Doing Ministry in a Time of Social Distancing
FEB CENTRAL DAY OF PRAYER - FEBRUARY 7, 2021
Dear FEB Central leaders,
‘When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven’. (Nehemiah 1:4)
At our most recent Think Tank zoom call, we mentioned that our present opinion regarding the government’s newest restrictions and lockdowns is that we should be compliant yet grieved by the present circumstances. This is certainly not God’s desire that churches be kept from gathering for community and worship. The fellowship of God’s people is a critical value of the church (Acts 2:42), and should never be suspended, even temporarily, without unrest in our hearts. Even as Nehemiah mourned the circumstances in Jerusalem, which were not as God desired, and entered a season of prayer, so we want to encourage all our leaders and churches to do the same. And in keeping with this encouragement, we are calling our churches in FEB Central to a Day of Prayer and Fasting (for those who are able) on Sunday, February 7.
Here are some ideas for your church family on that day:
- Pray corporately during your regular online services
- Consider having a separate online interactive prayer service at some point that day
- Have a 24-hour prayer vigil and have people sign up online for the time they will commit to pray that day
Here are some suggestions for what we can be praying for:
- Pray for the crisis of COVID-19 itself: that God, in His great mercy, would remove this terrible virus for His glory and our good; for our medical community serving on the front lines; for those who are presently ill with this virus and for those families who have lost loved ones (including some in our FEB Central community); for those impacted in so many ways by the restrictions and lock downs (the unemployed, the poor, our children, those struggling with mental health issues, small business owners forced to close, etc...)
- Pray for our political leaders as they make difficult decisions during this medical crisis. Pray for the salvation of those leaders who do not know the Lord – that God would use this time to draw men and women to Christ. (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Pray that our leaders would have wisdom to understand that churches are an essential instrument that God can use in the fight against the effects of COVID-19.
- Pray for our churches:
o for unity: that in our differing conscience positions about how to address the crisis of COVID-19, that we will be careful to not judge each other’s motives and intent and that we would show humility and grace to others as we have been shown grace by God (Romans 14:13).
o that we will remain on mission for the gospel in these fragile days, making the most of every opportunity and pointing people to Jesus as the only hope for our lives and for our world.
o that we will remain committed to the priority of the fellowship of God’s people, even during this time that we are not able to meet. We can be grateful for the gifts (i.e., technology) God has given us to keep us connected now, but we long for the day when we can meet together again face to face.
o Pray for our Pastors and Ministry leaders as they navigate the ever-changing restrictions and the continued responsibility to care for their people.
As well as this focused day of prayer, we are encouraging all our church leaders (and you in turn can encourage your church family) to write and communicate with your local and provincial government leaders. You can let them know that you are praying for them and that you are appreciative of their hard work and efforts during this difficult time. Even if we are not in agreement with all their decisions, God does call us to pray for them and to recognize their God-given authority. We would also encourage you to, respectfully, make your concerns known about the various decisions that are being made that affect not only our churches, but many vulnerable people in our communities. We have been assured that our government leaders do read these letters and so these communications are perhaps the most impactful way for our leaders to understand our concerns.
It is always a challenge to apply God’s unchanging truths to a difficult life situation and have everyone in agreement. This is especially true during this time of dealing with COVID-19. This is a time to encourage our people and to be an example to them. The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Rome, is dealing with the diverse way that Christians apply God’s unchanging principals in their everyday lives. He tells them to be careful not to take God’s role as final judge in the lives of other believers. He then challenges them, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and edification. Do not destroy the work of God...” (Romans 14:19-20a). Our social media accounts are a great example of a place where we need to especially put this into practice. Let’s be particularly careful how we communicate and respond to each other. Even as we pray for our government leaders, so we pray for one another, and leave them before the Lord, treating them with the mercy and grace that God has poured out among us. As we gather collectively on February 7, may this be an important theme in our prayers: even as Jesus prayed for unity in John 17 for the sake of the church’s mission, so we need to pray for our unity in a deeply polarized society. The world is watching; may they see the difference that Jesus makes in our lives.
May God continue to guide you and give you wisdom as you lead His people during this time.
Rick Buck – Regional Director
On behalf of the FEB Central Ministry Staff
Getting to the Heart of the Issue - Think Tank
Getting to the Heart of the Issue - FEB Central Think Tank.
This video is a re-take of the FEB Central Think Tank originally held over Zoom on January 13, 2021. This version includes much of the original content as well as incorporates some of the questions asked by participants during the zoom call.Many of our pastors expressed a desire to have this Think Tank video made available. Since we failed to record it on the 13th we decided to do a re-take.
The topic of our Think Tank was Getting to the Heart of the Issue. By clicking on the link below you will hear details of a conversation between Rick Buck and Andrea Khanjin, MP & Deputy Government House Leader for the province of Ontario.
We all struggle to understand the truth behind the scenes of this pandemic. This conversation will offer helpful insights to assist us in navigating the path forward from our differing points of view. Grace and peace,
Your FEB Central Ministry Team
STAYING HEALTHY DURING COVID
Join the FEB Central Team as they discuss 'Staying Healthy During Covid' with our Pastors.
Calling People Back to Church
“Calling People Back to Church,” led by our Leadership Development Director Tim Strickland. Pastor John Mahaffey of West Highland Church will be also be speaking. Please click the link for the attached sermon notes from John’s recent message, “The Return from Exile.”
Lessons from Church History that Apply to the Church Today - Dr. Albert Mohler
We were privilege to have Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, professor, speaker, author, and insightful Christian commentator, as our guest speaker.
Dr. Mohler’s topic was "Lessons from church history that apply to the church today: What God is teaching the church and how the church should go forward".
Click below to watch the full video
Increasing Online Engagement Webinar
This webinar will help you move beyond counting service views to find meaningful ways to connect with both new viewers and longtime attendees so they can trust in Christ and grow as disciples through their connection to the church. Click on the 'Replay' below.
Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., all places of worship in Ontario will be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers. To read more more - Ontario Permits More Businesses and Services to Reopen in the Coming Days
Additionally, the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2.
Frame Work for Reopening - Stage 2
More information will be coming soon from the government on procedures for churches to open.
Zoom Think Tank With MPP Sam Oosterhoff (June 3, 2020)
MPP Sam Oosterhoff (Niagara West), spent time with the pastors and staff from our FEB Central Churches to listen to feedback on suggested safety measures in anticipation of the reopening of places of worship. Sam (on behalf of MPP Monte McNaughton - Minister of Labour) has been consulting with faith leaders across our province.
Attached below is the video and questions (on the Zoom Chat) which were asked during the meeting.
Suggested Templates for Opening:
Smart Church Solutions has created this template for opening :Social Distancing, Ministry Considerations, and More..."Smart Church Solutions has developed this guide to help you consider how you can effectively and intentionally resume a limited live meeting and worship experience while still adhering to the ever-changing recommendations. We have attempted to present many of the more difficult choices you will need to consider prior to the resumption of operations, albeit in a limited capacity." Check their website: SmartChurchSolutions.com
From the CCCC's: COVID-19: A Call to Include Religious Organizations in Re-Opening Plan
CCCC, Christian Legal Fellowship and The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, have written a joint letter to Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford, calling for religious organizations to be part of that province’s re-opening plan.
To read the full blog visit: COVID-19: A Call to Include Religious Organizations in Re-Opening Plan
To view the letter sent to Ontario Government: Letter to Premier Ford
Three Phases of COVID-19 for Churches
Phase 2 Doing Ministry with Limited Gatherings
The slides below outline key issues for churches to think about as we move towards the second phase of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Planning for Post-Covid-19 Ministry.”
The next steps of planning post-Covid-19 can be daunting. We have 4 great resources which will help as you begin the journey to re-opening your church.
1. Notes from the recent “Blank Slate” webinar by Thom & Sam Rainer, listing eight steps for post-Covid-19 ministry
2. “The Marathon Strategy" from Kevin Presseault at Greenbelt Church in Ottawa - This document shows how one FEB Central church is planning for ministry Post-Covid-19.
3. “What Comes Next…” FB Post from Deven MacDonald at Summerside Church in London. Deven asks some great questions and outlines plans for Summerside.
4. A few additional thoughts by Tim Strickland