resources

 

 

Situation

As of March 19, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting gatherings of 11 or more in Texas.  While the Governor later clarified that churches are not included in this order due to constitutionally protected freedom of religion, he also called on churches to care about the health and safety of all people and find alternative ways to worship and carryout ministry (Click here for Gov. Abbott’s clarification on churches).
 
Therefore, we have created this page to be a resource of ideas churches can use carryout effective ministry amidst this crisis. Please read through the ideas below. If you have something to contribute, please submit your idea using the form at the bottom of the page. For more information and tips on how to execute any of these ideas, email bryce@lcmctexas.org or call 512-942-7776.

 

Worship

 

Online LIVE Video

Facebook, YouTube, and other video platforms allow for free online LIVE broadcast video over the internet. You can livestream from your smartphone a small group worship gathering (perhaps just your worship team) to your congregation. Use your regular worship space and include a full worship service with your music leaders if possible. Use of a handheld stabilizing device called a gimbal (about $100 and available on Amazon) will allow you to have smooth and stable video and move your camera and will result in far better video than either a fixed position on a tripod or trying to handhold a phone. In addition, it is best to avoid having a pastor in an empty room speaking a liturgy and pretending to preach to a room full of people. It is usually best for the pastor to speak to directly to the camera.

 

Online Pre-Recorded Video

Similar to LIVE video, you can pre-record and edit a full worship experience to then share online via Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube and other platforms. This requires someone to have basic video editing software and some technical expertise. Consider having instrumentalists and vocalists audio record music. You can create lyric slides in a video to go with the audio in your finished video. A pastor can give a message from a desk and speak directly to the worshipper at home. This can result in a very conducive aid to home worship when done well.

 

In-Person Small Group (10 or less) Worship Gatherings

Using an online sign-up such as SignupGenius, you can schedule multiple worship gatherings up to nine plus the leader. These can happen in homes or at the church. Those who are not feeling well should be reminded to stay home. Social distancing and facility sanitization is recommended. Worshipers can reserve a spot at one of the worship gatherings which could happen at different times and on multiple days of the week. Larger congregations would require multiple leaders, but smaller congregations could be handled by the pastor. Worship gatherings could include prayer, scripture, a message or devotional, and singing. One of these micro-church gatherings could be recorded for online publication or livestreamed for those unable to attend.

 

Drive-In (Parking Lot) Worship Gatherings

Consider holding worship in your parking lot! You can either set-up for a Low-Power FM radio frequency to broadcast audio right into the cars, have congregants call into a teleconferencing solution like Zoom (with one-way audio), or set-up a large portable sound system and worship together Drive-in theater style.

 

Drive-Through Communion Distribution

Works with or without the Drive-in Worship, consider offering sacrament distribution one vehicle at a time at regular intervals. Be sure to practice safe handling of communion.

 

Email / Mail Worship Resources

Consider developing home worship liturgies and devotional messages that can be used for families to worship together at home. These can be emailed out to those who have the ability to print, and mailed to those who do not.

 

Online / Radio Audio

Similar to video solutions, some congregations are utilizing audio only recordings of sermons and/or worship for podcasts, posting on church websites, sharing on social media platforms, and/or broadcasting on local radio stations.

 

Youth / Children’s / Small Groups

 

Web-Conferencing

There are several low cost web-conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, that are commercially available and can allow you to stay connected to your groups (youth and adults). Anyone can join on a device with a camera and an internet connection. Groups can be listen only or allow for interaction. Don’t let the virus stand in the way of connecting with your groups.

 

Devotional Video Messages

Offer encouragement via pre-recorded or live video messages. We all need hope and encouragement. Videos can be sent out via email or posted to Facebook or church websites hosted on sites like YouTube or Vimeo.

 

In-Person Groups (10 or less)

Don’t forget that Jesus did some of his best ministry with a small group of people. For those who are healthy and well, you can still gather in small groups. Practice social distancing and sanitization of hands and anything that hands will touch. Avoid handshakes and holding hands for prayer time. But build community and pray and care for one another. Those who are not feeling well should be reminded to stay home.

 

Email / Mail Lessons for Home Instruction

Consider sending activities and instructional materials to parents of children and youth. Families will be spending a lot more time with one another as long as this endures. Let’s help parents to leverage that time by resourcing them to teach their children the Good News of Jesus. Think about sending instructions for fun and engaging crafts, games, and activities as well as basic Bible stories that anyone can do with their children. Send home confirmation resources to engage parents in teaching their sons and daughters the basics of the Christian faith. Be sure parents have Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms to be well-equipped to share these truths with their teens. After all, this is what Martin Luther wrote the catechism for!

 

Outdoor Gatherings

Outdoor events with social distance are still allowed. Consider utilizing local parks to encourage exercise and fellowship. Be sure to maintain distance and practice good hand sanitization. Think about your activity to avoid common hand contact. Playing catch with a Frisbee would not be advisable. Playing Frisbee golf where everyone has their own Frisbee would be okay.

 

Care / Outreach

 

Helpline

Some congregations are utilizing this opportunity to communicate to their community that the church is here to help. Community members are invited to call into the church office to ask for help or share a need. Churches can reclaim their role of loving their neighbors by meeting these real-life needs.

 

Food Distribution / Errand Running

Some churches are focusing on distributing food to and running errands for the elderly or vulnerable who feel it is unsafe to leave home at this time. Take note of who inside or outside of your congregation may need someone to do their grocery shopping. Consider helping schools and feeding ministries in your community to make sure those who have food needs are able to be fed during this crisis.

 

Phone Tree / Calling on Members

Some churches are having their church council members make regular phone calls to the church family to help ensure that the church stays connected and no needs get overlooked. 

 

Mail / Email / Social Media Posts

Stay connected with your congregation through written communication via email, mail, and social media posts. Keep everyone up-to-date with the latest information and send out regular scriptures and devotions to keep encouraging your people.

 

Providing Nursing Homes with Worship Videos / Devotional Resources

Only essential personnel are being allowed to visit nursing homes and elderly communities. Contact staff at care facilities to see if you can share video worship or Bible study resources with the community in the absence of visiting pastors.

 

Adopt Your Neighbors

Anyone can care for their immediate neighbors. One suggestion if you live in a neighborhood is to adopt your eight closest neighbors to love and care for: the three directly across the street, the two on either side of you, and the three directly behind you. Let this be a time of building loving community with the people that we are physically closest to.

 

Self / Family Care

 

Slow-Down

The gift of this crisis is a pause of regular life. We go through life longing for time. This crisis has given us time and yet many people are going stir-crazy and feeling anxious. Don’t forget to slow down and de-stress and practice quietness and stillness with God. If you are leader, not only practice this, but share your experience with your people to help others slow-down as well.

 

Pray & Read the Bible

Speaking of quiet time with God, now is a great time to recommit to some healthy devotional habits and daily connecting with God through prayer and Bible study. This is good and healthy for everyone, but leaders, share your journey to help others see your example.

 

Spend Quality with Spouse / Family / Close Friends

One of the gifts of this time is to reconnect with the people that we are closest with. Be sure to enjoy the fellowship of your spouse, family, and friends.

 

Exercise and Eat Well

It would be a shame if we spent the entire time away from normal activities watching TV or playing video games. Don’t forget to care for your body and get up and take walks, visit parks, and eat healthy meals.

 

Stewardship

 

Communicate with Congregation

Many congregations are concerned with a potential decline in giving with the cancellation of public worship services. This often puts pastors and ministry staff in an awkward position. It would be best for congregational council leaders to communicate regularly with the congregation on behalf of the church to make an appeal for members to continue to contribute and tithe to the work of the church. Ministry and bills don’t stop just because the building is closed on Sundays.

 

Distribute Church-Addressed Envelopes

One idea to encourage giving is to distributed church-addressed envelopes to each giving unit to make it easy to mail in contributions. You may even want to go so far as to provide the stamps!

 

Set-up Online Giving

Perhaps the best solutions for engaging giving among younger generations would be to set-up and communicate online giving opportunities. There are free options such as Venmo, but there are also several specific ministry providers that have inexpensive and robust solutions. Check out ShareFaith Giving (our provider), BlueFire, or Planning Center Online. Each have solutions that allow people to send money electronically in either one-time or recurring contributions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Need Help?
For more information and tips on how to execute any of these ideas, email bryce@lcmctexas.org or call 512-942-7776.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Have Something to Contribute?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Recommended Reading…

Mission and Ministry Must-Haves…

 
The following is a list of recommended reading to help advance the Kingdom of God through the ministry of local congregations. Topics will vary and new resources will be added to this list in the future, so check back often. Also, most resources will be linked to where they can be purchased on Amazon.com. By following the link directly from this page before making your purchase, you will be helping to financially support LCMC Texas. Thank you for your support!
 

Got a resource to recommend?

Suggest resources you recommend using the Contact Us form. Thanks!

Discipleship, Evangelism, and Everyday Mission:

by Daniel Im
 
What if I told you that you were only one step away from unlocking new levels of maturity and growth in your church?
 
The myth of the silver bullet still exists because we desperately want it to. We all prefer quick fixes and bandage solutions to the long, hard, slow work that produces real change. So the moment we learn about a new ministry or strategy and see its effect in another church, we run to implement it in our own. Unfortunately, this impulse is usually met by opposition, skepticism, and ultimately, rejection.
 
What if the solution isn’t a new model or a complicated strategy, but a shift in perspective? What if you could keep your church’s current vision, values, and model, and simply make a few micro-shifts…leading to macro-changes?
 
This book explores five micro-shifts that have the potential to produce macro-changes in your church. As you read, you will discover how to integrate these micro-shifts into the life of your church, starting with the way you disciple. You will finish by developing a plan to structure, communicate, and evaluate these changes to ensure that they take root and pave the way for lasting change and kingdom impact.
 
Daniel Im is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com and LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast and the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.
 
 
by Greg Finke
 
Joining Jesus on His Mission will alter the way you see your life as a follower of Jesus and take you beyond living your life for Jesus to living life with Jesus. Simple, powerful and applicable insights show you how to be on mission and recognize where Jesus is already at work in your neighborhoods, workplaces and schools. You will feel both relief and hope. You may even hear yourself say, “I can do this!” as you start responding to the everyday opportunities Jesus is placing in your path.
 
Greg and Susan Finke founded Dwelling 1:14 to help Jesus-followers connect in their neighborhoods, workplaces and schools for discipling and missional living. They offer coaching, consulting and training experiences for congregations and their leaders in discipling, living missionally and multiplying missional communities. Greg and Susan enjoy life as neighborhood missionaries in League City, Texas. www.dwelling114.org
 
 
by Greg Finke
 
The way Jesus disciples people is simple and results in unschooled, ordinary followers participating in the mission of the Father and discipling others to do the same. This book will help you regain the clarity and simplicity of how Jesus disciples people in the gospels so that you can disciple your children, friends, neighbors or fellow church members to get up, follow Jesus and join him on his mission, too.
 
Greg and Susan Finke founded Dwelling 1:14 to help Jesus-followers connect in their neighborhoods, workplaces and schools for discipling and missional living. They offer coaching, consulting and training experiences for congregations and their leaders in discipling, living missionally and multiplying missional communities. Greg and Susan enjoy life as neighborhood missionaries in League City, Texas. www.dwelling114.org
 
 
by Ted and Chelsey Doering
 
In Myth of the Millennial, authors Rev. Ted and Chelsey Doering, Millennials themselves, invite churches to stop hitting the panic button and trying anything and everything to get Millennials to stay in or come back to church. Because connecting with the Millennial generation – their generation, their peers – is simpler than it seems. And don’t worry, they won’t prescribe expensive building renovations or a new wardrobe for your pastor.
 
They do, however, explore common millennial stereotypes in the hopes of helping other generations better understand this lost generation. They also offer ideas on how to build strong intergenerational relationships to better equip Boomers and Gen-Xers to engage a generation that is generally apathetic and disinterested in the Church. Because, ultimately, all this talk about Millennials and generations is not about upping church attendance for the sake of numbers; it s about one generation leading another to Christ.
 
Ted and Chelsey Doering are church planters who live just north of the Millennial mecca that is Austin, Texas. They enjoy cooking (Chelsey), barbequing (Ted), working on house projects, and laughing at the antics of their dog, Gus. Learn more about their ministry at narrative.church.
 
 

Church Leadership:

by John Edmund Kaiser
 
  • Do you really want the mission to succeed?
  • Are you prepared to live within clear boundaries?
  • Are you ready to align yourself with a greater purpose?
  • Do you have what it takes?
Winning on Purpose offers leaders a way to organize congregations for success by creating structures that enable church life and health. As a comprehensive and powerful application of the biblical call to mission, Winning on Purpose sets forth the Accountable Leadership strategy. This model of leadership brings together standards for mission, boundaries, and accountability, and then shows how these standards come to life through the performance of four key players: the board, the pastor, the staff, and the congregation.
 
 
by Paul D. Borden
 
Many congregations are declining due to an inward focus, and see their pastor as someone who should only minister to their needs. But pastors must anticipate a better future. Direct Hit offers hope to leaders of congregations that have lost their outward focus. By preparing for and leading systemic change, pastors can bring new life into the culture of a congregation, guiding it to answer God’s call to reach people with the good news.
  • Direct Hit offers practical explanations for how to:
  • Develop a vision and communicate a strategy for its implementation
  • Motivate a congregation to embrace the vision
  • Develop resources, ideas, and personnel to prepare for change
  • Embrace and implement change
  • Embed a new DNA into the life of a congregation
 
Systemic change occurs as a result of hard work, but the gain far outweighs the pain. Once change has occurred, a whole new world of opportunity opens up—a world in which you are privileged to equip, lead, and oversee a congregation that has joined God’s mission. Ready. Aim. Go for it!
 
 
by Paul D. Borden
 
Learn the “Big Picture” approach that will aim your congregation at the mission field in your back yard, or around the world. Many churches want to make the transition from an inward to an outward focus, from catering to the needs of members to reaching out into the world to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Too often they try to accomplish this radical change by taking half steps and partial measures, initiating a new program here or adding a new staff members there.
 
Yet this kind of change requires more. To succeed in changing its core focus this way, a congregation must learn strategic thinking; it must commit itself to seeing the big picture, and to taking the steps necessary to paint that picture afresh. Everyone, including pastors, lay leaders, key teams and groups, and the congregation as a whole must be involved in a process of transformation. Paul D. Borden, author of Hit the Bullseye and Direct Hit, knows that this transformation will not be easy. But if the target is bringing more people into saving relationship with Jesus Christ, what could be more worthwhile?
 
 
by Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk
 
In The Missional Leader, consultants Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk give church and denominational leaders, pastors, and clergy a clear model for leading the change necessary to create and foster a missional church focused outward to spread the message of the Gospel into the surrounding community. The Missional Leader emphasizes principles rather than institutional forms, shows readers how to move away from “church as usual,” and demonstrates what capacities, environments, and mindsets are required to lead a missional church.
 
 
 
 
 
by Will Mancini
 
Is your team excited about the next big dream for your church? You are a visionary leader and your church probably has a vision statement. Yet most churches are stuck in a trap of generic communication without a truly visionary plan. Just like a visionary restaurant needs a more specific focus than “serving food,” a visionary church needs something more than biblical generalizations like “loving God, loving people” or “making disciples and serving the world.”
 
When a team doesn’t share an understanding of God’s next big dream, leadership grows tired, overworked by an “all things to all people” ministry approach. Too often there’s no unified picture of what success looks like. People can feel uninspired and your church’s programming can seem more optional than ever. Ministry without clarity is insanity.
 
Are you ready for a better way? In this groundbreaking work, based on Will Mancini’s 15 years and over 10,000 hours of church team facilitation, God Dreams reveals a simple and powerful planning method that will bring energy and focus to your church like never before. First, God Dreams shows how to reclaim the role of long-range vision today by providing 12 vision templates, each with biblical, historical and contemporary illustrations. These vision starters will dramatically accelerate your team’s ability to find complete agreement regarding your church’s future. Second, God Dreams explains how to overcome the fruitless planning efforts that many church teams experience. With a tool called the Horizon Storyline, leaders can connect short-term action steps with the long-range dream, while leveraging the power of storytelling to make the plan “stick.” This tool will galvanize a diverse team of ministry leaders and volunteers with unprecedented enthusiasm.
 
Imagine leading with a refreshed sense of freedom and confidence, with a totally new way to inspire your church. Imagine the ability to harness the energy and resources of your people towards a specific dream of gospel impact, in your church and in your lifetime. God Dreams is your passport to leading into a better future.
 
 

Church Planting & Multiplication:

by Phil Stevenson
 
Multiply Your Ministry by Parenting New Churches!
 
Most pastors and church leaders know that a healthy church should eventually become a multiplying church. But how do you know when the time is right to parent a new church? And how do you know which of the many available strategies is right for your church? In Becoming a Ripple Church: Why and How to Plant New Congregations, Phil Stevenson walks the pastor and church leader step-by-step through the process of parenting a new church—from deciding when is the right time to understanding the models and hurdles of church parenting to developing a team of people to parent a new church.
 
Stevenson gives pastors and church leaders the inspiration and strategic know-how to multiply their church’s effectiveness, as well as the nuts and bolts to get the job done.
 
 
by Ed Stetzer and Daniel Im
 
Is God calling you to plant a church? What does that even mean? How do you decide what type of church to plant? Where do you start? What systems do you develop? How do you recruit a team to help you? And how do you make sure that your church plant grows and multiplies? This is what Planting Missional Churches is all about. Use this book as a guide to lay a missional foundation, choose the right model, develop the appropriate systems, and build the needed ministry areas, so that you can ultimately multiply over and over again.
 
Planting a church is one of the most exciting adventures you’ll ever embark on. It’s also one of the hardest. It requires initiative, leadership, strategy, systems, and a lot of prayer. In this second edition of Planting Missional Churches, not only will you find a completely redesigned book with new content in every single chapter, but you will also find several new chapters on topics such as church multiplication, residencies, multi-ethnic ministry, multisite, denominations and networks, and spiritual leadership. So if you’re planting a church, be prepared. Use this book as a guide to build the needed ministry areas so that you can multiply over and over again. For additional resources visit www.newchurches.com/PMC.
 
Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research.
 
Daniel Im is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com and LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast and the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.
 
 

Devotional:

by Jen Wilkin
 
We all know it’s important to study God’s Word.
 
But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. What’s more, a lack of time, emotionally driven approaches, and past frustrations can erode our resolve to keep growing in our knowledge of Scripture. How can we, as Christian women, keep our focus and sustain our passion when reading the Bible?
 
Offering a clear and concise plan to help women go deeper in their study of Scripture, this book will equip you to engage God’s Word in a way that trains your mind and transforms your heart.
 
 

Preaching:

by Ken Davis
 
What is the most important ingredient for an effective speech or presentation?
 
Whether you are one who speaks only on rare occasions or you find yourself addressing an audience every day, this book will be an invaluable tool. Beneficial to the experienced pro as well as the new beginner,Secrets of Dynamic Communication is a practical and effective handbook for powerful presentations of all kinds. It takes the reader through the process of selecting and developing a theme, giving it focus, fleshing it out, and communicating well with the audience. The first half is devoted to preparation, the second to delivery.
 
Author Ken Davis is frequently hired by individuals and companies around the world to bring his humor and expertise to others in the speaking field, and he is now bringing those concepts to the wider community as well. No abstract theories here, only step-by-step help in preparing and delivering speeches that get results! You’ll soon develop the dynamic speaking skills associated with the very best in the field.
 
 

Need a supply preacher?

 

Recommended Compensation

 
We recommend compensating supply pastors a minimum of $150 plus mileage / travel expenses for one worship service, and $50 for each additional worship service or hourly program commitment (e.g. bible study, etc.).
 

 

Available Preachers:

 
Paul Austin, Austin, 512-661-4133, paustin@kirbysmith.com
Cindy Bailey, Robinson, 512-297-7596, rustycindyb@gmail.com
Rusty Bailey, Robinson, 507-230-0326, pr.rusty.iim@gmail.com
Wendy Berthelson, Midlothian, 214-477-0429, pastor.wendy@sbcglobal.net
Alvin Epperson, McDade, 512-273-2595, susanepp12@gmail.com
Lee Eschberger, Paige, 512-253-0246
Frederick Glazier, Houston, 832-423-3934, fglazier@gmail.com
John Harrison, Medina, 830-708-5579, jdhtqop@gmail.com
Chuck Knudson, New Braunfels, 830-237-7009, chuck@hebrews1024.com
Ralph Martin, Brenham, 979 -836-3092, ralph.martin@sbcglobal.net
David Mayer, Stonewall, 830-426-9146, dtmayer75@yahoo.com
Chris Meyer, Thrall, 512-879-8302, cmeyer002@gmail.com
Roger Millheim, Tyler, 903-707-3531, rmillheim@gmail.com
David Noe, McKinney, 214-548-7766, davidcnoe1955@gmail.com
Donald Ofsdahl, San Antonio, 210-314-9389, donofsdahl@msn.com
Melinda Russell, El Paso, 915-208-0538, wantoffthegrid@sbcglobal.net
Ken Skokan, Lexington, 605-464-0297, spstrken@gmail.com
Olivia Walker, Haslet, 214-546-8154, otwalker7@yahoo.com
Alan Williams, Fredericksburg, pastor.william1248@att.net
 
[updated: February 26, 2019]
 
 

Training Up Next Gen Leaders

 

Seminary Scholarship Opportunities

The following congregations either have scholarship funds or would consider supporting a LCMC seminary student to help defray the cost of tuition as they pursue theological education for ministry.  Please contact each congregation directly in regards to their specific funds availability and determination processes:
 
 
If your congregation has a seminary scholarship fund or would be willing to financial support a seminary student, please Contact Us!
 
[updated: September 13, 2018]