A new ebook offers insights and ideas for continuing and growing effective ministry amid the coronavirus pandemic and required closure of churches and worship services. If Your Church is Closed . . . Be the Church is being shared with pastors around Australia and New Zealand.
“This is a much, much-needed resource!” said Victor Kulakov, lead pastor for Discipleship Ministries for the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference. “I look forward to sharing it with our pastors.”
Written by Dr Peter Roennfeldt and published in collaboration with Signs Publishing, If Your Church is Closed was created in the past week in response to the suddenly changed ministry context for pastors and churches. “It started with numerous emails and calls from pastors and church leaders,” Dr Roennfeldt explains. “Their churches had just scattered into multiple households. Aware that all were scrambling to respond to a rapidly evolving situation, last weekend I brought together some of the encouragement and practical suggestions being shared. I sent it to pastors in different countries and got immediate requests—so thought it may be of wider interest.”
According to Dr Roennfeldt, the ministry methods that Jesus demonstrated in the first century are “incredibly relevant” to the 21st century. “This is not a time for panic, but the time for faithfulness,” he urges. “Jesus’ vision and mission is not changed by a global crisis, nor by the distress and disorientation with which we struggle. It has seemed that perhaps we are being nudged to be the church, not just go to church
Pastor Mau Tuaoi from Gilson College Community Church in suburban Melbourne, agrees. “Suddenly empty church buildings have prompted us to ‘Be the Church,’” he says. “We as pastors must be careful not to construct another building around believers—fostering consumerism. This is our opportunity to teach our people how to fish, not just give them fish. This guide will help us.”
If Your Church is Closed has been well received around the world. This feedback from pastors and church leaders have shaped its rapid development, with interest already expressed for translations in three or four languages.
“Many of the pastors and leaders are saying that church will not be the same again,” reflects Dr Roennfeldt. “How effective we are at being church at home now will determine what our churches look like when we get to the other side of this pandemic.”
If Your Church is Closed . . . Be the Church is available for free download from www.following-jesus.com.