Doing Ministry Virtually
The current lockdown arrived suddenly into our lives on 24th March. Some took it in their stride more easily than others, but we were all challenged by it. We were all faced with the question of how to transfer the life of the church online efficiently and effectively.
In Yorkshire Synod, alongside the initial scramble to do the essential things that needed to be done, we called together individuals from around the Synod who already had some involvement with the Synod’s on line presence. Straight away we were able to make connections between different things going on: the more formal Synod website management; the creative work of our Synod Evangelist; of our Youth and Children’s Work Practitioners in networking our work with children and young people; and the development of an online faith community, Churspacious.
We recognized the need for a very swift response – the need was ‘now’. So we quickly identified a small pot of Synod money, which enabled us to buy in the services of a couple of people on a consultancy basis. A small group now meets on a weekly basis to respond to specific requests for help that come in from the churches, to produce guidance documents for working online, and to help us formulate a longer-term strategy.
To this end, we are holding an on online conference called ‘Doing Ministry Virtually’. We have invited minsters, elders and other church leaders to explore a broad range of issues, practical and missional. Around 30 have so far responded. From this we hope to hold more events which will focus on different aspects of the very broad agenda, and to develop a more strategic plan.
We realize that the challenge comes at a number of levels. There is a challenge here and now to respond to the lockdown. There is a much longer term challenge to reflect on what the lockdown teaches us about the mission of the church in the future. We know that we can’t just return to our life as it was before the virus hit. We trust that the work we are doing now will help us respond faithfully to the call to be disciples of Jesus in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
Rev Jamie Kissack, Yorkshire Synod Moderator Elect and Synod Ministries Committee Convener
Image – Pixabay