Ministry Resources for Faith Formation

March 17, 2020
Dear Pastors, Deacons, SAMs and Youth Ministry Leaders,
 
As you juggle the many changes to your ministry and personal lives, I want to share with you (below) links to resources we are curating and providing, to hopefully save you time and energy as you consider how you will support children, youth, families and adults in faith formation in the coming weeks.
 
The number of resources being posted online through various platforms can be overwhelming. Some are awesome, some not so much. They can make us feel like we’re not doing enough or not doing the right thing. Remember – you know your congregation and context best. You don’t need to do everything. You don’t need to do everything right now. For what it’s worth, if I was in a congregation right now some of the filtering questions I would consider as I make plans for faith formation might be:

  • How much can my families/youth/adults handle coming at them? Right now families are probably struggling to figure out how to manage childcare, home schooling, and working from home. Perhaps this week they simply need a prayer or short devotional. But next week…they might need more structured online meetings or resources, once the kids start getting bored!

  • How do our members access information? Can most get online, or do we need to send snail mail?

  • How do online resources meet our mission? Does the theology affirm what we teach? Does it support where our young people, families and adults are currently at in their faith journey and the ministries we have been doing?

  • How can this be opportunity? Our young people have been exhausted, keeping up with their school and activity schedules. How can we help them develop new patterns for sabbath during this time? How can this help us get to a new way of being church together?

  • How am I listening? To parents, youth, adults, children…what they are asking for, what they need, what they aren’t saying, how they are/are not handling changes, what is helpful for them…and not just what I think is helpful.
 
I can feel in myself the temptation to maintain existing programs, just figure out virtual ways to do those. In some cases that is important. But more than anything we are called to be the church for where we are right now and to be nimble for changes yet to come. As Tiger McLuen says, young people need to know they are loved, valuable, and not alone . I believe that’s true for all ages. And doing that doesn’t take a program. It takes you…and the entire community of faith-filled relationships.
 
Thank you for all you are doing, even as you are adapting to all these changes in your own lives. You are in my prayers. You are the right people in the right congregations at the right time. You are the light of Christ sharing the hope of God's love story in a world that desperately needs that love right now. God’s got you and your congregations as we do this sacred work together. 

Together in Christ,
Catherine Anderson
Coordinator of Youth Ministry

I will be adding to each of these resource areas in the days to come...keep checking back.

These are resources for providing faith formation opportunities for children, youth, families and adults online.

The NE MN Synod has also purchased a license for congregations of the NE MN Synod to use the "Taking Faith Home" resources from Vibrant Faith through Easter. You might share these with families and individuals as a way to worship on their own, online with others, over the phone or lead as a livestream on Facebook. Congregations in the NE MN Synod have permission to download these resources from the link below and share with your congregation. The "Taking Faith Home Suggestions" document gives ideas on how you might share with your members.
(Resources at this link are licensed for NE MN Synod congregations only. Please do not share beyond our synod. NE MN Synod congregations are welcome to send them out via email or post on your congregation website for congregational use.)

These are resources for understanding and addressing the anxiety, fear and grief that are natural responses to the uncertainty and changing nature of this pandemic.

I have adapted the "Anxiety" Discussion Guide from the Mental Health Resources to specifically address the anxiety, fear and grief in response to COVID-19. I believe this discussion guide would be helpful to families, or to use online with youth or adult groups.

Catherine Anderson | Coordinator of Youth Ministry | NE MN Synod, ELCA Catherine.Anderson@nemnsynod.org | 218-724-4424