Resourcing ECO Churches
Though we are living through an uncertain and anxious time, our constant prayer is that you would remember that God is, and always has been, in control. Church is not canceled even if your worship service has been. People need the gospel in word and in deed, and this coronavirus situation may bring that need more prominently to the surface. There is a natural fear that arises with an unknown future and the short and long term physical and economic challenges that might occur on a macro or micro scale. However, in the midst of it all, we are called to be a light for Jesus Christ as we live out what it looks like to be The Church in our communities, right here, right now.
Recorded Webinar – Reopening Church
Jun 4, 2020
A few weeks ago, we held a webinar with The Aspen Group that focused on higher level questions to be asking during the church reopening process. This webinar had double the attendance of any webinar we have done in our history! Obviously, reopening is a very challenging (and brand new to all of us!) topic to tackle. There are not only endless logistical considerations, but there are a variety of strong feelings and perspectives that are surfacing during this time.
On May 17th, we had a handful of congregations that opened for public worship. I have invited the pastors of three of those churches to participate in a panel discussion to talk about their processes of reopening and what their experiences have been for the last three Sundays of public worship. These congregations are different sizes and in different types of communities, so we will get as wide of a perspective as possible at this time, given the very few churches that have opened.
I look forward to a great discussion that will enhance the ability of all of our ECO churches to flourish during this unprecedented time.
Timestamps For Specific Topics:
3:03 – Introductions and Making the Decision to Open
16:16 – New People In Worship/Hybrid of Regular Congregants and New Visitors
23:09 – Anything You Would Have Done Differently/Any Surprises
32:20 – Reflection After Meeting with Epidemiologist/ Medical Experts
35:40 – Singing/Masks
40:25 – Bulletins
40:45 – Air Conditioning
42:35 – Communion
44:30 – Baptisms
47:56 – Camera/Lights
48:34 – Any Refusals Made to Sick Congregants Entering
50:05 – Screening Precautions
53:50 – Daycare
54:30 – Any Pushback From Congregants on Seating
55:20 – Offices Opening
59:03 – Campus Opening
Recorded Webinar – Reopening Church
WHEN SHOULD WE REOPEN CHURCH? HOW DO WE REOPEN CHURCH? WHAT CHANGES MIGHT WE MAKE TO OUR MINISTRY BASED UPON WHAT WE ARE LEARNING DURING THIS SEASON? Watch the recorded webinar, co-hosted by Dana Allin (ECO Synod Executive) and Greg Snider (Aspen Ministry Space Strategist). The Aspen Group, a ministry-focused design, build, furnish firm, has put together a great resource to help churches wrestle with these questions.
Recorded Webinar – Alpha Training
On Thursday May 7, ECO hosted an Alpha Training to equip ECO churches to lead Alpha groups for adults in an online and/or hybrid setting. We encourage pastors, elders, staff, and volunteers to learn more about Alpha and how to lead an online Alpha Group. If you would like to know more about Alpha, please check out their website https://alphausa.org. (added 5/5)
Prayer Requests and Sharing
We continue to pray generally for all of you and specifically for those situations of which we are aware. Please let us know how we can be praying for you or how you are seeing God at work in your local community.
Reopening The Church Website
The Church Never Actually Closed – Just The Doors To Our Buildings.
This website, presented by The Humanitarian Disaster Institute and National Association of Evangelicals, has many resources for pastors and churches including:
- A Step-by-Step, Biblically-Based and Research-Based Approach to Resuming In-Person Ministries.
- Guides for ministering during this time, Spiritual First Aid, Communication With Your Church, Pastor Self-Care, and Pastoral Principles to Guide Your Reopening Discussion.
- Podcasts, Webinar, and much more!
Discipleship at a Distance
In this recorded webinar, Sasan shares about ministry in our particular context and implications for how we might think about discipleship, not only during our time of isolation, but also long term changes we might make to enhance evangelism, discipleship, and leadership development.
Anticipating the Psychological Impact of COVID-19
Watch this past webinar with Dr. Andrea Gurney, Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychology, as she helps us understand and prepare for the psychological impacts of COVID-19. During this 1 hour long webinar, Dr. Gurney will teach us how to stay emotionally healthy and help others do the same. (added 4/6)
Offer for ECO Pastors
In May, ECO is continuing to offer all of our pastors 2 free sessions with one of our trained Coaches or ECO appointed spiritual directors. Pastors can choose either 2 sessions (1 hour each) of either pastoral coaching or spiritual direction. It’s our hope that you will find this relationship beneficial as you look toward the future of your ministry in a new landscape.
Details of the CARES Act
Details of CARES Act: The Financial Bridge that Churches, Schools & Nonprofits Need
With the economic downturn due to COVID-19, there has never been a more critical time for churches, Christian schools, and nonprofits across our country. Churches and schools are not allowed to meet. (added 3/31)
Giving: Steward your Givers and Protect the Giving That Supports Your Mission
We’ve built this website to help you protect and preserve those resources today and in the future when the next challenge arrives. There has never been a more critical time to steward your givers well and protect the giving that supports your mission. (added 3/19)
HR – Legislation and Employment
HR Ministry Solutions is a valuable resource that follows the latest practices, especially during these times of COVID-19. (added 3/19)
FULLER Formation is for FREE to new users
Due to the extraordinary circumstances around COVID-19, until July 1, 2020 we are offering FULLER Formation for FREE to new users who would like to use our resources to grow in faith or serve their faith community. Create an account and gain immediate access to our 60+ FULLER Formation resources on topics such as discipleship, hope, and spiritual practices. No subscription required until July 1, 2020. (Added 3/31)
Exponential (COVID-19 Resources)
Exponential – help advance the mission of Jesus amidst the confusion and uncertainty of our present reality for pastors and congregations in the COVID-19 era. (added 3/21)
FREE RightNow Media Account
During this time of global concern, RightNow Media wants to support individuals who don’t have access to RightNow Media through their church by offering free access to a limited library of content. RightNow Media is an online video streaming service that provides churches with on-demand biblical content to share with their members. RightNow Media–has many on-demand Bible study videos, shows for kids, training videos on leadership, studies on books of the Bible, and much more. (added 3/21)
30 Days of Free Mass Texting – Ministry Brands
Free Text Giving and Mobile Church App – Ministry Brands (added 3/19)
Using Technology to Prepare Your Church for Coronavirus (PDF) – Ministry Brands (added 3/19)
Document with Live and Streaming Sunday Services – ECO
This document contains links to some (obviously not all) of our churches that have online streaming worship. If your church doesn’t have streaming/online capability or isn’t looking to go in that direction, you may want to send your congregants to a website for one of these churches. You will notice that there are also services available in Spanish, Korean and Portuguese. (added 3/19)
Free Church Streaming Platform – Church Online Platform
Remove the barrier of technology so any church can reach people for Christ through online ministry. Church Online offers an open platform to churches that includes free support to get your online services up and running. (added 3/19)
90 Days of Free Live Streaming – Ministry Brands (added 3/19)
Free Conference Calls
FreeConferenceCall.com offers HD audio conferencing and online meetings with screen sharing and video conferencing for up to 1,000 participants. (added 3/19)
Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing service you can use to virtually meet with others – either by video or audio-only or both, all while conducting live chats – and it lets you record those sessions to view later (added 3/19)
– FPC Houston
In this season of disruption and uncertainty, we are kicking off a new opportunity to grow in faith and hope. We will journey through the grand narrative of scripture by reading the Bible from Cover to Cover in 100 days (plans available for all ages). (added 3/19)
30 Day Family Devotional Challenge (K-4th)
When you sign up for the free 30-Day Devotional challenge, Sharefaith Kids will send you a daily email with an interactive devotional to share with your families. Each devotional comes with an animated Bible Video, Scripture reading, discussion questions, and printable activity pages. (added 3/19)
Alpha Series for Youth (5th thru HS)
– Alpha Youth
Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith, typically run over nine to eleven weeks. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversations. The Alpha Series runs around the globe, and everyone is welcome.
During this incredible time that our world faces with the Coronavirus, Alpha Youth wants to do their part in equipping youth leaders and students to lead through this, and has created tools to help you take your Alpha online. Their resources can help train churches and youth ministries that are adapting to the changing landscape in our culture. They are offering a free interactive series (13 episodes over 9 weeks) exploring the basics of the Christian faith.
Alpha Youth has partnered with ECO to train churches, pastors, and youth workers how to lead Alpha groups for students completely online. If you want to know more about Alpha Youth please go to the website to learn more and to sign up for free: https://alphausa.org/alpha-youth-series.
On March 31, 2020, a free online training was offered exclusively for ECO. If you were unable to attend, please watch the video training with your team to prepare for your Alpha Group.
Alpha has just announced a new 3 part series called “The Path To Teen Connection” . This free 3-part video series focuses on how parents and caring adults can start more meaningful conversations that will lead to life long connection! (added 3/28) (updated 4/17)
*ECO is working on a future training for Adult Alpha online
Axis (5th thru HS)
How the Pandemic is Changing our Plans, but not our Priorities – Webinar
ECO mission leaders shared in a panel discussion some of the creative adaptations they are trying as they hold fast to the priority of mission when trips are cancelled, budgets are uncertain, local needs change, and engaging the church shifts to virtual. See links to the right for the recorded webinar and materials.
Lausanne Movement offers helpful resources and perspectives from Global Christian leaders
Operation World is another resources that has global prayer updates
Our Mission Partner Organizations call us to prayer, generosity, and hope.
The Antioch Partners
The Outreach Foundation
Theology resources will be updated regularly on eco theology webpage.