Communicating through the storm
Today The United Methodist Church is stronger because of the wisdom and insight of our clergy!
Early Sunday morning, January 8, 2016, I joined thousands of people who watched their local television station, if they had power, to discover the impact of Winter Storm Helena and to note how many of our local churches had cancelled worship services. Helena did more than simply dump ice and snow on our area, the storm also created havoc and difficult travel throughout the region as well. Normally such snow storms create an immediate sense of isolation causing us to take stock of our accommodations and to calculate how we can best wait out the storm.
Sunday morning brought somewhat of a surprise. While many churches had cancelled their worship services, many of our clergy used their wisdom and insight to alert their congregational families and friends that worship would be offered “on-line” through FaceBook or some other media outlet. It was an amazing thing to see how congregations interacted with their faith communities. Some offered videos and live-streaming of lessons and sermons. It was a time when congregational leaders and ministers said “stay warm, stay dry, stay safe, here is worship today.” It did not escape my attention that there was a sense of family worship and house churches opening themselves to all who would share in giving Thanks and Praise to God in the midst of natural although difficult circumstances. Here is an example of how the church becomes “nimble” as we adapt to the quickly changing environment.
While some may not have had power to participate in these on-line services, and recognizing that not everyone has an interest or ability to engage in technology, the church was reminding us that we are grateful for whatever chain of communication was used to affirm, the announcement of God’s kingdom which is always present in our lives. It doesn’t matter where we are, we can always be affirm the Presence of God, who is Spirit, and those who worship God, do so in Spirit and in truth.
Paul L. Leeland
Resources for Vital Congregations
Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor
GBHEM Leadership Resources
Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church
Englewood Book Review
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
Ted Talks: The Golden Circle
Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability
Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability
Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians
Be A Disciple
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network
Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations
Living As United Methodist Christians
Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials
Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today
John Wesley Sermons: Anthology
Get Their Name
Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit
Canoeing the Mountains
Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People
Community: The Structure of Belonging
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
Institute for Emerging Issues
Congregations 4 Children
The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants
The Duke Endowment
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.