Early on in the midst of this global pandemic, Ed Stetzer told us to think about the next few months like an accordion. He predicted multiple phases of expanding and contracting in terms of our ability to gather in-person. We are beginning to see this accordion effect. The U. S. News & World Report ran an article Monday morning about a number of states pulling back on their re-opening phases amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases. They said at least a dozen states have paused their re-opening plans as more than 30 states are seeing an increase in new cases. All of this is a reminder that we haven’t reached the next normal or gotten past COVID-19. Congregational leaders need to continue monitoring and responding to your local public health realities. In this unique season, we want to do several things with today’s resource round-up:
- We want to highlight one key article for everyone to read – The Coming “Religious Recession.”
- There are links to several resources and articles from the last week on a number of key issues.
- Provide an update about this weekly COVID-19 Resource Roundup offering.
The Coming “Religious Recession”
Religion & Politics has published a sobering article on the coming “religious recession.” It distills many of the key questions and possible scenarios as we think about the effect of COVID-19 on our religious life. The basic thesis is that while some remain hopeful for a resurgence or revival once we return to a more normal life, the author thinks it more likely that COVID-19 will accelerate the declining trends that we all know about that pre-dated the pandemic.
Max De Pree famously said, “the first job of a leader is to define reality.”
The goal of this is not to be alarmist, but we want our congregational leaders to be thinking about reality. What trends were prevalent in your church and community before the pandemic? How has this disruptive season been a season of pruning? What opportunities for needed change have there been? In hope, we encourage you to read this article and think about the implications for the reality of your ministry context. Don’t just try and go back to business as usual. Use this time during the summer for prayerful reflection.
Resources from this Past Week
- COVID-19 Stats – We have been recommending the really helpful dashboard from Johns Hopkins. As of this Monday, there are now over 10 million confirmed cases worldwide. The United States has the most with over 2.5 million confirmed cases. Tragically, there have been over 500,000 deaths around the globe, including ~ 125,000 in the United States. We already mentioned that many states are seeing a surge in new cases. Here is a helpful state-by-state infographic and guide to see where these surges are occurring.
- Economic Impact – US News & World Report has a summary of this information and also includes updates about the economic impact. The unemployment rate in the United States is at 13.3% with almost 21 million total unemployment claims during the last few months.
- Pastoral Challenge – As your church moves to different phases of re-gathering, what about senior adults? This article from the Religious New Service is about the challenges of attendance for older adults. During this Summer, many churches are operating in a hybrid-state of some things being online and some things being in-person. How can we make sure our older adults don’t slip through the cracks during this unique season?
- Missio Alliance – JR Rozko wrote a really interesting article for Missio Alliance as part of their Resources During COVID-19. The article is Three Relationships Every Church Needs … Especially Now. It is a helpful way to think about our church in the midst of challenging times. There are even some reflective, diagnostic questions at the end!
- Missional Leadership – Bishop Todd Hunter wrote an article on missional leadership here on Anglican Compass. He writes about its importance in this season and gives an update for this Fall’s annual Intersection Conference from the Telos Collective. The Intersection Podcast has also been doing a great job looking at Missional Leadership in a Time of Uncertainty.
- Race, Justice, & Social Unrest – Archbishop Beach addressed these issues as part of his Provincial Council address this past week. Here is a video and transcript from the Archbishop. Canon Esau McCaulley hopped on Facebook Live a few days ago and provided teaching on systemic racism using a Biblical-Theological framework. It struck a nerve and has almost 20,000 views already! We feel it is a really helpful video about these topics.
Update about our Weekly Resource Roundup
In the first few weeks of the pandemic, John Krasinski launched Some Good News. It was an instant success that seemed to come and go quickly. Luckily, he knew when to bring it to a close before it became a victim of quarantine fatigue. There was a great column about this entitled Why I’m glad to say goodbye to ‘Some Good News.’
That brings us to an update about our weekly COVID-19 Resource Roundup. This will be the last weekly roundup. Our Evergreen Project Team will still be providing occasional articles and resources, as needed. But, it won’t be in this weekly format. We hope this regular offering has served busy pastors and leaders during the first few months of this pandemic. Going forward, we as the Evergreen Project Team think we can serve you better by finalizing the 2020 stewardship and generosity material. That seems like the right way forward as we move into the dog days of summer.
This is the fourteenth and final 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. These weekly resource roundups have allowed us 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.
The Rev. Daniel Adkinson serves as the founding rector of St. Thomas Anglican Church in Athens, GA. Prior to moving to Athens to plant St. Thomas, he served for almost a decade at Christ Church in Plano, TX. He is married to Holly and they have two children. Daniel and Holly met while in college at the University of Georgia. So, they love being back in the Classic City!