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10 Ideas to Connect Your Socially Distanced Congregation

10 Ideas to Connect Your Socially Distanced Congregation

As we all look toward the fall with a blend of hope and uncertainty, we invite you to consider new ways to strengthen your congregation’s faith and connection to each other and the world around them – as well as supporting Chalice Press’s important ministry of lifting up prophetic voices for our times. Here are 10 ideas for staying connected in the months ahead.
  1. Address the issues of the day. The COVID outbreak and the recent protests around the nation about race and violence have provided new glimpses into poverty, health care, class inequality, workplace equality, race relations, and so many more of society’s relational challenges. How we react to those societal challenges depends in part on our faith and values. What issues should your congregation wrestle with as we work through this outbreak?
  2. It’s not all about Sundays. Perhaps you’ve been having a daily morning devotional or mid-week virtual. There are so many daily devotionals available, including several from Chalice Press. Streaming music online? If you don’t already have CCLI or OneLicense.net, that could be a great investment to keep your congregation connected. Many Chalice Hymnal and Chalice Praise songs are included in those packages.
  3. Make it easy on yourself. You don’t have to create everything new. Chalice Press books are built for study groups and online discussions, whether it’s questions in the book or downloadable small group study guides from our website. Don’t stress over planning — just read the book we’ll help you start the conversation.
  4. Order books from ChalicePress.com or a local bookstore. You’ve heard how well some of the big book providers have fared during the recession, but local bookstores and publisher retail sites like ChalicePress.com have taken a big hit. Support small businesses by ordering direct. Join the #ReadIndieForward campaign by buying a book for someone you love and tagging them, encouraging them to follow your lead and pay it forward.
  5. Embrace the virtual opportunities of the moment. Many authors are offering online discussions, webinars, or presentations. Several Chalice Press authors will join your small group when you order in bulk from Chalice Press. And if there’s an author you’d like to meet, reach out to them! We’ll help you connect.
  6. Think about your church’s relationship to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We are all Disciples, but we have different understandings of what that might mean. The fall would be a great time to use a Chalice book about Disciples identity, theology, and history to fuel the discussion about what it means to be Disciple.
  7. How are you nurturing stewardship when you can’t pass the offering plates? The Community of Prayer devotional by Bruce Barkhauer at the Center for Faith and Giving is a four-week curriculum that helps congregations think about stewardship in new ways. Eric H.F. Law’s Holy Currencies series teaches us about gifts besides money we give to the church. 
  8. Plan ahead to Advent. This year’s Advent devotional, Imagining a New World, was written by Rev. Terri Hord Owens, our General Minister and President. In a season when we feel most connected to our faith, this year’s Advent devotional will strengthen our ties as a denomination.
  9. Plan ahead to 2021. Wellsprings of Hope, available soon for fall delivery, is our new weekly devotional prepared by leaders of our General Ministries. Reflecting on Isaiah 35, the hallowed passage about finding new life, new faith, and new prophetic vision in challenging places and spaces, your congregation can walk with other Disciples congregations toward the 2021 General Assembly and beyond.
  10. Remember to take time for yourself. Sure, we’ll encourage you to read a book just for fun. But you can also just rest. Be still and hear your own breathing and the breath of God.
We know pastors and church leaders have a lot on your minds right now. We are grateful for your partnership in ministry during these challenging times. Take care of yourselves!
Gratefully,
Your friends and partners in ministry at Chalice Press
Photo: Upsplash/Chris Montgomery
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