These are strange times. But here’s your seven up…
1) Reflecting theologically on Coronavirus – It’s early days, isn’t it. But these two pieces caught my eye: The Corona Virus Experiment and The Hard Road Ahead – and both seem to have important points to make. It was also pointed out to Tony Payne that in his classic ministry book The Trellis & the Vine (written in 2009), he gets churches to imagine that a pandemic has meant public gatherings of more than three people were banned – and so how would a church of, say, 120 people, continue to function? Read him reflecting back on that here, as we now face the reality of that situation.
2) Evangelism in a Pandemic – It strikes me that this season of our nation/world’s life is one in which God may be drawing many to himself as we face the fragility of our lives, the reality of death, and the hopelessness of secularism. This practical article, ‘Being Salt and Light in Isolation‘, is a good general starting point. Roger Carswell has written a great little tract which you can read and order here. John Lennox has also written a short book available from next week, ‘Where is a God in a Coronavirus World?‘. For a limited time, Christianity Explored Ministries have also put all of their course films on their YouTube channel to make them easier to share: Christianity Explored, Life Explored, and Discipleship Explored. They also have a couple of useful short videos to share: ‘If God exists, why is there suffering?‘ and ‘Isn’t the chaos in the world a sign of God’s absence?’ I think people will increasingly be looking for ‘answers’, and as one of the broadsheet columnists put it this week, there is a need for spiritual leadership that speaks of Jesus in such a season.
3) Singing of Lasting Hope – Christians have always expressed their joy and hope amidst trial through singing. This recently recorded song, ‘Christ our Hope in Life and Death’ is brilliant from Keith Getty, Matt Papa, Matt Boswell, Matt Merker, and Jordan Kauflin. We’ve also been enjoying singing praise with Olly Knight live each midweek morning, 8.30-9am, as well as Michael Tinker’s family songs and puppets at 11am daily midweek.
4) Leadership when everything changes – Chris Green has written some stimulating fairly punchy articles, including ‘Leading in a time of uncertainty’ and ‘Communicating in a time of chaos’, which are good to think through.
5) Family Life & Worship amid Isolation – My friend Jon Lindsay has written this piece full of ideas on ‘Making the most of Isolation‘. Matt Lillicrap’s article, ‘Engaging with a Live-Streamed Service as a family‘, is worth a read. One C of E diocese have launched the Bible Chat Mat, which looks fun. Tamar Pollard has collated a whole heap of family-focused resources here. And I’m really looking forward to tuning into Ed from Faith in Kids demonstrate how to do ‘warts & all’ family church this afternoon at 2pm, live on the Faith in Kids Facebook page (or watch the recording after) – there’s also a teaser here!
6) Ministry amidst Coronavirus – Nick Moore has written a very engaging piece on church life in this season of social separation, ‘Praying at a spatial distance‘. You might also like ‘Digital Content Ideas During the COVID-19 Outbreak’.
7) Online Preachers On Fire! – For something a bit different, fair play to vicar Stephen Beach for sharing his ‘live broadcast’ escapades – and seeing the funny side! And as many of us begin using Zoom for video meetings, I also had to laugh at this…
We shared a whole host of links to help your church amidst COVID-19 in last week’s Refill. So do check there if you haven’t. I especially highlight, ‘Mum, what does God think of Coronavirus?’ – great for parents.
Quote of the Week:
“Christianity that ignores the reality of death is utterly inauthentic. We need songs that are honest about the grave, for we have real hope to offer our troubled world.”
– Keith Getty