By Jim Nieman
The Solomon Foundation has begun hosting weekly Zoom meetings to help connect, encourage, and resource ministers across the country during these uncertain times.
Doug Crozier, CEO of the church extension fund that works with Christian churches and churches of Christ, said TSF is seeking to be proactive during the COVID-19 outbreak and related financial unease by reminding ministry leaders that God remains in control.
To that end, TSF connected with almost 120 ministers and/or ministry team callers during the first weekly Zoom meeting it hosted this past Tuesday morning. Among the speakers were former Christian college president and pastor Ken Idleman, and current megachurch ministers David Dummitt and Jerry Harris.
Dummitt, founding and lead pastor of 2|42 Community Church in Michigan, spoke about the importance of online giving. He suggested various options, and even explained how a church that already offers online giving might enhance their system, Crozier said. Dummitt wrote on this topic in the March issue of Christian Standard (click here to read “Six Reasons Your Church Needs a Mobile-Giving Option”).
Harris, senior pastor of The Crossing, a multisite church located in three states across the Midwest, spoke about the importance of technology and online services, including some do’s and don’ts. (Harris provided material about training church workers to host chats during online worship services; that material is available here.)
With many churches forced to cancel in-person worship services due to the virus, Crozier said, an untold number are exploring opportunities to stream their worship services online and offer online giving, which is why TSF asked Dummitt and Harris to be guests.
This tough patch we are going through right now will likely result in some good down the road, Crozier predicts. In fact, he shared some good things that are already happening.
Crozier said he heard from one church of 400 to 450 in the Midwest that kept their building shut this past Sunday; and yet, despite that church having little technological experience, it produced an online worship service that reached an Internet audience of 2,000 or more on Sunday.
“I think the online church will grow through this,” Crozier said, “and I think we’ll be able to reach a lot more people for Christ through the online church.”
Crozier also said that Southeast Christian Church in Parker, Colo., is sharing its venue—and in one case its technical and production equipment and expertise—with two local churches so they can produce their worship services for posting online. Both of those churches have been meeting in school facilities which have closed because of COVID-19. (We’ll share more about this in an article next week.)
TSF’s first Zoom meeting featured about one hour of presentations, followed by about 30 minutes of questions and answers.
“We’ll always keep it to an hour and a half,” Crozier said. “We’ll always leave time for questions.”
The Zoom meetings were initially envisioned for church leaders who are part of The Solomon Foundation network, but Crozier said TSF is opening it up to lead ministers and executive ministers of all Restoration Movement churches. Meetings will take place at 10 a.m. Mountain Time (MDT).
Click https://zoom.us/j/611455456 to join the next meeting a few minutes before it starts at 10 a.m. this coming Tuesday. The Meeting ID is 611 455 456. (More options for listening to this meeting are in the graphic at the bottom of this article.)
Guests slated for the next meeting are Dr. Jerry Johnson on the importance of a church’s elders in times of crisis, and Dr. Wes Beavis on pastor burnout and how to avoid it.
The weekly Zoom meeting isn’t the only assistance The Solomon Foundation is providing.
TSF has started The Solomon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund “to benefit our partnering churches and local communities.”
Donations to this fund will help churches maintain financial stability through the COVID-19 challenges, obtain necessary equipment for hosting services online, gain access to resources in helping navigate uncharted waters, eliminate major staff transitions, and continue to preach the Word of God and provide pastoral care.
A donation portal is accessible by clicking here. Crozier said 100 percent of gifts will go to helping churches.
Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Standard.