We need your help.

We are assembling the best resources for ministry in the church relative to the COVID crisis. This is the ninth edition of the round-up. Thank you all for your support and for your readership.

We want to turn our attention to how churches are dealing with the IMPACT and EFFECT of the Pandemic on the people in our churches and communities. How are YOU dealing with the aftermath of grief, unemployment, family tensions, pastoral health, etc. on the people of your parish.

In other words, what do you know that you can share with others to strengthen our witness and proclaim the Gospel?

Please send us your best ideas, your strongest programming, or the resources you are engaging in. Send to danieladkinson [AT] me.com.

Until then please read our post today.

Dealing With the Initial Aftermath as Pastors

  • Grief, Sadness, and Lament – Here is a brief article about Pastoring the Bereaved During COVID-19. Anglican Compass featured a related interview with a grief counselor we highlighted earlier this month.
  • Unemployment Statistics – The economic impact of this pandemic has been enormous. We are still seeing several million new unemployment claims in the U.S. on a weekly basis. As of May 21, according to this Washington Post article, the total number of unemployment claims was 38.6 million and we are on track to see that climb to 40 million this week. This will have a major financial impact on our churches and communities. We need to be thinking of pastoral responses and aid for those needing work.
  • Impact on Mental Health – Many are beginning to note the mental health impact of this pandemic. There is a rise in suicide, depression, fear, anxiety, stress, addiction relapses, and other mental health issues. This is anticipated to continue and increase, which means we need to be pastorally aware, praying, and proactive in our ministries.

Pentecost Sunday is coming up this weekend!

It is always a Sunday for celebration and transition. We celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the early church as we pray for the Spirit’s ongoing work in and through each one of us and our churches! We also begin the transition into Ordinary Time, the Season after Pentecost. This seems especially significant this year as we move out of these initial months of crisis and crisis response into the “next normal” of gradual periods of phased recovery over the summer.

As we lead our teams and congregations, we need to celebrate each phase of regathering while realizing that COVID-19 is not over. There will be an ongoing impact in multiple areas including our economies, mental health, and daily life. Many anticipate an eventual resurgence and multiple phases of expanding and contracting in terms of our ability to gather in-person. It is also probable that we will see a new equilibrium settle in between caution and confidence as communities and churches. Over the last week, it has been interesting to see colleges and universities begin to release fall plans and contingency scenarios.

Remember, we hosted a webinar conversation with Ed Stetzer about re-gathering and looking ahead to the Fall. This would be a great time to review that webinar on re-gathering and our key take-aways. This week in our Resource Round-Up, we are highlighting resources on re-gathering, broader predictions in church trends, and areas for pastoral awareness.

Effective Ministry and Leadership Resources

  • Regathering for Worship – Checklists and resources for re-gathering are beginning to emerge. For example, Guidestone has free resources to help churches resume operations including a road map to re-entry, sample plan, FAQs, and more. We came across a detailed plan for cleaning and sanitation from a cleaning consulting group – Benchmark Cleaning Consultants.
  • Pentecost Sunday – Anglican Compass has some great articles up for Pentecost Sunday – The Person and Work of the Spirit in a Time of Coronavirus and a great collection of quotes on What They Are Saying about Pentecost.
  • Adaptive Leadership – We want to highlight the work being done by the Anglican Diocese of New England. They are doing a great job of adaptive leadership. Check out the personal inventory guide they have put together for self-reflection. Here is a pastoral letter from the Bishop and his team about their vision for this season and a series of upcoming regional conferences.

Rather than waiting for things to “get back to normal,” we can ask, “How might the Holy Spirit be guiding us into a new and deeper life of prayer, of discipleship, and of loving witness and service to our local communities?” 

  • Pastoral Reflection – Bishop N. T. Wright had an article in Time Magazine focused on the question of Should Churches Reopen? adapted from an upcoming short-form book reflecting on this pandemic.
  • Digital Engagement – Almost every Anglican congregation made significant changes virtually overnight in terms of technology. You probably have noticed that online engagement has dropped significantly. Carey Nieuwhof has a post on Why Are Your Online Attendance Numbers Suddenly Dropping? As you think about what’s next, each congregation should think through what new things to continue or adapt digitally as we begin to re-gather in-person.

Forecasts and Trends

  • Barna Group – The Barna Group hosted a Webcast on Caring for Souls in a New Reality based on recent research and trends. Check out the highlights from the webcast where you can also sign up to access the full webcast. The Barna Group also has a recent update on pastoral health featuring several leaders, including the Rev. Tish Harrison Warren.
  • Carey Nieuwhof – Carey Nieuwhof, who works often with the Barna Group, has a new post up on 7 Disruptive Trends Every Church Leader Should Watch right now. He also has an on-demand training resource to help church leaders move into what is next called The 30 Day Pivot.
  • Praxis Labs – Praxis Labs has a full collection of resources for Leading Through COVID-19. Their resources help leaders take the pandemic seriously and get their organizations ready in the spirit of “pray for the best, plan for the worst.”
  • Federal Guidelines – In the past week, President Donald Trump declared churches “essential” and the CDC released guidelines for re-opening. Christianity Today carried this Associated Press report that highlights the ongoing conversation about reopening.
  • Fall Plans for Schools – Churches should be keeping tabs on Fall plans from schools, colleges, and universities as they make plans and contingency plans this year. Many colleges and universities are starting early, eliminating Fall Break, wrapping up before Thanksgiving, or some combination of these things. For example, here is the plan for the University of South Carolina. Cambridge University is looking to be out even longer.

This is the ninth 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.

Do you have a resource or story to share?

Our point of contact for each week’s Resource Roundup is the Rev. Daniel Adkinson – danieladkinson [AT] me.com.