For Pastors: Ministry between Sundays with Today

By Jeff Bulthuis

March 30, 2020

Every church is navigating uncharted waters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pastors are learning to stream their sermons online. Worship leaders are figuring out how to help people worship well virtually. Church members are adjusting to being the Church without being in the church building.

And while you may be getting into the groove of worshipping online (it takes time!), you’re probably still discerning the best way to minister between Sundays. I live in a state with a shelter-in-place order, so all in-person church activities are canceled. My youngest kids aren’t able to participate in their youth programs or Junior Choir. My older children are missing out on their middle school youth group activities. Our small group Bible study can’t gather together either.

This unprecedented reality is difficult for church members and leaders alike. But that doesn’t mean that weekday ministry has to stop. Today devotional offers free resources that pastors and church leaders can use to minister to and connect with their congregations between Sundays. Maybe—like my church—many of your church members are already reading Today (if not, we provide a number of ways to subscribe). If members are reading the daily devotion, all you’d need to do is post questions on social media to start conversations about the daily reflection. Or you could hold a real time conversation on the phone, via Facebook live or by using a conference call system like Zoom. It can be as simple as “What did you think of today’s devotion? I wonder how we could apply that concept in our lives right now?”

Pastor’s can also use Today to structure month long sermon series. Church members can dwell in God’s Word all week long through the daily devotions and on Sunday you can preach in greater depth on one of the week’s texts (or even that Sunday’s text). As a pastor, I often followed this method during the Advent season, and it was such a blessing to know that—as a local church—we were (literally!) on the same page.

As you discern your ministry in the coming weeks, prayerfully consider engaging with Today during the month of April as we focus on how the four gospels uniquely record Jesus’ last week. Providentially, the subject for May is “Community,” and I’m sure it will encourage good discussions as we explore how we can do life together in the midst of a pandemic that requires an unusual measure of physical separation.

As I minister through this season of COVID-19 and changes it brings, I keep coming back to two big truths: 1) God faithfully remains the same while so many things change; and 2) by God’s grace and creative Spirit, church leaders are finding new and exciting ways to adapt to serve the church and world. By utilizing the Today, you’re able to experience both of those truths. And those are good things to lean into, especially as we all navigate these uncharted waters together.

About the author — Jeff Bulthuis

Jeff has a B.A. in Psychology from Covenant College and an M.Div. from Calvin Theological Seminary. Jeff and his wife, Lisa, have five young children. They enjoy camping, spending time outdoors, and cheering on Chicago sports teams.

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