April 27, 2020
We have been so blessed and encouraged by the creative and meaningful ways that pastors and congregations have responded to the challenges of ministry through this time of pandemic and quarantine. About 85 percent of ABC Ohio congregations have shared weekly electronic worship services that have included good preaching, prayer, and music. A number of churches have developed prayer and communication groups online, by phone or by email to be sure that their church families are cared for personally and spiritually. Pastors and others have made thousands of telephone calls to check on, reassure, pray with, and stay connected to their congregations. Since Easter, many of our congregations have begun to ask the question, “What comes next?”
Our Governor has announced in the past week that he would like to see the state begin to open up SLOWLY. We believe SLOWLY is an important word as the church prepares for what comes next. As much as we want to be together, the rush to make a hasty return to our previous ways could be disastrous for our congregations. Ken Braddy, Jr., a Sunday School specialist, has developed a series of questions church leaders should answer before they begin to set a date for the church to gather again in person. We recommend that your church consider some similar questions…
The following are recommendations from the Regional Executive Ministers Council for American Baptist Pastors during this time of the COVID-19 crisis and restrictions.
Traditional pastoral ministry has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and government Stay at Home directives. It has changed dthe way we worship, fellowship and provide pastoral care. In general, there are to be no groups of ten or more people.
1. Worship services should not be held in person. Services should be held by Facebook, streaming, and video conference.
2. Memorial services should be restricted to immediate family members of ten or less people. Larger services should be planned for after social distancing restrictions have been lifted.
3. Wedding services should be restricted to immediate family members of ten or less people. Larger celebrations and/or receptions should be planned for after social distancing restrictions have been lifted.
4. Pastoral calls to those in the hospital, nursing homes, and shut-ins should be postponed until after social distancing restrictions have been lifted.
5. People in hospitals, nursing homes, and shut-ins are considered at high risk of being infected with the virus.
6. Pastoral care must take on other expressions: greeting cards, phone calls, email, texting, Face Timing, and other creative ways to be present.
7. The ministry of prayer has been become even more important.
Best Practices for Funerals During the COVID-19 Crisis:
ABC USA Resources:
Since 2009, the "Buckeye Mission and Ministry Offering" (BMMO) has become a significant avenue for churches in the Region to support the ministries of American Baptist Churches of Ohio (ABC Ohio). BMMO helps make it possible for ABC Ohio to serve your church.
Every dollar given to the BMMO goes to support the various ministries that benefit your church (see the list of ministries below). The most significant region ministry is that of the two Executive Ministers, Rev. Jane Gibbons and Rev. Mark Click, who serve faithfully to help in whatever way needed to equip you and your church for ministry.
Our Region's theme is "Sharing God's Hope for All Generations: Transforming Churches through Intergenerational Ministries" from Joel 2:28. “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions."
BMMO gifts help develop, coach, and assist servant leaders. It provides new ministry resources for local churches and helps provide quality ministry gatherings to challenge and grow healthy churches.
Please consider giving to the BMMO in 2020. This is one way your church can partner with ABC Ohio to fulfill God’s mission in your community and beyond. Your faithful giving is appreciated and is needed to serve its member churches. Again, remember that every dollar given goes to ABC Ohio ministries that "help build healthy churches that impact the world for Christ."
“We Are American Baptist Churches of Ohio – Our Heritage & Mission,” was produced to provide a reminder of our rich heritage, mission, and covenant. The question for our congregations, leaders and pastors is: “What does it mean for you and your congregation to be a member of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio?”
American Baptist Churches of Ohio is pleased to announce a new partnership with Judson Press, National Ministries’ publishing ministry for the denomination. “Judson Press Regional Rewards” is an affiliate bookstore program that provides an easy way to generate funds for our region's ministries. Read more to find out how to participate in the program . . .