During a recent NLW Community Meet-up, we asked one of our NLW Lead Team members to teach and encourage us about leading through the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Herb Armentrout is the long-time worship director at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA. He is also an adjunct professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

What Dr. Herb shared with us was so powerful and practical for any leader in the Church. That’s why we are sharing on our blog, so more people can glean from Herb’s wisdom. Enjoy!

Regarding planning and leading worship services digitally…

  • Remain centered on God’s greatness from the very beginning of the service, even before acknowledging His providence and healing power. We will certainly acknowledge these things, but I would encourage everyone to focus on God’s glory and other transcendent characteristics first. This practice contextualizes our corporate worship and our lives individually. Following the Isaiah 6:1-8 pattern always works.
  • Be intentional about involving people of different generations in worship in some way. We cannot gather many people together, but folks can make videos and submit to worship leader in advance. This practice can help engage kids, senior adults, and students as they see “their people” in front of them worshiping.
  • Consider inserting praise reports, possibly towards the end of the service, regarding the ways God’s people are serving the Lord by serving
    others. Videos and verbal accounts given to the church help us celebrate the fact God is very much at work and calls ALL of us to be on mission with Him. “Here am I, send me.”
  • Use interactive elements whenever possible. We put articles associated with Holy Week on a table – alabaster jar, basin and towel, whip, mallet, etc. for people to see. Prior to sharing the Lord’s Supper in the service we sent out emails inviting people to gather juice and bread (or whatever they had available if they could not get to the store) and partake in the Lord’s supper with us. Our Pastor just preached on confession and we invited people to get a piece of paper and write down at home during the response time a sin or sins they were confessing to the Lord, we prayed together, and then tore the paper into tiny pieces as we sang “This Is Amazing Grace.” These are just a few of the many ways to do this.
  • Be authentic, not perfect. People can tell “fake” even in the digital realm.

Regarding ministry within your sphere of influence…

  • Maintain contact with people who share in your ministry leadership. Reach out regularly through phone calls, emails, and texts to see how you can pray for them. I have discovered through hundreds of these contacts over the last weeks that people are struggling with many challenges
    unrelated to COVID-19. What a privilege it has been to come alongside them. Most important of all: be a good listener.

Regarding ministry outside your church…

  • All of us have friends or acquaintance who do not personally know Christ. We have a unique opportunity to reach out to them. I have a group of runners I am with very regularly and God has opened some wonderful doors to show His love and compassion to them. People are now generally more open to conversations about spiritual things. Seize the moment with God’s leadership and be bold in sharing your faith.

Regarding ministry within your home…

  • Our first priority for ministry and love is our family. Let’s think strategically and creatively about how to love and encourage our family. Here are some ideas:
    • Fun family fitness (your kids may refer to this as “forced” family fitness)
    • Fun family fellowship (games, projects, etc.)
    • Fun family films
    • Fun family food (cooking and eating together)
  • You get the picture. The point is to use this time to invest in your family. Many of us are so busy we miss out on opportunities to love our families well.

Regarding ministry within yourself…

  • Listen to God. Sometimes I picture God in seasons like the one we are in as a Father holding our face in His hands, looking deep into our eyes, and saying, “Now that I have your attention.”
  • Read God’s Word.
  • Memorize scripture.
  • Walk in integrity of heart and mind. Be careful about seeing things that would destroy our integrity and divert our focus on walking in “Christlikeness.”
  • Walk in lockstep with God every moment of every day. As Brother
    Lawrence encourages us, let’s “Practice His Presence”!

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