VALLEY FORGE, PA (7/16/21)—Approximately 100 individuals participated Wednesday in “Leading Out of Crisis LIVE,” a Webinar presented by American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ Center for Continuous Learning (CCL). It featured Alan Roxburgh, founder of The Missional Network (TMN)—an organization committed to supporting church leaders as they shape church culture around the mission of God—and Sara Jane Walker, president of TMN.
The 45-minute live Webinar introduced a timely model for ministry leaders facing questions about the future of the local church, as the nation and world begin to emerge from pandemic. Roxburgh began by saying that church leaders can’t simply pick up where events left off before the pandemic. He pointed out that much has happened during COVID, including grief and loss as well as all types of experimenting. “People are discovering new ways of being church together,” he said.
“What we’ve become convinced of is that—rather than running ahead with new programs or coming in with new strategies—where we are now is that there are all kinds of experiences and stories that are bubbling up among our people,” he said. “How we continue is found in the stories that are bubbling up.
“You’re going to hear us talk a lot about people’s stories,” he continued. “Because in those stories, the Spirit is powerfully at work.”
TMN has developed “Leading Out of COVID,” a resource to help interested pastors to discover what’s next. It is comprised of a leader’s guide and handouts that a pastor would use in working with lay leadership over four 90-minute sessions: “Our Stories,” “Discovering Stories beyond Our Own,” “Connecting Our Stories and Church Life,” and “Beginning to Discover a New Normal.”
The model “releases you from the idea that we have to come up with a strategic plan and work out what the trends are,” Roxburgh said. “We invite you to lay all that down and believe that—rather than [following] an off-the-shelf program—believe that in the stories will emerge the kinds of actions the Spirit is wanting you to engage.”
In August, a cohort of pastoral leaders will begin to meet online, with Roxburgh serving as coach to participants implementing the Leading Out of COVID model with their congregations. All meetings will be held for 90 minutes on Thursdays at 1 p.m. EDT, Aug. 19, Sept. 9, Oct. 14, Nov. 18, Dec. 9 and Jan. 13. The cost of $79 per person includes the “Leading Out of COVID” resource. Register by Monday, Aug. 16 at https://ccl.ministrelife.org/courses/leading-out-of-covid-pastors-cohort/. Those who are interested in learning more but missed the “Leading Out of Crisis LIVE” Webinar should check next week at https://ccl.ministrelife.org to view an on-demand version of the Webinar.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.