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Church’s Webinars Help Community Navigate Crisis

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Great Lakes, The Way

By Carl Stagner

Churches everywhere have been scrambling over the past several weeks to adjust to a COVID-19 world. As shepherds of local congregations, pastors are quick to protect and preserve the flock—and rightly so. While caring for each other, however, followers of Christ can unwittingly lose focus of the mission of the church. A growing number of Church of God congregations are discovering the opportune moment God has provided in this challenging season to offer the hope of Jesus in practical expression. One example is Crosspoint, a congregation in Fishers, Indiana, on the northeast side of Indianapolis. They’ve launched a series of webinars to help their community navigate this crisis.

Yes, they could broadcast another explicit presentation of the gospel, but they’re doing that already through their weekly online worship gatherings. Sure, they could easily offer another online devotion or series of acoustic living-room worship songs—but their audience would be primarily Christian. What’s missing from far too many churches hunkered down during the COVID-19 outbreak is the element of outreach. Crosspoint saw the chance to demonstrate love to their neighbors near and far, with no strings attached, through what they’ve dubbed “COVID-19 Conversations.”

Consider the practicality of their series reflected in the following webinar titles: “The Virtual Workplace.” “Coping with Shelter-at-Home.” “Faith in Crisis.” “Helping Your Children Process COVID-19.” “Personal Finance During Crisis.”

Pastor Curt Walters teaches at Crosspoint.

Pastor Curt Walters explains: “At Crosspoint, our mission is to help people find their way to God. It’s not just hoping people find their way to God, but intentionally seeking ways to build bridges with our community through relevant topics, dialogue, and community action. History reminds us that it is during these darkest times that God may be doing his greatest work. With a majority of our community now working from home and looking for connection with others during the stay-at-home orders, we began to see that equipping with tools to empower and create sustainability during this season would be of high value.”

Crosspoint didn’t reinvent the wheel to get these webinars going. Not only are they using popular technology to make these webinars available, but they’ve also partnered with experts in a variety of particular fields. This brings credibility and tested resources, and also offers greater flexibility and a broader range of possible topics. Host Lindsay Boccardo provided online participants of the church’s first COVID-19 Conversations event with experienced tips and insight from the professional mental health perspective. This webinar, like ones that have followed since, attracted viewers from far outside their own community—ten states were represented for “The Virtual Workplace,” and an estimated 350 to 400 people were reached.

Applicable to anyone working from home, the following are examples of tips Lindsay communicated, some of which draw from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

Overcommunicate. Text messaging is slower than the human voice and context (through visual cues, etc.) is lost. Arrange calls with work colleagues at least two times per day.
Outline your day. What has to be accomplished? How much energy do you have? Do one task at a time. Organize “like” activities to conserve mental energy.
Socialize and connect. Set aside time to video chat with loved ones. Reach out to colleagues to check in on well-being. Send a funny video. Check in on yourself, too.
Move your body. Statistics inform that those who sit too long are more likely to develop symptoms of depression. Low to moderate exercise also strengthens the immune system.

Crosspoint isn’t waiting until restrictions are lifted or coronavirus concerns subside. There’s work to be done right now, and this Indiana church has opted to serve. “Regardless of our spiritual orientation or background,” Curt explains, “we’re all interested in tools and pathways to help us manage this crisis. COVID-19 Conversations create a platform for us to tap into professionals and experts to explore the topics that everyone is talking about—how we navigate this season and not just survive, but thrive.”

 


 

Help churches like Crosspoint continue to change the story in their communities as they respond to urgent needs related to COVID-19:

Learn more about the response of Church of God Ministries to the coronavirus (COVID-19), including resources for you and your church, at www.jesusisthesubject.org/theway.

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