Aaron Smith, blue t-shirt, joins other members of Peavine Baptist Church to pack boxes of food for children in the Walker County School System. PEAVINE BAPTIST/Special
DULUTH — In a video to Georgia Baptist pastors, Georgia Baptist Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond, Jr., commended churches on their responsiveness to the coronavirus crisis while encouraging pastors to continue steps for self-care.
In addition, he announced webinars that include a Zoom discussion with the Governor’s Office today and another tomorrow that surrounds the impact of The CARES Act, the $2 trillion relief package signed in by Congress last week.
“[There are] so many incredible things that are happening all across our state … that we are responding to in a rapid pace,” Hammond said. “There’s an open window right now that we are taking advantage of because there’s a receptiveness to the Gospel. When a person is confronted with their mortality, they must consider their eternity.”
Even after the COVID-19 crisis passes, Hammond stressed, things will be different everywhere, including in ministry. Churches have embraced technology for online services that have reached people who otherwise wouldn’t have physically attended, he pointed out. In many cases, pastors are reporting viewership in higher numbers than on a regularly-attended Sunday.
“We’re seeing the Gospel now going places that it had not in the days before,” he reported.
Hammond also told of how churches are responding to the needs in their community, whether that was through providing food, childcare for health care workers, and helping senior citizens.
He added that Georgia Baptist Mission Board staff have continued praying for pastors and church leaders in a season of successes, yes, but also stress.
“We won’t cease [praying]. We want to continue to pray for you because pastoring is a stressful thing even under normal circumstances. And now, it’s been multiplied exponentially … because of this battle we’re all experiencing.”
With that in mind, Hammond encouraged pastors to maintain their own self-care. “Our encouragement to you is to be aware of your own physical, spiritual, and emotional needs and well-being,” he encouraged. “As you take care of your flock, also take care of yourself. We’re praying for you in that and your family as well.”
Webinars include call with Governor Kemp’s office, impact of CARES Act
Available webinars include a 2 p.m. conference call today, March 31, with Governor Brian Kemp’s office. Brad Hughes, chairman of the Georgia Baptist Public Affairs Committee and director of Field Operations for Kemp, will join Public Affairs representative Mike Griffin. During that time, pastors will learn how churches can continue to conduct ministry and “meet” together while maintaining compliance with the governor’s recommendations.
Details for attending can be found here.
Also, at 10 a.m. on April 1 a discussion will take place on The CARES Act, the recently passed package passed to help during the coronavirus crisis. At that time, participants will hear about loans available, how pastors can cover payroll, as well as how the Act applies to pastors individually. The link for attending can be found through gabaptist.org/cares.
The entire video can be seen below.
Scott Barkley serves as editor of The Christian Index.