Ministers Sharing Knowledge Amid COVID-19 Outbreak (Plus News Briefs)
Ministers Sharing Knowledge Amid COVID-19 Outbreak (Plus News Briefs)

Compiled by Jim Nieman and Chris Moon

The Intentional Churches website is a good source of helpful information on various strategies and initiatives churches are employing during the COVID-19 crisis. Video discussions featuring ministers from across the country are being posted about every week at the IC website. Here’s a sampling of thoughts from the April 17 conference:

  • “We’re taking our . . . folks who worked in the lobby as greeters . . . and inviting them to be online greeters. . . . Not giving them a lot of moderating responsibilities, but really just looking to reengage them in what we already knew they were good at, which is making people feel welcome.” Doug Cowburn, executive pastor, Elim Gospel Church, Lima, N.Y.
  • “We started a Ridiculous Love Fund for the community and encouraged our church family to give above and beyond the regular giving to this fund. We also linked arms with other churches in our community and they’re donating into it as well. It’s a fund basically for our entire community for food pantries, for first responders, for community partners. . . . [We are] working with a lot of school districts, especially those with kids that were using the schools for their lunches. . . . We have ‘give help’ and ‘get help’ [buttons] on our website. . . . I think [it] attacks that scarcity mind-set in a time that we can all just give more and make a real difference in our community.” Mark Warren, pastor of guest services, Eastview Christian Church, Normal, Ill.
  • “We’re using a digital connect card that we’re asking people to fill out. . . . One of the questions we ask is, “How many people were watching the stream with you?” Each week we’ll get at least six or seven hundred of those cards filled out, and we can go through and find out what the average is per stream, and then multiply our unique devices by that multiplier.” Ben Coleman, pastor of adult ministries, Sugar Creek Baptist Church, Sugar Land, Texas
  • “We have a 3,400-seat auditorium. [Government officials have] told us that they’re going to [eventually] allow gatherings, but you have to maintain a six feet distance and wear a mask. . . . The tension we’re wrestling with is, do we open a sanctuary and have 750 people maybe sitting spread out through a sanctuary and have 15 or 20 services? We could do that—it’s possible—but is it the best thing to do? . . .  What we’re doing now [with online worship] works and it’s fairly easy. Adding this dimension of kind of meeting, kind of not meeting, makes it a whole lot more complicated. . . . So, what we’re wrestling [with] right now is how to open it back up.” Tim Winters, executive pastor, Shepherd Church, Porter Ranch, Calif.
  • “We’ve already had relationships with a couple hospitals in the area, but one of the hospitals was very responsive to us. . . . [So,] we went to [some local restaurants] and said we want to buy meals for the hospital workers. And [so] we’re helping both the nurses and the doctors and whomever . . . and the local restaurants. . . . We’ve [also] worked with local trucking companies to provide them with small care packages. . . . [It’s] been incredible the number of truckers literally all over the country that are writing us, getting on our Facebook, even calling us and saying thank you.” Mike McDaniel, lead pastor, Grace Point Church, Bentonville, Ark.

In addition to the weekly video conferences, the Intentional Churches website also shares links to COVID-19 resources for churches provided by “trusted friends” such as Stadia, Renew.org, CDF, and Vanderbloemen. Beyond that, Intentional Churches recently published a book called Intentional Churches (written by Bart Rendel and Doug Parks) that features companion resources that can be downloaded from its website.

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News Briefs

William Walton, 85, professor emeritus of Christian ministries with Central Christian College of the Bible, Moberly, Mo., died April 17. He began with CCCB in 1980 and served the college for 40 years in various roles, including as dean of students, vice president of student life, and athletic director. He began preaching in 1958 and held ministries in Illinois, Arizona, and Missouri. Over the years, he trained and mentored countless ministers. He also trained numerous Christian counselors.

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A caravan of about three dozen cars filled with members of New Life Christian Church, Chantilly, Va., drove by the home of campus pastor Brennan Loveless to show support for him in his battle with cancer.

Loveless, 34, was diagnosed with stage-three colon cancer in October and has undergone chemotherapy and radiation. The Connection reports church members decorated their cars with streamers, balloons, and encouraging messages as they cruised past Loveless’s home.

Church member Dale Spaulding said, “Brennan uses his gift from God to lead us in worship on Sundays, and his heart for people is huge. . . . He’s an inspiration.”

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Northside Christian Church in Kansas City, Mo., partnered with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit, to erase and forgive the debt of 271 people in four counties, Fox4 reported. The congregation of about 175 collected more than $5,000 via a special offering and gave the money to RIP, which negotiated to pay the debt at a deeply discounted rate.

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Sid Tiller, senior minister with Northside Christian Church, Warrensburg, Mo., is the subject of a profile in the Daily Star Journal.

“When I was in college, I was studying to be a lawyer and I was pretty much a skeptic,” Tiller told the paper . . . but then he decided to study world religions. “I read the Quran, I read the writings of Confucius, I read about Judaism. I saved Christianity for last because I didn’t want to be a Christian just because I grew up in America. I read C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and that book just totally changed my whole direction because it showed me you can be a Christian and have a brain.”

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South Side Christian Church in Springfield, Ill., held a toilet paper drive for the much sought-after commodity in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Journal-Register published a photo of lead pastor Brooks Wilson finishing off the top of a wall of donated toilet paper at the church building. The church was planning to send the toilet paper, along with personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer, to American Indian Christian Mission in Show Low, Ariz.

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Point University will host a virtual seminar Thursday called “Mental Health in Uncertainty.” Dr. Greg Moffatt, a licensed counselor and a member of Point’s faculty, will help attendees navigate the unknown during times of crisis, such as what is occurring now with COVID-19. The seminar is set for 7 p.m. Thursday. Learn more here.

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e2: effective elders has published a new book, Deacon Strong: Men and Women Serving Jesus and His Church. The book is in response to the frequent request, “What do you have for deacons?” It is available in printed form and pdf at e2’s website.

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Johnson University is assisting with making the Empowered to Connect Conference available for free viewing. The conference is designed to help parents, caregivers, educators, ministry leaders, and professionals better understand how to create safe healing places for children and youth. It is especially helpful for those caring for children who have experienced maltreatment and loss. The conference is presented by Show Hope, in collaboration with The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU and Empowered to Connect.

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A little over a year ago, folks from Southeast Christian Church in Louisville conducted a meal pack with Lifeline Christian Mission. Well, the meals they packed have finally arrived at a ministry in Cuba, the Southeast Outlook reported. “Only God knew Cuba would have their greatest need at this time due to COVID-19,” Lifeline wrote. “As the meals are distributed to vulnerable children and the elderly, it is clear that it was worth the wait.”

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The Floyd County Health Department will be conducting a drive-through test for COVID-19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Northside Christian Church on Charlestown Road in New Albany, Ind., the Courier-Journal reported.

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Among the emergency responses to COVID-19 is the creation of “a new global day of giving and unity” called Giving Tuesday Now, set for May 5. The new day of philanthropy in support of communities and nonprofits is in addition to the original Giving Tuesday, scheduled this year for Dec. 1.

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Send news items to cs@christianstandardmedia.com.

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