It is surreal to think that we are finishing up week three of the Covid-19 quarantine. Nothing is normal for any of us. To be honest, I’m starting to forget what “normal” even looked like. Our work week has changed, our sleep patterns have changed. I even had someone share the loss of a commute to and from work each day. Here’s what I know hasn’t changed. We still serve the same God today as we did yesterday. We still have the greatest message to share that has ever existed on our planet. And we still know the end of the story! Please know that you are loved by the team at Converge MidAmerica and we are praying for you.
On March 31, we had another wonderful Zoom call with 44 people who got some clarity around our online streaming presence. This week, our topic is “The Psychology of Crisis.” It has been eye opening to learn the real psychological effects this season is having not only on our church members, but on us as pastors as well. Pastor Nate Wagner, pastor of Sparta Baptist Church in Sparta, Michigan is our presenter. Not only is Nate a fabulous pastor, he is a licensed counselor, and I know you will be blessed by what he brings to us.
Click here to watch a recording of the “Psychology of Crisis” webinar.
Psychology of Crisis Webinar Presentation Slides by Nate Wagner
Once again, we are offering 6 different breakout opportunities throughout the week.
You can jump in on any of these Zoom calls for an opportunity to encourage each other, share ideas and most importantly, pray together. All times are central time zone. I know last week a couple of the numbers weren’t correct. I trust that this week we have resolved that issue. Sorry about that.
- Tuesdays at 1pm CST
- Tuesdays at 3pm CST
- Wednesdays at 9am CST
- Wednesdays at 2pm CST
- Wednesdays at 2:30 CST
- Thursdays at 10am CST
- Thursdays at 12pm CST
This week, I thought we’d change it up a bit.
I have been hearing amazing ideas coming out of our office staff in relation to how churches can minister to and help families enjoy their kids during these days. Following is a “best of” list of those ideas. I trust you will be able to use them personally and share them with those in your circle. Special thanks to Kirsten Andreson, Eileen Herrera and Yahaira Landaverry for the ideas.
If your church has a RightNow Media account, share the login with your congregants.
Encourage Christ-centered cartoons for downtime. Encourage family devotional and worship time using included resources such as Theo and Seeds Worship (for elementary-aged kids). If your church does not have a RightNow Media account, the church can enroll in a free trial that is shareable with your congregants.
Host a weekly storytime over Zoom.
You can very easily read a book that you have a copy of while sharing the digital download onscreen, providing a good quality story experience. Check out The Good Book Company, as they have some Gospel-focused storybooks and are currently offering free digital downloads of the illustrations. Also include a music video for worship (look up Yancy, she’s great for young kids!) and ask the kids for their prayer requests.
Host a watch party of the new Pilgrim’s Progress.
This new animated version of the movie is free to watch online, just sign-in here to watch. Take it a step further and challenge your youth to read through the book with you over the course of the next three weeks, hosting a weekly mid-day gathering to discuss, share what you are learning and pray. There are a number of free modern-English Kindle versions of the classic by Paul Bunyan or you can recommend your students listen on Audible using their free 30-day trial.
Encourage the entire family to “attend service” by providing ways to engage the kids that may be accustomed to attending children’s church instead of the main service.
Parents may all too easily allow their kids to disengage and go play during service time. Send out an email with a simple Bible-themed craft or activity for younger children to work on while their parents participate in your streamed Sunday service. It need only be a simple attachment that parents can either print off or create on their own with supplies that many have on hand at home. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Plan unified Easter lessons for all age groups utilizing The Gospel Project curriculum.
It’s currently free when you start a free Ministry Grid account. There is age-specific content so the entire family can learn at their age/reading level. They provide two weeks of Easter lessons, so it is perfect for use this weekend (Palm Sunday) and next (Easter)! Click here to sign-up.
There’s another really dynamic youth Easter curriculum available for free download from The Action Bible (just scroll to the very bottom of the page to download a Zip file).
Create an online art gallery on your church Facebook page where families can share photos of their kids’ artwork created during this time at home.
Each week, you can post a “schedule of art themes” for them to follow along with. This will encourage a sense of community and allow kids to see photos of their friends that they are likely missing.
Utilizing their preferred social media platform, provide your youth with a challenge or talking point each day to keep them engaged and in fellowship.
Give them a question to ask of a specific person, to keep them engaged with their family and to ensure they have to come back to post their answer. Maybe you can all start memorizing a passage of scripture together, each student assigned a verse to creatively record and post on their assigned day. Check out a posting site like FlipGrid which is great for elementary-age students.
Host an online game night for your students.
It could be a virtual nerf gun fight, online games (ask them, they know which platforms to utilize), or turn them onto the simple joys of charades or Pictionary over Zoom!
Host or encourage a family worship night, a hymn-sing or a family dance party.
Provide the playlists by recommending music such as this kid’s playlist put together by The Gospel Coalition, available on Spotify.
Start introducing a new online-based curriculum package.
Free trials are available for all age groups at Think Orange.
Commence an evangelism and missions focus, instilling an understanding of the global Church and the reality that this pandemic is affecting each corner of the globe.
Teach your students about different cultures, contexts and ways to share the Gospel. Create a daily prayer schedule for specific Converge missionaries, highlighting the countries, cultures and church partners they each serve.
Here are some more great missions and evangelism resources by age group:
- Elementary Aged Kids – Compassion International has a number of online devotionals, lessons and activities to help you learn about “the least of these.” Maybe come together and sponsor a child during this unprecedented time.
- Youth/Students – Dare2Share has free resources for both the youth pastor and the teens, including free apps for both.
We love you all and stand ready to serve you during this time!