Notes from FIEC Leadership in Lockdown webinar on How to keep refreshed in lockdown with John Stevens, Johnny Prime and a panel of gospel workers.
1. Jesus came to end the exile and restore the fortunes of His people. We have been given the task of bringing in the harvest by sowing the Word of God and gathering in God’s people. As we do this there will be both tears and joy at the same time.
2. COVID Guidance Update: Restarting Children and Youth Activities.
– At present indoor and outdoor provision is allowed for vulnerable children and young people plus for children of critical workers (where reasonably necessary to enable parents/carers to work, search for work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or address a medical need).
– From 8th March same as above except critical workers element removed. Indoor and outdoor provision for children where reasonably necessary to enable parents/carers to work, search for work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.
– From 29th March outdoor provision for all children and outdoor parent and child groups with up to 15 parents (leaders/helpers of this group not included in the 15).
– From 12th April (at earliest) indoor and outdoor provision for children as normal and indoor parent and children groups with up to 15 parents.
– This practically means that we won’t be able to run Sunday School, Midweek Children’s and Youth Groups, Parent and Toddler Groups until after 12th April.
3. Additional guidance about how Children and Youth Activities are run.
– Social distancing, handwashing, cleaning etc is assumed.
– Where all children are under 5, the maximum group size is determined by number of adults present.
– Where any children over 5, they should be in small consistent groups of no more than 15 (multiple groups of 15 are allowed to run in small space provided distancing between groups is in place).
– Secondary school age children should wear face coverings indoors including in classrooms/during activities unless 2m social distancing can be maintained.
– Where children are primary school age or below – staff and adult visitors should wear face coverings where social distancing between adults is not possible.
– These measures will be in place until Easter and then reviewed.
– Ideally children should attend only one out-of-school setting in addition to school which is local to their home or school (within walking or cycling distance).
– Parents and carers should not be allowed into the setting unless it is essential.
4. Our spiritual freshness is linked to our continued proclamation of our Lord. However, it is not uncommon for those in ministry at present to share how they feel stale, drained or spiritual dry. Some shared causes of this include missing interaction with others ‘one-anothering’; choosing to withdraw from people which is easier; having to stay in the house; not being able to enjoy the means of grace with God’s people; finding that everything that made you feel fruitful was ripped from you overnight; overwhelmed and exhausted by task of adapting everything; feeling like you are in survival mode.
5. What has been helpful in keeping you fresh personally? Meeting with staff team regular and praying with them; hearing from mission partners who have had to persevere in difficult situations; spending a hour reading God’s Word and a good book; having eyes open to the evidence of God’s grace in every context – refreshed by seeing what the Lord is doing; using words of Anglican morning prayer service which give words when finding it hard to pray; going through the Psalms in a month; stillness before the Lord placing self in personal surrender; less hurried time with the Lord; read books/listen to podcasts that focus on who God is rather than what I must do to be a good Christian; Bible memorisation; journalling – discipline of expressing something on paper; recognise that there is nothing wrong with letting other Christians feed you in your quiet time (sermons/light commentaries).
6. Those who have been in ministry for a long time have a back catalogue of experience to draw on which can make you feel like you are in control. This crisis had made it feel like you are in the first year of ministry all over again and out of your depth. This is a gift from God to teach dependence upon Him rather than your experience.
7. Book recommendation: Jesus lover of my soul by Julian Hardyman. It is right to see Song of Songs as a picture of the relationship with Christ and the church and the individual members of the church.
8. Lord Jesus every morning wants to hear my voice. Quiet time is not primarily about me. Jesus really likes it when I turn up. In Christ I am lovely to Christ.
9. No update on guidance regarding singing either indoors or outdoors.
10. Reminder that even though over 70s have been vaccinated the Government Guidance for that age group still remains in place at present.
11. Be aware that when all restrictions removed on 21st June, people whose life has been on hold for a year will want to see family or friends and get away, so don’t be surprised if church does not regather straightaway. It will most likely be a gradual process.