Resources Recommended by Bishop Todd Fetters
This page is intended as a resource page for United Brethren ministers. Bishop Fetters will use this page to recommend articles and resources he feels might be useful to UB pastors as they lead their congregations through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Survey on Reopening the Church Building. About 90 UB pastors responded to a survey about their churches plans regarding reopening the building–timing, restrictions, masks, the sanctuary, and much more. The results were compiled here.
“When Pastors and Pews Disagree on Churches Reopening” is a compilation piece by Kara Bettis of views provided by various pastors who wrestle with the question, “Who should Christians heed when following Romans 13 and Hebrews 13 seems to conflict?” (Christianity Today)
“How to Lead 3 Different Groups Back to Church.” This article by Dan Reiland will help you and your teams think through the necessary leadership attitudes, responses, and actions toward those who are “running back,” “walking back,” or possibly “never coming back” to church. (Dan Reiland)
The Care Package for the Church is a cooperative effort among four reliable ministry organizations to provide tools for sustained ministry during and after the coronavirus. Click on this link. Poke around to see what is being offered. Perhaps you’ll find a resource or two that will help you navigate through the fog of this pandemic.
With lockdown restrictions being lifted in Indiana, the United Brethren National Office prepared guidelines for how coworkers will interact within the office with each other and with visitors. This document is pretty thorough, and errs on the side of being cautious. It may be of interest to United Brethren churches with multiple staff, and to other organizations and businesses. Download UB Office Covid-19 Guidelines.
I found this to be a strong article. It is written by Walter Kim, the new president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Timothy Dalrymple, the new CEO of Christianity Today. “To Cancel or Not to Cancel: That Is the Question.”
This article by Ed Stetzer is among the best I’ve seen for where he (and I) believe we are: the calm before the storm of the coronavirus. The article is titled, “This Is Not The Crisis, But It Is Just A Few Weeks Away.”
20 Ways to Pray
Christianity Today published an article titled, “20 Prayers to Pray During this Pandemic.” This article suggests very specific ways to pray for individuals, groups, and populations affected by the virus–healthcare workers, the sick and infected, government officials, homeless, missionaries, business leaders, college students, and others. Use this to help guide your praying as an individual and as a congregation.
Devotional from Walter Kim, President of NAE
I thought this was a nice, simple resource from the new president of the National Association of Evangelicals. Perhaps you can use it in your church in some way.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:1–3).
The psalmist embraces the reality and magnitude of life’s problem — the earth gives way, mountains quake, waters roar. But he puts everything under the title of an even greater reality: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
With this perspective, let’s ask ourselves four questions.
1. How can we call others to entrust their anxieties to the Lord and to have our hearts guarded in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:4–6)?
2. How can we apply the principle of love (Mark 12:30–31)? Decisions to change or cancel worship services and programming can be real expressions of love and care for the vulnerable among us and for the well-being of our communities (Jeremiah 29:7).
3. With the best information and the deepest faith, what is the wisest decision for the church and the community (Proverbs 15:22)?
4. How may this crisis be an opportunity to serve sacrificially (2 Corinthians 8:1–7)? Christians are often the first to help in crises and the last to leave — whether it is the medical missionary serving patients devastated by Ebola in Africa or the local church who provides care to those traumatized by a natural disaster.
Some Worthwhile Reading
Here are some blog posts I thought might be useful.
- Theology Forum Blog. This post was written by Zen Hess, pastor of St. Peter’s First Community Church in Huntington, Ind. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at Huntington University. “Social Distancing as a Spiritual Discipline: Finding Freedom In Solitude“
- Epheisology Blog: “Dear Church, This is Our Moment”
- Philip Yancey: “Living in Plague Times”
- Christianity Today: “How to Lead Online Services Without Losing Your Soul—or Body.”