This is Part 2. See more responses in the previous post here.
We reached out to a few churches from different cities and contexts and asked them to share how they are navigating COVID. We hope their responses encourage you with the unique challenges and opportunities we are all encountering as we continue to pursue life on mission, life in community, and life with God.
Tell us about your church:
Church A: Suburban. Lots of families with a sizable young adults/young professional population. 800-900 attendees pre-COVID. We’ve been around for almost six years.
Church B: Our church is seven years old and is located in Ontario, about forty-five minutes outside of Toronto. We are a younger church of about 250 people. Young families and university students are our two biggest demographics.
Church C: 120 people. City/urban. Median age 35. Majority White, Latinx, Asian, African American represented. Upper middle class.
How is your church equipping people during this time?
– Spiritual formation guides that nurture and grow our people in spiritual practices.
– Interactive digital liturgy where people can chat and request prayer.
– Offering specific serving opportunities.
– Monthly missional community leader coaching and regular coaching touch points with missional community leaders.
– Regular check-ins with DNA points-of-contact.
Our focus during this time is on personal renewal and a plan for one’s spiritual growth. We’ve been sensing for a while that some in our community have come to believe that casting your lot in with a missional community ensures that you’ll grow as a disciple and be on mission to the community; it doesn’t. Instead of asking MC’s to come together and form their year-long covenants at the end of our fall vision series, as we would usually do, we shifted and asked each person in our church to craft a ‘personal covenant’ for how they planned to grow as a member of the family of God, a missionary, and a disciple of Jesus.
I’m not sure we’ve done a very good job. We’ve attempted to connect with leaders throughout, but recently, in August, we shifted to each of our elders reaching out to each person in our church individually to see how we can pray for them, and encourage them. We have a rotation and now each person in our church is contacted by an elder once a week.
In August we did a training on starting MC’s and we were shocked to have 8 participants eager to respond to the Spirit and process what He might be calling them to.
What does spiritual formation in your church family look like during COVID?
Every quarter, we focus on a spiritual practice such as prayer, sabbath, silence and solitude, or Bible reading. We typically kick off the quarter with a sermon designated to that specific practice. Then, each week, we provide a guide to take people through the practice on an individual level, DNA level, and MC level.
We’ve spent time walking through unique ways of praying and worshipping God out of the norm. Each week we sent out new “activities” people could try. We also did a class on Spiritual Formation in May. Honestly, this is something we could pursue even more. However, for the most part, our primary engagement in care and formation has been within our DNA groups, which have hardly missed a beat. In fact, we’ve seen more started since COVID.
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