The final online conference call with Charis Fellowship pastors and ministry leaders on Thursday afternoon provided numerous ideas for how to minister in the age of COVID-19. It was the third online event that provided an opportunity for those from around North America to connect for encouragement and networking.
As with the calls on Tuesday and Wednesday, Phil Sparling, executive director of the Charis Fellowship, opened with prayer and a few thoughts from scripture. Tom Hodge, assistant executive director, walked participants through resources that are available online at charisfellowship.us/page/covid.
Some of the ideas shared on Thursday include:
- using loola.tv to go live on multiple platforms.
- asking church members to host a live, brief prayer time and words of encouragement at a specific time of day.
- providing activity packets for kids which are available by driving up to the church. “We just want to see their faces,” the pastor commented.
- using sidewalk chalk to post encouraging messages on the driveway of homes to encourage neighbors when they are out for a walk.
- sewing masks for use by medical facilities
- prepping to become a triage center, in the event that the local hospital is overwhelmed with patients.
- posting a 30-60 second update from the pastor or other staff members each day, targeting specific ministries such as children’s or youth.
As it becomes more apparent that churches will not be able to host Palm Sunday, Holy Week, or Easter services, several pastors noted they had begun to plan for activities during those times.
- One church is providing communion kits (through their drive-through), then the pastor will lead communion in an online service that people can follow along at home.
- Another church, which had already prepared for an Easter egg hunt, is repurposing those supplies into an Easter Egg Kit. Once the candy is consumed, they are including do-it-yourself instructions to make a set of Resurrection Eggs to help young people better understand the Easter story.
Dave Guiles, executive director of Encompass World Partners, and Barb Wooler, director of crisis response for Encompass, reported on efforts to help other churches in the Charis Alliance around the world. The Charis Alliance website is being updated and will include a global prayer wall. Barb will be hosting an April webinar with Drew Waggoner, formerly on staff with Grace Fellowship Church, Pickerington, Ohio (Keith Minier, senior pastor), on “Emotional First Aid in COVID-19.”
An overview of the calls may be found at charisfellowship.us.