VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 1/10/22)—In response to the interest of ABC congregations to continue to explore the impact of the global pandemic on congregational life, the ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary and Board of General Ministries is establishing a new task force entitled, “Interpreting the Impact of COVID-19 on Congregations.” Former Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware, Rev. Dr. Frank Frischkorn, has agreed to serve as chair of this task force.
General Secretary Dr. C. Jeff Woods adds, “Frank is a person of vision. He has a unique ability to draw input and ideas from others and weave those concepts into a portrait of the future. I am excited that he has consented to use his great leadership and facilitation skills in leading this task force.”
The purpose of the task force is to gather and share information regarding ways that ABC congregations can adjust to new realities created by the global pandemic so that they can become all that God intends them to be.
The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to influence the everyday lives of the global population as well as the lives of congregations. As cases rise again, we continue to deal with the pandemic effects. In response to this global pandemic, the Office of the General Secretary has provided numerous resources, conducted surveys, hosted conversations, and participated in widespread initiatives. As congregations continue to adjust to new patterns of worship, discipleship, outreach, and community ministry, it is apparent that ABC congregations would welcome and benefit from sharing their learnings with one another. Our biggest adjustments and challenges may be yet to come.
During the recent Biennial Mission Summit, over 650 American Baptists participated in the Mission Summit Conversations with 184 persons choosing to dialogue about the topic of “Congregational Life – What changes might be made to the ways that we worship, disciple, and engage in mission, in light of lessons learned from the global pandemic?” Reports from these conversations were rich with insights and recommendations for how to live into new forms and patterns of congregational life. Additionally, American Baptists recently accepted an invitation to participate in a 5.3 million dollar study assessing the impact of the pandemic on congregations in the U.S. Conversations among local church pastors, chaplains, regional staff, and other leaders continue to focus upon the need for congregations to live into a new reality.
The ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary is seeking volunteers to serve on the task force who meet the following criteria:
Criteria for Membership
- A commitment to follow Jesus and participate in Christ’s mission through congregational life.
- Special knowledge that can assist ABC congregations in adjusting to new realities created by the global pandemic.
- Knowledge of change processes and experience in helping congregations or institutions develop new habits and practices.
- A commitment to the ministry and mission of American Baptist Churches USA and a desire to assist ABC congregations.
- Commitment to serving on a diverse and inclusive task force (prior experience is helpful).
Persons interested in serving on the ABC Interpreting the Impact of COVID-19 on Congregations task force should complete an application form by February 7, 2022. Meetings of the task force will take place online every four to six weeks for a period of approximately one year.
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.