It is easy to see why some would worry today about the durability of the Church in these days of coronavirus. Most every church is living through a perfect storm of problems, obstacles, and fear.
- First, the members of our congregations are besieged by bad news on the economic front. Twenty-two million (and more) people have been laid off in nearly a month. Those are Depression-like numbers.
- Second, to “prevent the spread” of the virus and thus “flatten the curve,” we have been told not to meet together. At all. Churches are closed-up on Sunday. (Thank the Lord for the technology to reach people even still.)
- Third, the nature of the virus is scary as, well, hell. It is unseen. It is deceptive. It is contagious. It is a killer of the weak and elderly. It is an invisible intruder in our daily lives. We are all afraid.
As I say, this is the perfect storm. And the impact on the functioning life of a congregation could be lasting. Certainly, the days ahead will be difficult.
On the one hand, I know that the existence and the continuation of the Church are not in doubt. The Gates of Hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 18). The traditional divisions for the Church are four-fold: The Church Militant, The Church Penitent, The Church Expectant, and The Church Triumphant. The Church has been declared “dead” many times in the course of its 2000 year history. Yet she lives! Alleluia!
So, I have no fear about the Church. She will do fine. But I am concerned that congregations might experience serious setbacks in their strength, viability, and mission. If members and leaders do not take specific actions now, they may not be sustainable for the long road ahead.
At the invitation of the Archbishop of the ACNA, I have expanded the work of The Evergreen Project to help all of our churches and congregations through this storm. We have great leaders leading our congregations. And many are finding creative ways to reach their members and their communities. It is impressive to see.
On April 15, The Evergreen Project hosted a Webinar with myself, the Rev. Daniel Adkinson, with whom I have worked before on projects like this. We were joined by the Rev. Canon Phil Ashey and Rev. Mark Eldredge of the American Anglican Council. We were joined by up to 160 viewers online during the webinar itself. You can watch the recording of the webinar below.
Here are links to some of the resources mentioned in the webinar:
- The Church Sustainable Slides/Presentation
- Stewardship in an Age of Coronavirus PDF, updated April 15, 2020.
- The Rector & The Vestry Book
- American Anglican Council Website
- Clergy Leadership Training Institute through the American Anglican Council
- Connect with Canon Mark Eldredge for Coaching Opportunities
- Connect with Canon Phil Ashey to be placed in a Clergy Covenant Care Group
I hope you will take the time to watch the webinar recording.
But also, I hope that if you have ideas or suggestions, best practices, or creative solutions that you would like to share with the wider Church, please send them to Daniel Adkinson. We’d love to share your experience and leadership insights.
Finally, we are interested in helping all of our churches get through all of the challenges that we all face. These days are very, very difficult for many. We are committed to serving the Church, its leaders, and its future. Please let us know if you’d like to see specific future webinars on any relevant topics.