communities and churches.
This Summer, we will shift some of our focus in these resource roundups. We want to help raise pastoral awareness about the impact this pandemic is having. Let us know how you are finding ways to meet the acute pastoral needs surfacing right now!
Effective Ministry and Leadership Resources
- Adaptive Leadership – We have highlighted adaptive leadership and Canoeing the Mountains several times. We received this Canoeing the Mountains Group Curriculum from Fr. Greg Snyder. He developed it to lead teams through this material as a group.
- Navigating Disagreement – One of the key challenges ahead is helping our parishes navigate disagreement well. The Gospel Coalition has an article up about this.
- Related, Ed Stetzer posted a strong challenge about online conspiracy theories. In short, don’t be dumb.
- Similarly, Current Issues Facing Clergy from Bishop Todd Hunter was sent out by Bishop Todd to his diocesan clergy. This is a great read. In short, put politics aside.
- Theological Reflection – Hans Boersma of Nashotah House has a short article in First Things reflecting on ecclesiology and ongoing discussions about communion in this unique season. Were you considering K-Cups for Communion?
- Terminology – As communities begin phased regathering and recovery, you will likely begin hearing about the viral reproduction rate, or RO (pronounced R-naught). So, here is a quick primer on this term.
- Financial Resources – the ECFA has some great resources for church leaders navigating COVID-19. For example, here is some follow up work on the CARES Act for churches.
- Similarly, the NCF has this great audio podcast on encouraging trends in generosity. Brilliant!
- The Rector and the Vestry – This book continues to be helpful to many churches and leaders. Order your copy at Amazon and then order copies for your entire Vestry. As you come out of quarantine, why not re-start your Vestry sessions with an entirely new view of your ministry? You will not be sorry. Amazon has it in paperback and on Kindle.
How to Deal with the Aftermath of This
- Economic Impact – Are you keeping track of the job loss and negative financial impact all around us? U.S. News & World Report has a handy information hub with key, up-to-date statistics. According to this hub, there are close to 3,000,000 new unemployment claims this week (last accessed Monday afternoon for this post) and an overall unemployment rate of ~ 15%.
- Mental Health – In the early days, we all learned a new slogan. The goal was to “flatten the curve” to avoid pushing medical facilities past capacity. The Washington Post reports that there is a similar crisis in mental health as resources are overwhelmed. (Related to this, resources specifically for pastoral resiliency are also being produced).
- Spiritual Openness – The Wall Street Journal posted an article recently on the Science of Prayer. It explores the idea that more people are praying noting that “There may still be some atheists in foxholes … But the general trend is for the religious impulse to quicken in a time of crisis.”
Zoom Goes Boom!
Many of our earlier Resource Roundups had extensive information for pivoting to digital worship services. Lots of Anglican churches are using Zoom extensively. If you are one of those churches, then I don’t have to tell you that Zoom went down on Sunday. As you continue to offer digital resources (which we recommend even as churches regather in-person), make sure to continue to evaluate your technology options and begin to build them into your new budgets. Currently, many churches are relying on streaming through free platforms or at a minimal cost. The Zoom outage Sunday reminded us that congregations should look at technological points of failure – especially if our models are built on third-party applications.
Action Item: Don’t be cheap. Spend the money to get the right system that will serve your needs long term. Can you really afford to bungle Sunday morning?
This is the eighth COVID-19 Resource Roundup from the Evergreen Project Team. Each is intended as a stand-alone collection of resources to encourage the Body of Christ and equip Anglican leaders.
The Evergreen Project is an ACNA effort led by Canon David Roseberry of LeaderWorks. Archbishop Foley Beach and Canon Alan Hawkins have tasked the team along with Canon Phil Ashey and the American Anglican Council to collect, create, and curate resources to help ACNA congregations in this unique time. We want to help by pointing busy pastors and ministry leaders to things we are finding helpful amidst the vast amount of content being produced and published right now.