What Does Adaptive Leadership Look Like in a Pandemic? (COVID–19 Resource Roundup)


(Spoiler Alert: There are a few videos in this update [see below]. Watch them all on The Evergreen Project YouTube channel.)

Last year, long before this COVID-19 pandemic, Archbishop Foley Beach sent every rector in ADOTS a recommended book. The book was Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger. We plan on offering a full review of the book next week. Today, we want to highlight a distinction the author makes in the first few chapters between technical problems and adaptive challenges.


  • Technical problems are well defined, the answer is known, and implementation is clear. For example, how do we live-stream our worship service is a technical problem.
  • Adaptive challenges are complex, answers are unclear, and implementation requires innovation and learning.

This week, we are beginning to see more resources devoted to adaptive leadership challenges. Our Anglican churches have done a great job creatively solving the new technical problems introduced by the pandemic. Now, we need to press forward together into the adaptive leadership challenges ahead as we continue in this uncharted territory looking ahead to this summer and the rest of 2020.

Church Sustainable

  • Generosity & Stewardship:  As the economic impact of this pandemic continues, it is becoming clear that the church will be affected. There are several articles out right now reflecting on a recent survey on the State of the Plate. So, Religion News Service looks at how the downturn in giving compares with the recent recession. Similarly, ChurchLeaders.com has reported on this recent survey. As a reminder, here is our own paper from the Evergreen Project on Stewardship in an Age of Coronavirus.
  • Relaunching In-Person Services: Many of us are beginning to think about what it will mean and what it will take to relaunch in-person services. Further, there are both technical problems and adaptive challenges ahead. As congregations begin to make plans to safely re-gather, here is a helpful set of resources from Lutheran ministers in Hong Kong with some detailed guidelines about what phased procedures may need to be put in place. Related to this is an article in Christianity Today from Ed Stetzer looking at the relaunch season ahead.
  • Broader Perspective: Early on we highlighted an article from Andy Crouch. For some, it was a wake-up call to the seriousness of this pandemic. Others thought it was too negative. Along that spectrum, it really helped advance the conversation about the pandemic as we were just beginning to close churches for in-person worship. Recently, he gave a related follow-up talk as part of the virtual Q Conference last week.

Mission in the Midst of a Pandemic

  • Next Generation Ministry: While most churches are used to a slower summer pace, this is when things usually pick up for Next Generation Ministry (Children’s Ministry, Student Ministry, and College Ministry). The Evergreen Project Team sat down for a video interview about Next Generation Ministry with the Rev. Aaron Buttery. He serves as the Student Minister at Christ Church in Plano, TX. He also heads up the Next Generation Team for his diocese and hosts a Provincial call for Youth Workers every other week. The next call will be on 5/11 at Noon (EST). E-mail Aaron for more information (aaron [AT] c4so.org).
  • Parenting Resource: Here is another resource from the Rev. Aaron Buttery. He hosts a series of audio conversations specifically for parents with the Rev. Dr. Ken Wilgus.
  • Every Tribe & Nation Network: Bishop Bill Murdoch heads up the Every Tribe & Nation Network for the ACNA. The Evergreen Project Team sat down with Bishop Bill for a video interview about how to reach out to those around us. Find out more about this initiative on their website.
  • Relief Work: Matthew 25 and the Anglican Relief & Development Fund have joined efforts to help specifically with COVID-19 Relief. Matthew 25 will be focusing on domestic work and ARDF will focus on international projects. Find out more here from our province.
  • Pastoral Care: The Rev. Dr. Michael Niebauer wrote a compelling article for the Center for Pastor Theologians specifically on pastoral care of the sick and dying right now.

Fruitful Digital Ministry

  • Theological Analysis: The Rev. Matthew Aughtry is an ACNA Priest with a background in Film & Digital Media. Beyond the “how-to” technical problems of digital ministry, he offers suggestions for using technology to transmit Anglican worship here on Anglican Compass.
  • Unique Perspective: Max Prince is the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Story First Creative in Atlanta, GA. He is also part of a local Anglican Church and has several relatives who are ACNA Clergy. The Evergreen Project Team sat down with Max for a video interview about the intersection of ministry and digital media from his unique vantage point.
  • Analytics & Engagement: The Rev. Canon our founder wrote a quick, helpful article for ADOTS on how to understand video engagement statistics that supplements the conversation we had with Max.

Partner Resources

  • Fresh Expressions: Many of our churches work closely with Fresh Expressions. They have a wealth of resources available. Here is a great archive of webinars, articles, and tools to check out.
  • Alpha: Here are some great resources for running the Alpha Course online. There are some great tips and guidelines that could help you run the Alpha Course right now.
  • American Anglican Council: We are pleased to be working alongside the American Anglican Council as we serve the Anglican Church in North America. We especially want to highlight the webinar they are hosting next week, April 29, 2020, at 4 pm (EST) on Clarity in Crisis.

Thanks for reading!

This is the fifth “COVID–19 Resource Roundup” (click here to view them all), collections of resources that are encouraging to the Body of Christ. The Evergreen Project is broadening its scope. Archbishop Foley Beach and Canon Alan Hawkins have tasked Canon David Roseberry (of LeaderWorks) and the Evergreen Project along with Canon Phil Ashey and the American Anglican Council to collect, create, and curate resources from around the Anglican church to help all of our congregations in the Anglican Church in North America through this time. Every week, the Evergreen Project Team will be featuring some of the best resources out there right now here on Anglican Compass. The American Anglican Council is also curating a page of resources. Together, we want to help by pointing busy pastors and ministry leaders to things we are finding helpful amidst the vast amount of information being produced and published right now.

Do you have a resource or story to share?

Please send us what you are finding helpful in your context. Our point of contact for each week’s Resource Roundup is the Rev. Daniel Adkinson (DanielAdkinson [AT] me.com).

Watch These Videos on The Evergreen You Tube Channel


Daniel Adkinson

Daniel Adkinson serves as the founding rector of St. Thomas Anglican Church in Athens, Georgia, where he lives with his wife, Holly, and two children.

View more from Daniel Adkinson


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