Message From the President
The world is confronting a pandemic. It is a harsh reality that requires an honest appraisal. This virus has inflicted devastating consequences in the loss of life and in the disruption to ways of life. In a time of crisis we turn to God’s Word for guidance and comfort.
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.
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.
- 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)?
- 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).
- With the best information and the deepest faith, what is the wisest decision for the church and the community (Proverbs 15:22)?
- 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.
The following are resources that we share to assist in your faithful and faith-filled preparations.
Lament and Mourning on Pentecost Sunday — May 31
Deaths in the United States from COVID-19 have now passed the 100,000 mark. This Pentecost Sunday (May 31), we invite you to join with other Christians in lamenting the loss of life. While social distancing has prevented us from grieving in customary, communal and intimate ways, this day of lament on Pentecost Sunday is an opportunity for Christians to pause and mourn.
On the Monday following Pentecost Sunday, local leaders will host civic ceremonies for a National Day of Mourning and Lament at noon local time (June 1). This call is being supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors who represent 1,400 mayors across the country. Contact your mayor to find out what is planned for your community. The events lead up to the NAE’s annual Pray Together Sunday (June 14), in which participating churches will pray for the healing of our nation and world.
Pray Together Sunday — June 14
We face an invisible virus that is causing suffering on a global scale. At a time when we need each other, we find ourselves physically distant from friends, neighbors, co-workers and fellow church members. But our spiritual unity in Christ cannot be undone by any virus or pandemic. Will your church join with other churches across the country for Pray Together Sunday on June 14, 2020 — praying for the healing of our nation and world?
Whether in church buildings, homes or online meetings, we will come together seeking God’s intervention in our lives and asking for strength to care for the most vulnerable, serve our neighbors in Jesus’ name and share the gospel with all who have not heard. May the Church of Jesus Christ be a light to a hurting world and rise up for such a time as this. Let us know that your church will be praying! We’ll send you a list of prayer points.
Reopening the Church
Your church never actually closed — just the doors to the building. As you consider when and how to reopen, get the best guidance to help your team make the right decisions for your congregation. To start, we know that conversations and decisions around reopening are not easy. Download these 4 Pastoral Principles to Guide Your Reopening Discussion.
In collaboration with the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, we’ve created a clearinghouse of tools for you at ReopeningTheChurch.com. This includes a step-by-step guide to resuming in-person ministries, webinars, tip sheets, articles and a list of resources from NAE members and friends. Here are the resources you need to continue doing what you do best: leading your church.
Care Package for the Church
After the initial transition to online church services, long-term ministry questions may be rising in your mind. How will our church offer trauma-informed care and spiritual support to members who are experiencing job loss, death of loved ones, isolation, anxiety? Is our church financially sustainable throughout this crisis? Can I maintain this level of pastoral ministry without burning out?
We teamed with American Bible Society, NAE Financial Health, Billy Graham Center and Humanitarian Disaster Institute to offer a Care Package for the Church (NAEcarepackage.com).
American Bible Society trains pastors and others to facilitate online Trauma Healing groups. NAE Financial Health brings online training to address financial sustainability for pastors and churches. The Billy Graham Center developed a robust resource center for pastor resiliency. And, the Humanitarian Disaster Institute created a Spiritual First Aid manual, online courses and more to help churches provide spiritual and emotional care to their members. These are FREE tools for sustained ministry during and after coronavirus.
The NAE is partnering with the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College to provide tools for your ministry to faithfully plan and prepare for the impact of COVID-19. On its coronavirus webpage, HDI offers a free step-by-step, research-informed and faith-based planning manual for churches, as well as links to articles and resources.
We invite you to join us every Friday at 12 p.m. CST for a free webinar. In these weekly webinars, we will share research, resources and essential tools as this public health crisis unfolds. You’ll also gain insights into how to address the fear and anxiety that many people currently feel.
Listen in to Today’s Conversation with NAE President Walter Kim and guests for information and inspiration.
The NAE has advocated for various policy issues related to COVID-19. Click below to read some letters outlining advocacy to government leaders.
- Equal Treatment for Churches and Faith-based Organizations
- Seeking a Free, Fair and Safe Election Despite COVID-19
- Borrowers Need Protection in COVID-19 Crisis
COVID-19 Church Online Summit
The COVID-19 Church Online Summit, presented March 26 & 27 by the NAE and the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, is available on-demand for viewing and sharing at no charge. During this two-day digital summit leaders around the world shared how your church can respond well to the coronavirus outbreak.
Resources From NAE Members & Friends
Click the links below to go directly to their coronavirus-related resources!
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- American Bible Society
- Assemblies of God
- The Brethren Church
- Christian & Missionary Alliance
- Christian Reformed Church in North America
- Christianity Today
- Church of the Nazarene
- Churches Helping Churches
- Converge Worldwide
- Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability
- Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO)
- Evangelical Free Church in America
- Evangelical Presbyterian Church
- Faithlife – Digital Church Library
- Fellowship of Evangelical Churches
- The Foursquare Church
- International Justice Mission – Family Activity Resources
- InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
- LifeWay Ministry Grid
- National Latino Evangelical Coalition
- Open Bible Churches
- Presbyterian Church in America
- Seventh Day Baptists
- The Wesleyan Church
- Year of the Bible