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– This afternoon, our presenter is Dr. Joe Sherrer. Dr. Joe is going to be sharing with us, “Keeping Your I’s on the Future: Leading the Adult Groups for Embracing New Realities.” Of course, Mr. Joe, or Dr. Joe, is a professor of discipleship and ministry leadership at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary down in New Orleans, brought to you live via Oklahoma. So, Joe, we thank you for being with us today and share with us, if you will. We appreciate it.
– Well, Jamie, thank you. It’s the light to be with you this afternoon. We kind of wondered about people and would they be taking their Sunday afternoon nap. So we’re grateful for you at least starting out with us awake, and we’ll do everything we can to keep you awake throughout the afternoon. But I do realize that Sunday afternoons are a challenge and, you know, that’s just kinda how it is. Jamie mentioned I am a professor at New Orleans Seminary, but I get to live in Oklahoma City. So I get beignets on the trips to New Orleans and TexMex Mexican food and all the barbecue. It’s not a bad combination. So it’s a delight to be with you this afternoon. We’re gonna be addressing something that’s really on all of our hearts. It’s just kind of where we live today. Whether you’re a pastor or a staff member, say, in the discipleship or education area, if you happen to be a department director of an adult Sunday school department, or perhaps you are a teacher or a leader in an adult Sunday school class or small group, or perhaps you call them a connect group or a life group, you know, we’re just gonna talk about that small group, Bible foundational, type of structure that many, if not most, Southern Baptist churches use. And so as we are together, over the past four or five months in this pandemic, I mean, that’s just kind of where we are, it has significantly impacted our churches in a variety of ways. For the first few weeks and months, pastors and staff worked with our lay leaders to mobilize and try to get the worship services up and running. But the topic of real concern over the last few weeks has been what are we gonna do about our discipleship programs? How are we going to regather our Sunday school classes? And over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed, depending on the context, some are regathering all of their classes, some are gathering a few, and many classes are continuing to be virtual only. And then occasionally I find a church that’s successfully using a hybrid model where they’re able to do both, the virtual experience and bring those into relationship with the in-person gathering of the adult Bible study group. The unfortunate part is that we’ve still got a lot of people that disengaged from small group Bible study. They just stopped. Maybe their groups meeting, maybe it’s not, but they personally have disengaged. And frankly, that’s a tragedy right now. But it’s an ongoing discipleship crisis that we face in our churches. And I want us to, this afternoon, just to spend some time as we conversationally talk about how we can keep our I’s on the future. Basically leading our adults to deal with and to embrace the new realities. Now when I talk about I’s, I’m not talking about those vision issues that there on my forehead. I’m talking about the alphabet letter of an I. This afternoon, I want to introduce you to reclaim some I words that will help you to strategize as you lead your adult life group, connection group, or your small group, whether it meets on Sunday morning or throughout the week. So you’re gonna be introduced to a model. I typically call it the strategic church development model, but for our purposes this afternoon, I’m really gonna focus on how it is a strategic leadership for adult ministry. Now you perhaps have already downloaded the handout that was provided when you registered for this course and this conference this afternoon. And I hope you have that. If not, you’ll want to gather it later. It may serve as, at a minimum, a reference. It may be a note sheet for you. You know, but either way, I think having that located close will help you as you deal with that. Now as we start this afternoon, I wanna mention some quotes. Some quotations that I have discovered and run into during this pandemic time. You know, everybody’s got a blog or at least a Facebook post and you encounter lots of interesting things. One of those quotes that I’ve run into goes something like this, is, you know, you can’t lead a crisis, you can only lead through a crisis. Eh, nah, okay, I get the point. I understand what’s being said there. Another one that I’ve seen is the idea that, well, never waste a good crisis. And when you’re thinking about the change process, a crisis does provide an opportunity for you to initiate and mobilize people to move forward towards some type of change. But I have to admit that the very favorite quotation that I’ve run into during this whole time is one not from a ministry leader. It’s from a businessman, Warren Buffett, the investor. And his comment that he has repeated over and over, it says something like this. When the tide goes out, you can see who’s been swimming naked. Now before you get too tense about that, we’re not gonna show any pictures. There’s no challenges of that way and all. But Buffett makes an interesting point. Sometimes we’ve been fortunate to have good luck. Maybe the blessings have been upon us, but we really hadn’t done the hard work to structure ourselves and our organization, or our church or our Sunday school class for success. But when that tide rolls out, then you’re kind of exposed and you’re left with the hard work. And that may well be where many of our churches, many of our Sunday schools, many of our small groups find themselves. They’d been swimming and the tide has rolled out. Now I’m gonna use a presentation, a visual presentation this afternoon, and that probably means I’m gonna be minimized up in the corner of the screen and that probably is okay with most of you. But we’re gonna go ahead and get that PowerPoint presentation going and then we’ll be able to interact with some content throughout this afternoon. So hopefully you are now receiving that PowerPoint as we begin to identify who I am and some of those crisis quotes and those types of things. I’m reminded, as we move to this pandemic though, of the situation that the Old Testament character of Nehemiah found himself in. And Nehemiah won. Let me recap that text. It basically says that Nehemiah’s brother and some others from Jerusalem came to see Nehemiah who was living in exile with other Jews that had been exiled and had not returned to Jerusalem. And he asked them in his own vernacular, “How are things back home, brothers?” And they said, “It’s not good. The gates are broken down, they’re consumed with fire. The walls are falling apart.” And the text says that Nehemiah sat down and he wept and he mourned for days. And in fact, most of chapter one is the prayer that for four months Nehemiah prayed. And then toward the end of chapter one, you read the phrase that Nehemiah was a cup bearer to the King. And you know the story. You know how he encountered that crisis. A crisis of physical dimensions, you know, the security issues that were there. But there was also a sense of despair emotionally among the people and the motivation had waned. And there was a spiritual reality that was involved in all of that. So the fact is that’s kind of where we find ourselves in our churches today. In a crisis, and we need to mobilize and to face that crisis. So I think it’s important that we look to the text where we see, just in an outline fashion, that Nehemiah was objective enough to see the need. He did not ignore the situation. He didn’t say, “Bless you, brothers, I’m gonna be praying for you.” He took a good, hard look at what the situation was. But he wasn’t just that harsh business approach. He wasn’t just an organizational leader. It says in the text that he sat down and he wept and he mourned for days. I think it behooves all of us to realize that we need to have a deep sense of compassion, as Nehemiah was compassionate enough to cry. And then it says in the text that he was humble enough to pray. As I indicated, he prayed for the month of Chislev, the month of Nisan in that four month period there as you look at the Jewish months. But then he was courageous enough to act. Didn’t just sit there and be paralyzed with fear. And that’s really what I see, my job this afternoon to speak to adult Sunday school leaders and to get us moving, to not be just paralyzed with a crisis, but we need to be courageous enough to act. The new realities have forced us to think about in what ways that we are like Nehemiah. The situation there in Jerusalem was atrocious. Challenging times. What about your situation and in your church, in your community and state, and even indeed in our nation and world, is what are some of the dynamics? I’ve already alluded to the fact that church attendance, in-person attendance, nationally is running between 30 and 45%. Sometimes a little bit up to 50 in some churches, but most in that 30 to 45%. Many churches have found that even classes that have been meeting virtually since the middle of March are beginning to show what, a new term for us, called Zoom fatigue. You know, there’s a situation. Your walls broken down and gates consumed with fire. That’s just kind of where we are. Not trying to be depressing. I’m not trying to be harsh or mean-spirited. I’m simply saying the reality is that we have lots of work to do. For some of us, we’ve inherited churches that were solidly built and were moving well. Some of us as adult Sunday school leaders have inherited established classes that had mature believers and were attending consistently. That’s all been disrupted. And now we find ourselves having to do the hard work of building things, one person at a time, one step at a time. It’s a lot of work, but that’s the new reality where we are. In fact, let me ask you. You probably already started making some steps toward the future. Have you thought about it in those terms? Have you realized? Well, I want to introduce you to the model because I want to keep your I’s on the future. We want to focus on the people side of things. The fact that we’re wanting to live out that great commission where it says that we are to make disciples. And as we focus on the future, there’s some I’s that are going to be absolutely critical for us. One of those I’s is the word identity. A second word that is going to be very important as we look at this strategic leadership model for adult ministry is the word intentionality. And then the last of the initial three words, three I words, will be the word intensity. So just to kind of put the whole model out, really what this looks like is that we have three pillars. Identity, intentionality, and intensity. And they all rest on a firm foundation. Well, a foundational focus on faith, the individual, and timing. And they’re all held together with some overarching principles. A principle of balance, involvement, and structured support. It’s important that we keep the order. As I have watched many pastors and staff try to mobilize the lay leaders of their adult Sunday school, much of what I’ve seen so far has been in the area of intensity. It’s an exhortation. It’s inspiration. It’s a “win one for the Gipper” types of speeches. You know, you’ve got to come back, we’ve got to work hard, and I don’t disagree with any of that. We do have a noble task. We have the need that’s there and we need to work hard. You know, all of that’s true. But I wanna suggest to you this afternoon in our conversation together, that if you start with intensity, it can be a rugged experience. Instead, I really want us to focus on intensity. Now let’s just think a little bit about the geography of our United States and let’s suppose that since I live in Oklahoma City, that I want to drive to Alabama. There are a variety of ways I could get there, but one way that won’t work is if I start going to the north or to the west. So I think I’m gonna get on Interstate 40 and start heading toward California. How long is it going to take me to get to Alabama? Well, I don’t know, but I got a feeling it’s a long time. Well, one of my friends could encourage me to intensify the experience. Says, “You just need to put the pedal to the metal. You gotta work at it harder.” Well, I could maybe unlawfully double my speed and race down Interstate 40 toward California. I’m still not getting to Alabama. The fact is I have got to deal with some issues before I deal with intensity. And that’s much the way it is in our adult Sunday school and small groups. We need to identify some areas, some identity and intentionality issues before we work on intensity. Well, what do I mean by all of that in the model? Well, when I begin to think about the idea of identity, as you can see, I’ve tried to expand that out to talk with this just a little bit. What I’m really talking about is in the area of answering the question of who are we? I need to know why I’m here, not why I’m here, but who I am. Am I amongst my class primarily composed of fellow believers. Is it comprised of people that are very mature in their faith? On the other hand, do I have many people that are relatively new and new to the faith, new to our church, new to the experience in our class? My wife, Liz, and I began a new adult Sunday school class last September. We were given the old paper roll type of experience of people that the church knew something about, but they weren’t involved in any adult Bible study. Some of them played in the orchestra in a worship service, but they were not involved in an adult Sunday school class at all. Some of them were people that others had heard of, but they really didn’t have a relationship with, and they sporadically came to worship service. Well, as we began to talk with them and to pray about starting the class and doing the work, amazing things happen. People begin to come and they begin to get involved and they begin to be more consistent in a small group than they had ever planned to be, let alone had actually been. Now when we suddenly had to go virtual at the end of March, that was a real jolt to the idea of starting a new class and we were concerned. But we discovered that the need to identify with each other became a critical issue. And even today with Zoom fatigue, we are averaging right at 100% of our members in attendance each week in our virtual Sunday school Bible study. At time, we actually had more people because we had some spouses that were teaching in preschool and children, and they would join us. And we’ve had missionaries around the world that had come out of the church that have decided to be a part of a class. So identity, who are we as a class? And that’s a question I’m encouraging you to ask about your class to really understand the who. We’re talking about demographics, understanding number of men, number of women, older believers, younger believers, saved, unsaved. But, you know, there’s another question. Not only the “Who are we?” It’s the “Whose are we?” Is it our class? A little healthy sense of ownership is not bad. But ultimately we have to recognize that our Bible study group, just as our church, is really, to put it in human terms, owned by Christ Himself. And that tremendously affects the rest of our identity issues. Because as we think about identity, we’re also having to think about what do we value and what do we believe. I had to make a distinction between beliefs, when those are doctrinal or biblical beliefs. I’m trusting that you are very, you know, strong fidelity to a scripture and biblical beliefs. So the fact that you believe in the virgin birth and the Holy Spirit, and, yes, in the inspiration of God’s Word, and that becomes a critical issue identity in your class. But there’s also the aspect of value. Do you as a group value the community that you have together? Do you value those relationships? Do you value having a spirit of outreach? Do you value having strong, detailed Bible study? You know, what is that personality of your class? It all kind of feeds into the idea of our class and its identity when we begin to think, what do we perceive our mission to be? Now it wouldn’t be uncommon for your church to have identified some task for your adult Sunday school group, and I applaud that. But it’s not just a matter of your church identifying a mission for you. It’s also what we as a class have embraced as our mission. Far too many classes have boiled down their mission to two simple statements. One of those is the teacher feels that they are to present a solid Bible lesson each week. And I applaud the start, it’s just not all that we need to be doing. And then there are members that have embraced the task of this “I’m going to let you teach me. I will passively receive your biblical teaching.” Well, that’s a start on all of that. It’s certainly not a complete robust mission for what the class needs to be. So I think you begin to understand why I’m saying we don’t need to intensify until we have addressed the identity issues. We need to know what our mission is, what our task is, so to speak. And then I hope you have a vision for your class. What would you like to see your class in six months or a year? You say, “Well, things have kind of gotten disrupted.” Yeah, I understand. That’s why we’re having this new reality speech. But the question I still have to raise is, where do you see your class in six months? What’s it going to look like? Because that vision is going to help propel you into this future as we try to deal with the new reality. Now to say all of those things that I’ve said another way, really what we’re talking about are beliefs and values. And you might wanna look at your traditions or your calendar, the history. Look at the fellowships you’ve had over the last year in your adult small group. Think about what you perceived your mission and vision to be. And now let’s go ahead and answer the demographic questions. In short, really what I’m saying, it would be like you take one of those old point and shoot cameras and you would take a lot of ministry snapshots. Sometimes we get so caught up in the action of video that we miss the value, the value of, say, an old black and white snapshot. So I’m asking you to stop long enough and take some ministry snapshots. I’ll try to have an S word with each of the I words. So identity, you know, one of the tools is to use the idea of ministry snapshots. Now when I said all that, let’s just pause. I know that you’re sitting there in your living room or perhaps around a kitchen table and you’re thinking about all this and you may wanna even pause the video if you’re watching a recording of this. But pause and reflect. What are some of the things that, you know, questions that come up? Maybe a question that you wanna ask even this afternoon, is one that you could type into the chat feature or the question and answer period, and we’ll try to get into some of those questions. BUt some of the little pause and reflect questions that I’ve identified for us. A review of the model, and what makes sense, what doesn’t make sense? What questions do you have about the strategic model that I’m presenting this afternoon? What about the identity of your group? What do you know? What about its traditions, its beliefs, its values? All of those things. Now I may ask a kind of a probing question that become more pronounced as we go through our time together. And that is, do you already know some things that need to be changed? Probably. You probably know there’s some things that we’ve been doing or maybe we’re not doing during these last few months, some things that need to be changed. Let me encourage you just to pause, mentally pause, and to reflect upon those questions. Well, we’ve gotta move on. So let’s move on to the idea of intentionality. And let me try to, just in a few moments, capture the reality of what I’m saying in this aspect of intentionality. And really simply, what I am saying is how do you plan to live out what you want to accomplish? That’s it. It’s good to do the analysis work of the intentionality, of the identity. And it’s gonna be wonderful to try to intensify and mobilize people to do that. But if you don’t have a good plan, it’s gonna be a challenge. That’s simply what this whole idea of intentionality means. Now as you think about that, obviously you need to go back and look at your mission and vision. If you don’t have any direction, then strategic leadership’s not gonna help you, because strategic leadership really involves setting direction, trying to provide alignment of all your actions and activities, and then mobilizing people and resources to accomplish that. So intentionality is going to be fundamentally rooted in your mission and your vision. You may wanna do some analysis, the old gap analysis. What’s the gap between where you are now and where you’d like to be? Such a simple approach to gap analysis. You need to think through your implementation plans and the strategies and action steps that you’re gonna wanna deal with. Quite honestly, it really boils down to the word systems. In identity, we had snapshots. Well, in intentionality, we have the word systems. And what I mean by systems in adult Sunday school class is we need to be sure we know what we’re doing in the area of outreach, evangelism, assimilation. That might be one system, so to speak. A series of actions and plans and people that mobilize us in that area. Another system would be, how do we enlist and train and develop people and the equipping for type of ministry with our mentees and apprentices and things of that nature. We’ve gotta have a curriculum system. You say, “Well, you’re already trying to peddle any topic.” No, I’m not peddling a particular curriculum. I’m saying you have a plan of study whether you recognize it or not. The question is, do you have a good plan of study that enables you to move systematically with everyone in helping them to grow and then mature in their faith. A curriculum plan. What about your organization and maybe plans for new classes? Space and equipment, that becomes a critical issue now. If you are going to have a hybrid class where you need to purchase equipment that allows your class to be online at the same time you’re meeting in person, that’s gonna necessitate some issues there. It may necessitate a relocation of your in-person class. So furnishings, equipment, space, those are systems that need to be dealt with. Do you have a system for ministry, for caring, for fellowship? You know, with this new class that I said my wife and I started, when you’re essentially five months in, when everything gets interrupted, we had not really been able to put in place all of our care groups and things that we normally would want to and had plans to do. And so that’s been a challenge. So we were so excited this weekend when one of the members called and said, “Could I?” And he began to describe an activity of ministry to another member of the class. We all need to have systems for those. Service, ministry involvement, leading the class to be on mission. And, you know, there are other systems and there’s support systems, like the records and tools to help you and all. So you may not have ever thought about your intentionality needing to have systems. That’s an organizational dynamic approach, I realize, but it’s one that really has a lot of value. Let me show you how it does have value. Most of us wanna move our class from A to B. And it’s interesting how we always wanna go up a little bit. You know, more people in attendance, more people involved in this, or that other A to B. Fact is that there really have been some systems that have been supporting that. Let’s just think about maybe attendance in Bible study, that you’ve had preparation of your teacher, you’ve had a curriculum approach, you’ve had the space to meet within, and you’ve had maybe contacting people and those supports have kept you at a particular level. At the same time, I mean, not kid you, you’ve had some downward forces. Satan is never happy when people are being mobilized for Bible study and to be involved, to live out their faith. You may have had some constraints related to the finances of purchasing certain things, or maybe it was the size of a room that you had, or maybe it was a conflict area, but those things of lifting up and forcing you down are systems that impede or proceed the things that are involved. Most of us realize that we just like to do a little bit better, and so we try to get more people in attendance. I wanna suggest to you that if we don’t increase our systems, our prayer support, our people, number of people involved, our preparations, that our best efforts can come crashing down if we’re not careful. You say, “Well, that’s kind of depressing when we think about our new reality and wanting to focus our I on the future.” Well, the key is increasing the supports. We need to increase our Bible study. We need to increase the number of people involved. We need those. Sometimes if you’re thinking more church-wide, the number of classes that we have, it’s that infrastructure. And when I think about infrastructure, what I’m really thinking about is the systems, okay? So with regard to intentionality, really the whole summary of reflecting upon that fits down into the area of, does your class have a mission statement, or at least a purpose statement, or a list of essential tasks? And what’s your vision? And what are the systems that you have in place? And what, the last question, what restructuring of your group needs to be done in order to thrive in this new reality? Some serious questions. Well, let me move us on a little bit to the intensity. It’s where a lot of people wanted to start. You know, what I’m really saying when I think about intensity is we deal with our leaders and our members in a sense of calling and character and competence and commitment. I’m reminded of David in the Bible there in Psalms. Let’s see, I’m looking at my notes here. Psalm 78, right at the end of the chapter, when it says that God took David from the sheepfolds and placed him as the leader of all Israel. And it says that David shepherded the people with integrity of heart and skillfulness of hands. You know, that passage really helps me to understand the intensity aspect of quality leadership. There’s a sense of God’s calling in all of us. And I don’t need to be manipulating other people. Let’s let God’s calling work in their lives. And at some point they’re gonna be led to where they have to make a commitment. And that commitment will be to carry through in the tasks that they’ve got to do. Ultimately though, we’re always walking that line with competence, the skillful performance of the responsibilities. But it’s also wrapped around the character issue. Skillfulness of hands and integrity of heart. All of that’s involved in the intensity issue. Now you may need in your class to do some emphasis on excellence, maybe making some evaluations, some focusing on achieving some results as you think about moving forward into this new reality, and that means we build teamwork. And there’s the whole idea of recognition, appreciation, celebration. You know, we could spend a lot of time talking on each of those areas and how they impact the leadership of our adult Sunday school groups in our church. Occasionally we’ve gotta deal with some problem solving. My guess is, in the new reality over the next few months, we’re going to have some conflicts that we have to work through. I’m not trying to be negative. I’m trying to be very real. But ultimately, we need to recognize that this aspect of God’s work in our work, the aspect of individual effort, as well as teamship, ought to provide some synergy. And that’s the S word that’s associated with the I word of intensity. So we had ministry snapshots, we had the systems, and now we have this idea of synergy. Now that may suggest some actions that you’re wanting to take. Now and that’s really the essence of this strategic leadership model as we think about our adult ministry. But I think you probably have already assumed that I have more I words to go. And I do, because I want you to recognize that there’s some other I words that are gonna be very helpful as you make intentional actions toward moving your adult Sunday school class or small group forward to the future. One of those is the word initiate. Another is the word innovate. And a third word is the word invigorate. You see, I’m really categorizing using those three I words, the different plans, strategies, and action steps that you’re gonna want to lead your adult class to take over the next few months. There are gonna be some things that you haven’t been doing. You weren’t doing them before the pandemic. Maybe you knew you should, but you weren’t doing it. So we need to initiate some of those actions. Perhaps it’s really more of innovating. We can’t do it the same way that we’ve done it before. Maybe you were using a print curriculum piece, and now you’ve found that a digital curriculum piece is more helpful. You know, that’s really not an initiating action. It’s not starting to use a member piece for your curriculum, it’s more of an innovation. And I think you’ll find some other areas that you want to innovate. And then, most all of us are gonna find some things that we just need do better, with excellence, with intensity. We need to invigorate some things. I mean, expand those just for a moment as we quickly move to the close of our time. It’s that, what I’m really saying is what do you need to initiate to move your group toward its mission and vision? I think you understand now why I started with the idea of identity, knowing who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing. Knowing whose you are, that’s gonna drive this question of what needs to be initiated. Now I hope that there on your note sheet, maybe even out to the side, that you’re going to write down an idea. Or you’re going to think about how you can implement this action. And certainly there’s always the issue of who can you involve in order to accomplish those initiations or that initiating type of action. Well, as you would expect, I want to ask the same thing about innovate. You know, how do you need to innovate in your group? What a terrible thing. Remember we said never waste a good crisis? What a terrible thing. If you would have gone through the challenges and maybe difficulties and trauma of the past few months and not found some innovation that allows you to be more effective as you intentionally move forward. I hope you write down an idea and think about how you could live that out. And then certainly in that third area of invigorate, the question is, how can you invigorate the group? How can you give it more life? I didn’t say more hype. I didn’t say more activity. But how can you make it have more life, vitality, vitality of what it’s supposed to be. And that really means then, of course, that we write down an idea and we think about how we could implement it, and we think about who else we need to get to help us as we do those types of things. So really we’ve already encountered six I words. We’ve encountered identity, intentionality, and intensity. And then we’ve structured ourselves for the future with some action types of words, of initiate, of innovate, and invigorate. But as we finish this, I guess you noticed on the handout, there really are a couple of other I words. One of those I words you find as you you look at those principles that were all across the top. So the principle of balance, the principle of involvement, and principle of structured support. And I wish we could talk about balanced and structured support. Oh, we’ve talked about structured support a little bit. But there’s this idea of involvement. Most of us have our pet ways that we try to implement things. We want to start here, we want to implement. Pastors seem to have a tendency to want to inspire people. I think they just tell them thus saith the Lord, it all happens. Or if we paint a vivid word picture of a need, or maybe we even say “just do it for me.” Well, those are great inspirational activities. And I’d love to tell you that they work really perfectly. Fact is, they only partially work. Then I’ve seen some staff members that try to use another word. The word information. If I could just inform people enough, make enough announcements, promote things enough, or maybe if I could just solve all the problems, then everybody would just move to full implementation. And once again, I wish I could tell you that was completely true. Just doesn’t do it. You gotta do those things, but it’s not everything. And then I see some laypeople that say, “I’ve watched our pastor and staff struggle, and I’m just going to do it with individual industry. I’ll just gut it out myself.” Well, I appreciate the effort and I appreciate the example. Unfortunately, discouragement and disillusionment sometimes takes its toll as well. You say, “I can’t believe you’re being so discouraging.” Well, I really hope I’m not being discouraging at all, but I want to mention that inspiration, information, and individual industry all work better when they’re moved through the principle of involvement. Let’s let others share the stories that inspire others. Let’s let others mobilize the people and advertise and solve the problems. Let’s let others join us as we use them as apprentices. Involvement becomes a critical aspect as we move forward into a new reality. Well, there’s one additional word, and that is the one I word anyway, and that is the foundation that we’ve talked about. Some areas of foundational focus on faith, foundational focus on timing. And all of those are important as we recognize that it’s not just having a good organization, we’re moving people toward faith in Christ. We’re helping them to mature their faith. And yes, there is an aspect in which we have to realize that we have an Abrahamic faith. We don’t know where we’re going in the new realities to some extent. We’re just saying, “God lead us and we’re ready to go.” And there is a sense of timing, of the urgency that’s here. There is this sense of what I call an Esther sort of time. For such a time as this, you’ve been called to lead. And there is an almost kind of a sons of Issachar type of time where the Bible says that those sons of Issachars were discerning the times. And we need to be wise as we interact with all of the dynamics that are in play in our communities and our churches. But to some extent, it really does boil down to the individual, your individual class, what you want to do as you focus on the uniqueness of moving it forward and facing the new realities. And there is also a sense in which there’s a real uniqueness of a focus on the individual. And that individual’s me and that individual’s you. Because, let’s face it, the difference that we make is going to be in what we are able to do. I think about Nehemiah. We started with Nehemiah. We come back to Nehemiah. And fact is, that there were some individual actions. He looked at the situation. We’ve got to look at the individual situations in our classes. Said that Nehemiah was compassionate enough to cry. And I hope you are so moved by the spiritual condition of the members of your class, that you want to see them make steps towards spiritual maturity. Says that Nehemiah was humble enough to pray. This task, not only is it bigger than what we can do, it’s a God task. That’s where we are. But it does come down to that last point what Nehemiah illustrated for us, that he was courageous enough to act. And this model’s a great academic tool and we can write a wonderful textbook on organizational design using that. But ultimately, the spiritual condition of the individuals in your class and the movement of God’s work in your church and through your community is going to boil down to being courageous enough to act. I hope you focus your I’s. I of identity, intentionality, intensity, of initiate, of innovate, and of whatever that last… Invigorate, there it was. And then it really does help us when we think about how we can involve others and what we individually need to do. Let’s pray together. Dear Father, we thank You that You’ve allowed us to lead in adult ministry, whether we be a pastor or a staff member or an adult teacher or a group of adult division directors, or maybe a class care group leader. But You’ve called us, and You’ve called us to make a commitment to lead in that area. And it calls forth us to bring our very best skills of our competence and the character of our heart. Lord, today, we commit these to You as we focus our I’s and move the adults of our groups to embrace the new reality. In Your name, we pray, Amen.
– Jamie Baldwin, greet us here.
– Alright, thank you so much for that. We greatly appreciate it. Great words of information, inspiration, and encouragement there, and challenge. I gotta get off the I’s and go to the challenge.
– To the C’s.
– Wow, I didn’t know there are that many I words. I’m thinking, wow, I have to put all those in.
– Oh, that’s exactly right. Well, thank you for that. And thank you, panelists, for being with us today. Let me remind those of you that are watching this that this may be your first time on today. Nancy and Neil, we thank you for being with us today. We have Miss Liz Sherrer sitting out there beside Joe. She shared with us yesterday. And then we have Alan Raughton from the Nashville area, Mount Juliet area, and he was with us Thursday night, I believe it was. And then John Thomas down in the Dothan area at the SABA Association as a church associational mission strategist. So they’re our panelists this afternoon. We already have one question that’s on the board here. I’m going to start with Joe since it came up while you were talking. I’m assuming that that Nancy wants to ask this question to you. So we’re gonna start with you, and any of the panelists, if y’all would like to spring off of that, then feel free to respond. But let’s see if I can read the question here to you, oh. Well, uh-oh, let me go back here. Alright, the question is this. So they came in a little late. This is from Nancy. Will you discuss some of the ways adult groups and leaders can help provide classes and the church body to celebrate the rites and the seasons of the church, from teaching communion and baptism, to celebrating those rites, and things like what does a COVID Christmas look like for the church? Now we could probably spend the rest of the afternoon on that one. I don’t know if you got all that question, Joe, but we’ll start with you. And any other panelists, if y’all want to jump in, jump in afterwards, if you want to.
– Well, Jamie, thank you. And, Nancy, thank you for that question. It’s a complex question and I don’t know that I can answer it in a satisfying way for all the different contexts. One of the things that I’m discovering in the midst of this pandemic is that different areas of our country, even in different areas of our state, are the impact varies a great deal. And some have the opportunity to safely regather and do many in-person activities. And that certainly makes the question much easier to answer if you’re in one of those situations. On the other hand, some people, some churches have made a decision that they’re not even going to regather in person until sometime next year. Well, that introduces a whole new dynamic when you think about things like Christmas or even communion and baptism, you know, and those types of things. So and that reason it’s a somewhat complex question. It’s also a little bit challenging question in given the polity in the history of some churches. Some churches are very comfortable with making available a communion kit. I’m sure there’s a nicer word to say that. But where there was a little small cup of grape juice and a wafer placed in some type of like maybe plastic baggy or something, and you can drive by the church and pick that up. And then as a part of an online service, you can enjoy and participate in communion there in your own home. And I’ve seen churches already that have done that during this crisis time in our lives. Other churches, that’s really uncomfortable. Their polity and traditions would make them just say, “I don’t think so. I don’t feel really comfortable with that.” A baptism obviously gets to be somewhat of a challenge. I’ve seen a couple of things that churches have done. One of those is a church that is partially regathered. It’s my old church, where I was when I lived in New Orleans area, at First Baptist Church, Covington. They actually have an outdoor baptistry. And they had a baptismal service about three weeks ago in which they were able to socially distance and actually baptize the people that were participating and, you know, all of that. And it worked out really well for them. And I heard of another church, that they had the baptism in the baptistry of the church and the pastor was involved in that. And it worked out fine for the person being baptized and for the pastor. And then they just, you know, broadcast that with their online service. So some modifications of that nature related to baptism and Word supper, you know, those types of things. Your question extended though, also, into things like Christmas. Well, I’m gonna look back on Easter because we were right in the thick of the things when Easter came along and it really looked differently. You know, we had the services. But if your church is involved in a lot of pageantry and musicals and things like that, it looked a whole lot different this year. And I anticipate that’s gonna be one of the challenges that we face as we come toward toward Christmas. And, you know, I’m not a worship leader and I don’t regularly preach Sunday by Sunday. So I’m thrilled that I’m gonna be able to say to pastors and hymn heisters, that, “Bless you, my children, have fun as you try to deal with all those.” I think the question for me, as a discipleship leader in a church and a person who guides an adult Sunday school class, is what are we able to do to help people in that type of regard? And so how do you celebrate Christmas? Well, the way that adult Sunday school class typically celebrates is one of several ways. One, they focus on the Word. We always tell the Christmas story. What a great opportunity that we still have available, whether we are meeting virtually, or whether we’re meeting in person, or it’s a hybrid. So all those things kind of come into play. Another way that we tend to celebrate is we provide encouragement for our families to participate. Whether they’re gathering multi-generational or whether they’re trying to be a Christian parent to a group of preschoolers, we can still do much of that. In fact, this may be the opportunity where we have to dig a little bit deeper and provide some print resources to our families in ways that we might’ve had the Christmas pageant at church. We now have to provide a resource for a Christmas pageant at home. Or maybe a virtual experience. You know, I’ve seen virtual choirs. What happens if we did a virtual Christmas pageant with our children on Zoom? Even if it was just the children of our class, our Zoom class, you know? So, you know, those types of things come in mind. Another thing that our adult Sunday school class typically does at Christmas is they do some type of mission or ministry activity. They take food someplace, they do a benevolence action, or maybe they carol. Well, you know, I’ve seen lots of groups already going out and singing for older adults in the community. Wear the mask, you know, take their own cars, pulled up, stand apart and sing. Well, you know, I could envision, even without major change in the COVID situation, that maybe we could do something similar that would provide kind of a mission ministry type of action. Now, Nancy, I’m sure that’s not all of the possibilities that I could dream up if I had a little more time, but that’s off the cuff, what comes up to mind. I’d be really interested in seeing what, since I’ve been talking now for about three or four minutes, I surely have given our other panelists like Alan and Liz and John, and, Jamie, you’re the creative one, and Daniel, maybe you all wanna jump in as well and help to answer that question.
– Alright, guys, ladies. Anybody?
– Well, I think Joe hit on a bunch of them. I think the key is to do something. It’s gonna be different, for sure. So start planning now, the what ifs, and see what you can get your church to be challenged to do. And I think you’re right. Those mission type carolings where you just go door to door, everybody can be in their own car. Food distribution, those kinds of things that you can get involved in local ministries that are going on. But somehow we’ve gotta keep our classes, our churches focused on ministry and missions and doing as much as we can safely. And I realize that the more senior adult classes are at higher risk and it’s less, maybe, that they can do, but they can certainly even do some things, especially praying for and writing note cards. Those are becoming a really big deal, the personal notes that are starting to go out, of thank you’s, appreciation, those type deals. So there are ways to get your class involved. Just get out of the box a little bit. You don’t have to get crazy, but there’s things that you can do safely that would challenge your class and allow them to get out and do some stuff.
– Yeah, my comment would be building on both Joe’s and John’s comments. It’s that this, everybody months ago was talking about “I’ll be glad when things get back to normal.”
– I don’t think the way that things were February and beyond, you know, heading back toward 2019, I don’t think we’re gonna be like that for a long, long time. So therefore, if the church continues with our mission because, regardless of COVID-19, COVID-19 did not catch God off guard, and so the mission of your church remains the same. God doesn’t give everybody, you know, a free pass. Well, we have COVID-19 so all the churches in America, around the world, you know, they don’t have to do anything related to great commission. They don’t have to do anything about making disciples. No, what that means is we have to simply go out there and create ways to accomplish the mission that God has called our church to do. And so here’s the neat thing. There is no really right or wrong way to do it as long as you’re doing something. There’s not precedent. You can’t go, “Well, I know bigger, better Baptist church does it this way.” Well, you know what? Bigger, better Baptist church hasn’t done it yet. So just get involved. Just think, how can we go about connecting people? How can we go about celebrating Christmas? How can we go about this fall? I just saw one church in the Nashville area having a large children’s activity. Apparently one of the members of the church has a very large lot and they had movie night. They had set up a screen and the church had purchased a license and they were showing the Scooby-Doo movie, or whatever it’s called. It’s one that just recently came out. And there was photographs that I saw where families were sitting around in family gatherings. They were spaced out, but there was still some sharing. But it was used not only as a children’s ministry activity for the church, but as an outreach for that community as well. And so, you know, the thing is, there’s lots and lots of ways of doing ministry in adult classes. It’s no longer… You can’t wait until we reach a point where everybody can come back into the church. Some will be able to meet into our classes. But as we’ve discussed in other forums, we’ve gotta start a lot more new Bible study groups because our existing groups and the numbers that we had, we’re not gonna be able to meet with those numbers for a long time so we’ve gotta start new Bible study groups. Well, there’s gonna be some people who still don’t feel comfortable so Zoom is not going to go away. So it’s not an either/or, it becomes where my Bible study group is not only meeting live, socially distance, but I’m also got other members of my group that have left and formed a different class and they’re socially distance. But meanwhile, I’ve got my iPad or my phone or my laptop in the classroom with me and I’m also conducting the class via Zoom. So it’s not an either/or, it becomes live and Zoom. So anyway, it’s a great question, but we’ve gotta just think creatively and try things. If you try things, if it works, great. If it doesn’t work, try something else. But the main thing is to recognize our ministry continues. Our fall festivals are coming up, that churches normally have fall festival things. How are we gonna do those? Come up with some way and do something. And then it’s followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas. So these are exciting days as we think of ways that we can communicate the gospel message, involve people, make disciples, like we never have before.
– Thanks, Alan. Agree 100%. Alright, Miss Liz, you have any additional comment?
– Well, you know, I think I’ve heard so many great words about involvement, about creativity, because I think Nancy really wanted to know how do we just keep being the church when we’re not gathered? And so, how do we keep carrying out that mission and that ministry that is so ongoing? And, you know, one thing that I think that we do is a key, is involvement. It’s not just the leaders’ involvement. But the members of our adult classes need to feel wanted. They needed to feel like we care about them. They need to see that they are empowered to do other things, to reach out. So as we look at the opportunity to share responsibility, I think right now… One thing I saw, particularly back in February or March, is that it was just like, oh, we have to do something, so we grab hold. And, like, it started out with the staff, at least in our church, that the pastor and staff were doing everything. And then gradually, I think we’re seeing an expanding of that. Well, you know, I think we need to be sure we’re expanding that within our adult groups, that we are including them the opportunity, because our goal during this whole period of however long it lasts is that people are continuing to grow in Christ. Not that we put a “Okay, stop. We’ve got a big stop sign here. We’ve got a virus so we can’t move on. We can’t progress,” is that we have to involve people. And I loved one thing I think John said earlier, is we have to bathe it in prayer, that we have to be sure that as we’re involving, we’re calling on others to pray for people. And using the media that we do have. Nobody really mentioned social media, didn’t mention the tech, didn’t mention what we’re doing right here, but all those are valid ways of reaching out to people and making a connection.
– Very good. Thank you, Liz. Appreciate that. Alright, folks, let me once again encourage you. If you’ve got questions, put them in the Q&A box and we’ll try to get to them. I’ll remind you that, let’s see, on Tuesday night when John was with us, John dealt with the technical issues of trying to teach Sunday school in the days when we’re trying the different technology and how to use technology in Sunday school. So if you’ve got a question about technology and wanna address that to John, feel free to do so. And of course, Alan was with us Thursday talking about resetting the adult class, talking your role as the adult leader. And so if you have questions about, hey, my role as an adult Sunday school leader, you can address those to John. And then yesterday, Miss. Liz, you nailed us in the area of communication. A wonderful, wonderful lesson there on communication lessons from the life of Christ, so if you’ve got a question to Miss Liz about communication and the worlds of the best way to communicate, staying in communication with our class. And then today, Mr. Joe’s dealt with the I’s. So if you got questions, please put them in the Q&A box and we’ll try to answer them as best we can there, okay? Any other question that you might have for us here. Nancy, have you-
– I’ve got one I kind of wanna aim at Alan. With the duration of this to date, you’ve mentioned the term Zoom fatigue. I think fatigue in general, people are just tired of this, the way it is. How do you think that it… And I know this is purely hypothetical ’cause we don’t know, but what impact do you think it’s gonna have on adult Sunday school and churches if this thing drags out for another year or so, even six months, and trying to regather to keep people engaged during this time? Because that’s the key, I think, is trying to keep them engaged. So I’d like to hear from Alan, and Joe too, for that matter, what your thoughts are on that as we try to help folks navigate these waters ahead.
– Yeah, John, it’s gonna become more and more important that we stay in contact with the members of our Bible study group. We, and when I say we, I’m referring to myself ’cause I’m an adult Sunday school teacher in my church so I’ve got to be more intentional of keeping up not just with the regular attenders, because up until my church started having worship, when we did worship online, man, I was having high attendance every week. I’m talking about, you know, having six, eight, 10 people more than a normal attendance. It’s gone down a little bit because now our group is still meeting online on Sunday mornings, but there’s also several worship services people can choose from and so we’ve gone down to more of a normal attendance. But I can’t just keep up with those people. I’ve got to be more intentional about not allowing people to fall through the cracks and become chronic absentees. I have several members of my group that were faithful in attendance, but it’s like, for whatever reason, they don’t feel comfortable with Zoom and so they just haven’t participated. I’ve tried to connect them through phone. Well, I have to connect otherwise with them. And so I’m sending out kind of a summary of the lesson with some discussion questions, with a digital copy of the Bible study material, with a personal study guide. So the longer this thing goes, the more intentional we have to be, otherwise whenever we do start gathering again, we’re gonna have to rebuild our groups. Now, second thing is we’ve gotta start new Bible study groups ’cause if you get into the classroom… I’ve not been able to be back into my classroom ’cause the church, other than the worship center, is still pretty much shut down. But if I were to go in and space out the chairs, I can no longer get 18 to 20 people in my classroom. Even in a big circle, which is how we have them. Now all of a sudden with the spacing, you know, my class needs to become two or three classes. So that’s where I’ve got to accelerate my apprentices and say, “Okay, Mike, okay, David, it’s time for you now to launch out and talk to our ed guy at our church. Andy, you gotta find a classroom for these guys because they need to take responsibility for some of these and start meeting with them.” So we’re not ever gonna get back for a long time to that phase where, you know, you can have a room full of 20 something people. So that means we’ve gotta start new Bible study groups. We as teachers need to have those apprentices and get them to take ownership and reach out to others. I believe, in my group, that I’m still going to need to do Zoom because in my age group of empty nesters, some of them have their parents living in the home and they say, “I just don’t feel comfortable coming because of my parents, one of my parents living with us.” So I said, “Would you be okay and would you participate if we continued with Zoom?” And this particular lady said, “Yes, I’d be very comfortable.” She’s been faithful on that. So, John, it’s a new day. I know, Joe, likewise in the church, there is no book that we can read. There is no “Let me call up my buddy who has experience in this.” We’re all learning as we go. The church that I’m in communication with about going on staff in a few weeks, they have a large number of senior adult classes. And so I’m already anticipating what I’m going to need to do there. Some of those senior adult classes have not been meeting because there’s a lag in technology. And so we’ve just gotta focus. We have the mission. We’ve gotta reconnect with people. We’re gonna have to be more intentional with how we move forward with this. And we’re gonna have to be more intentional of starting new Bible study groups. And that’s a good thing because each Bible study group will continue to grow. So in a way, COVID is helping us do what Christian educators and adult teachers should have been doing all along, which is starting new Bible study groups.
– Good point.
– John, let me jump in there. Alan, thank you for those comments. John, part of what I heard your question say was this fatigue fashion. I happened to live in the New Orleans area during the Katrina years. That was an event. It was quite an event. And we talked about how widespread it was and how the entire Gulf Coast was consumed there in the impact. And now that kind of pales in comparison when we think about the COVID situation. But I did learn some things out of that. One of those was you would hear lots of stories. One of those is “This is gonna happen, it’s gonna be doom and gloom, it’s gonna be awful, it’ll be terrible.” And I learned to say, “Wow, that would be bad. Let’s just wait a couple, three days and see what happens.” You know, take a little bit of a breath and that. Then the other side, sometimes people would say, “This is gonna happen, it’s gonna be magic.” You know, one, two, three, and it’s gonna be perfect. And I also learned to say, “Oh, let’s just see how it goes,” and not live the emotional roller coaster. Because I think sometimes we’re seeing emotional roller coasters among our people as all this goes on. There was another thing that out of Katrina that I learned, and that was that it’s gonna take longer than you ever thought. Everybody said, “Well, you know, we’ll be back in a year. We’ll rebuild.” And then it was, “We’ll be back in five years.” The truth was 10 years was really a more realistic assessment on what it took to rebuild the infrastructure. And some places, it’s not even back now. There is no return to normal. And I think there’s a truth that’s there, that we’re in for the long haul. Wilman Seeney, the church innovations consultant guy, has been using the motif of “At first we thought it was a blizzard, and then we realized we were in for a long, hard winter.” And I think the issue is now it’s beginning to dawn on us that we may be into an ice age. Well, the way you respond to a crisis does vary, whether it’s a blizzard, a long winter, or an ice age. And for that reason, there’s an extent that we need to think about the long haul. As I looked at Katrina, I saw that we lost about half our pastors in the year. They just couldn’t emotionally handle it. Financially, some of them got frozen out. Sometimes it was a member of a family. And for the sake of the whole family, they just had to give up. But we lost half our pastors. Now we could talk about that as we think about the impact on our pastors and staff that COVID’s having. But the truth is, it’s also true, related to our adult Sunday school leaders and our small group leaders, is they are emotionally fatigued. They worked hard, they jumped in, they tried, but they’re just fatigued. And we’re in it for the long haul now. This idea that we’re gonna suddenly turn it around, it’s all gonna be just like, we’ve already debunked that. And so we’ve got to think of a strategy that’s going to be for the long haul. I’m a little harsh on our pastors and church staff right now, and maybe I shouldn’t be, but the fact is we’ve got to invest in our laypeople. There were statements made by most churches early on where we’re contacting all the members of our church. And there are some members that are still waiting for their first call, okay? You say, “Well, okay, that hurts.” We have leaders in our churches that feel like they’ve been put on the shelf because they don’t feel like they can regather, and out of sight, out of mind. So I just wanna encourage us as leaders in our churches to think about how critical it is that we give a message to our adult leaders that we hear you. You know, we value you. You’re important. We thank you. We appreciate you. We understand you. We understand what it’s taken for you to learn how to do Zoom. We understand and appreciate what it means for you to fight the technology every week and stare into a camera when you’ve been used to being in a classroom that provides some care and nurture back to you as a leader as well. But we also need to be communicating to our adult small group leaders that you’re a part of the mission, that we’re in this together. It goes back to that involvement word that, you know, we’re talking about. You know, there’s a book written really primarily to pastors and staff called “The Emotionally Healthy Pastor.” It’s written by a guy by the name of Peter Scazzero. And he’s a psychologist, counselor background and all, but he deals from a biblical sense what it means to sustain your soul for the long time. And I think that’s an issue that our teachers, we’ve gotta deal with. Helping sustain their souls for the long time. You know, appreciation’s a part of that, renewal’s a part of that. I remember a couple of years ago, I was serving in a church where we had a pastor that died. And he was dying and had been over about a three or four year period. And our adult Sunday school leaders were just struggling with that. And we began to think about a training time and, you know, mobilization, a go, fight, win, kickoff the spring type thing. And at that point I said, “No. Right now we just need a time that says we love you, we appreciate you, and we’re gonna have a worship time together.” And we brought in some guest worship leaders and just had a time of praise for the evening because the need of those leaders was not more training. It was not more load of a task. It was also just a sense of we love you, we hear, we appreciate you, we care for you, and let’s do this together. So, yeah, I think it’s a big issue, John.
– Well, I think on a real practical note too as we think about our leaders, we think about, I loved what Allen said, we all jumped in to try Zoom because we didn’t really know how to do Zoom. So all of a sudden we had to become Zoom active leaders in a Zoom conference. And, you know, the first Sunday, it was like, I am teaching an adult class on Zoom. I was, like, shaking in my boots. How in the world am I supposed to do this? Because my favorite way to do that is to interact back and forth with people. And all of a sudden I’m staring at a screen and we’re gonna delve into God’s Word. I think now we’re to the point, we’ve been at it long enough, and like Allen says, some of our classes are not going to be returning into the building for quite some time, and so Zoom’s a real realistic future. But, you know, I know as a teacher, I’ve just had to jump in and figure out. And thank goodness I have another expert sitting right here beside me. But, you know, it took me a while to figure out how to use the whiteboard on Zoom. It took me a while to figure out how to use PowerPoint on Zoom. It took me a while to know that I’ve gotta stop for a question and say, “Would you unmute your mic?” Because I’m gonna ask you this question and I’m gonna to wait for a response. And we begin to talk to each other, but I had to give fair warning I’m gonna ask you to unmute your mic. Get ready, get ready. And, you know, I found out I can play music on Zoom. I can do all those things. But like I said, I’ve been doing it a long time and that’s kind of the way I have been comfortable teaching. And I’ve had Joe to help me technology-wise particularly, but a lot of our teachers haven’t had that. So, John, I think we’re gonna to have to say okay, if we’re gonna be in this Zoom world, then how are we gonna help our teachers know how to become even more effective, where we don’t just have people sitting there taking it in, but we’ve actually got people digging in and delving in to the vital parts of God’s Word.
– One thing that our group, I’m speaking anecdotally more with just my particular group, is we tried to have some outdoor fellowships. Literally sitting in somebody’s front yard or backyard. You bring your own food. Usually they’re Sundays about five o’clock. We just gather the host during the summer, usually, like, make some homemade ice cream or something like that. But you bring your lawn chair, your sports chair, you bring your own food or beverage, whatever, and you can space yourselves out in the yard and you just talk. One thing my people have really missed is that community because community is so important to a Bible study group, and they miss the community that Zoom cannot provide. We can generate a pretty good Bible study, but we cannot replace that in-person community. So even during this time, we’ve just been able to gather, you know, outside. We’ve been in people’s driveways that had big wide driveways. We’d been in front yards, we’ve been in backyards. The main thing is just, for them, it’s just getting together. We’ve got another fellowship that’s in the plans right now that the fellowship team is putting together. So we tried to still keep our ministry teams, outreach fellowship, all those care group teams activated on our group. You know, back to what Joe and Liz were talking about, it’s important that we involve people and keep them involved in their ministries, recognizing that COVID just gives us a different way to accomplish what we are accustomed to doing. We just gotta come up with a different way of doing it.
– Good work, good work, Alan, okay? Alright, folks, so let me remind you that we have about five minutes. If you’ve got another question that you would like answered, you got some great panelists here to ask your questions and we’ll try to get that to you. While you are typing or thinking about your question, let me remind you that these webinars are being recorded and they will be out there on our web page, at the PinnacleAlabama.org. You can see the past the webinars and you can see a list of future webinars, so be aware of that. I believe Daniel will probably be putting them in the chat section here in just a minute. Daniel is kind of operating behind the scenes today. He is our technician trying to keep us up and running and moving along. So I appreciate Daniel’s willingness to be our tech person today. But again, don’t forget that these webinars are being recorded. You can go back and view them later. Nancy, you had a question up there and I lost it, about can ideas, suggestions, things of this nature, I can’t remember the exact question, but can they not be put on ALSBOM’s website? I believe the answer to that is yes. We are working on doing some of that. Keep looking at the resources, hopefully under Sunday school resources, they’ll be tagged there as well. But a lot of, we’re learning, all of us are learning a lot during this times and having to do things we’ve never done before. So keep checking back at our website and hopefully you’ll get some things. Or please feel free to call us at the State Board of Missions called the Sunday School and Discipleship Office. You can ask to speak to Daniel or myself, and we will try to help you there and share other ideas that we’ve heard about that we may not have put out there yet. Yes, you can see Daniel did just put that in the chat box. So if you wanna screen save that, you can see where to find these webinars and future webinars as well. You can go to the KidzLinkAL.org, is another great place to go for ideas and suggestions of what to do with children during this time as well. So I encourage you to go to that website, KidzLinkAL.org. And of course, also the vimeo.com/alsbom there, okay? Alright, so much for that commercial or whatever you wanna call it. Any questions? Your time is running out if you have any question. If not, I don’t wanna keep you any longer this afternoon so you can go get your Sunday afternoon nap before you get back to church tonight, if you have church tonight, which we do. We have a family gathering tonight. It’s gonna be just a sharing time and it’s gonna be really interesting. I’m serving as interim pastor. So they’re wanting to get together to just have a family gathering so we’re gonna do that tonight. Socially distancing, of course, as we do that. Joe, thanks for the information today you shared with us. Liz, thank you for yesterday. Alan, Thursday, John, Tuesday, thank you so much. Again, I’ll share with everyone. Your webinars will be posted on our website at PinnacleAL.org or vimeo.com/alsbom, okay? Alright, any closing words before we let y’all get out of here? Now take care, I’ll see you.
– Thank you, Jamie.
– Thanks, Jamie.
– Thank you.
– Thanks, Jamie.
– Thank y’all so much. Let me close with a word of prayer and we’ll let you go. Father, thank You so much for the wonderful information that’s been shared with us this week via these webinars. Lord, I pray you’ll bless each and every one of them that those who listened to it and watch it in the future will be encouraged, challenged to be all that You’ve called them to be. And, Father, for what You do in and through these webinars, we thank You, we praise You now, for we pray these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.