From the Front Lines of Ministry: Part 2

During the COVID-19 crisis, our team gathers weekly to discuss the latest From the Front Lines of Ministry. We are using ChurchOS to stay clear and focused. See how other church leaders around the country are using ChurchOS as they navigate the new normal.


Church Planning Approach for the Next 6 Months

  • Use the disruption to pursue innovation
  • Sequentially build your plans this way:
    • Base assumption – we must deliver the fundamentals of Great Commission activity (The Great Commission Engine) digitally for the next six months
    • Brainstorm and collaborate on 6 months of delivering the GC Engine and 6 Domains of ChurchOS in a digital and less resourced environment
    • Run 4 Helpful Lists against this framework and base assumption
    • Brainstorm on ideas to deliver with new assumptions (If you are running ChurchOS, use Tomorrow’s Harvest tool)
    • Vision – Ask “Where do we want our people to be in June” (personally, family, work, church, community)
    • Organize your action – If you are running ChurchOS use the VIP Action template or Get ‘Er Done with owners and due dates
    • Build levels of staffing for the new plan *
    • Build levels of budget for the new plan *
      • * We would recommend having models thought through with 25% and 50% decrease in giving and therefore expenses
    • If everything does become normal again, you already know what to do!

Front Lines Advice for Church Leaders This Week

  • Be more human.  Everyone in your community, believer or not, is in a similar spot.  Minister to them there, not as an institutional church leader, but as a human being.  Example: Ask them, “How did you adjust to working at home with your kids?”  
  • Turn down the volume.  So much help is inbound.  Listen to less of it right now.  We must lead from a place of strength in our relationship with God.  
  • Get all strategic conversations back to the fundamentals (GC Engine if running ChurchOS).
  • Pray about what your church should do to minister to people and accomplish the Great Commission.
  • Simplify and minimize.  Meet people where they are at.  Minimize and simplify steps and offerings.  And especially the number of emails you are sending from the church!


  • Matthew Robinson – Pastor of Administration – First Baptist Church – Orlando, FL
  • Sy Huffer – Lead Minister – College Heights Christian Church – Joplin, MO
  • Chris Reed – Senior Pastor – Christ’s Church of Flagstaff – Flagstaff, AZ
  • Mark Montemayor – Executive Pastor – Real Life Christian Church – Clermont, FL
  • Mark Brewer – Executive Pastor – The Oaks Church – Midlothian, TX
  • Doug Cowburn – Executive Pastor – Elim Gospel Church – Lima, NY
  • Lee Coate – Executive Pastor – The Crossing, a Christian Church – Las Vegas, NV
  • Alan Baumlein – Executive Pastor – Christ Church Mason – Mason, OH 
  • Dana Erickson – Executive Pastor – Illuminate Community Church – Scottsdale, AZ
  • Kirby Andersen – Content Development & Church Relations Lead – Intentional Churches – Tulsa, OK
  • Bruce Cramer – Pastor of Life Groups & Adult Education – Central Community Church – Wichita, KA
  • Jim Stanley – Executive Pastor – Traders Point Chrsitian Church – Indianapolis, IN
  • Matt Wright – Acting Executive Pastor – Willow Creek Community Church – Chicago, IL
  • Don Anderson – Executive Pastor – Chandler Christian Church – Chandler, AZ
  • Robbie O’Brien – Lead Pastor – Salty Church – Ormond Beach, FL
  • Jim Sheldon – Executive Pastor – Mission Church – Ventura, CA
  • Jill Gille – Executive Director of Projects – Eastside Christian Church – Anaheim, CA
  • Kevin Stone – Executive Pastor – Christ’s Church of the Valley – Royersford, PA
  • Bob Miller – Ministry Leader/Coach – Thomas Road Baptist Church/ServantOne – Lynchburg, VA
  • Ed Kelley – Executive Pastor – Bay Area Community Church – Annapolis, MD

IC Staff:

  • Doug Parks – Co-Founder & CEO
  • Bart Rendel – Co-Founder & President
  • Tasha Johnson – Director of Operations
  • Ashlea Kurcz – Project Management & Event Coordinator
  • Lynda Rec – Accounting & Project Management 
  • Kristi Andrade – IGP Coordinator 


Best Practices You are Implementing: 

From Matt Wright : We did guidelines and guardrails around working and communication to our staff to help them. Included encouraging boundaries, and how we can communicate with each other. It was kind of a training piece.

From Doug Cowburn : In NY we are just using zoom meetings, trying to keep our regular meetings going and having some structured social times via video too.

From Matthew Robinson : On the home piece, I’ve never had a home office. We had to move past a laptop on the couch and dining room table, and setup a desk in our room so that there’s still a place for “daddy to go to work” and it also let’s me feel physical space present when I’m with kids vs. pretending to be engaged in both work and kids.

From Chris : We closed our offices and are using Zoom for meetings/ convo. We kept our prayer and devotional times via Zoom.

From Matt Wright : The trick for us was to set common expectations of how we will work and communicate, to try to get everyone on the same page.

From Dana Erickson : Right now we do a pastoral Zoom call every day at 1 pm. I still do my 1:1 with each team member via Zoom. We are talking about what it would look like to do a slow roll opening of the office only. 

From Jim Sheldon : We are working with managers to help define what work looks like… more around where to contribute week to week than how to get it done. Giving permission where needed and clarifying expectations on what they accomplish.

From Bruce Cramer : We use Zoom daily with the whole staff to ask, “what is working and what do you see us needing to do?”

Piston 1: The Gathering

From Kevin Stone : This past weekend, we were at around 40 minutes total versus 55-60 minutes normally. We directed people to a separate kids and students experience following the main service.

From Chris : We are going 15 minutes shorter with more simple worship.

From Matt Wright : We are in living rooms now as well.

Piston 2: Life-Changing Relationships & Piston 3: Surrendered Living

From Matt Wright : For anyone who wants it:, and email me if you want the files.

From Alan Baumlein : We are feeding local school kids that usually get fed at school.

From Robbie O’Brien : is perfect for this season of ministry. Group material with short videos already available.

From Jim Sheldon : Tension has been care & content. Care for our 99 and content for our 1. The running value proposition model for our 1 tomorrow… to try and uncover what “product” meets those pains in this context. Piston 3 has meant decentralizing everything vs. scaling everything. Same as Lee, virtual call center. More personal than efficient. Just some of what Mission is navigating.

From Matt Wright : We have been holding blood drives in our building. It’s tricky, but apparently there is a blood shortage. And it can be done with the shelter-in-place.

From Jim Sheldon : We have also had great conversations with Mayors, school superintendents and housing authority. Good opportunity for churches to meet volunteer needs for public agencies as they scale up what they do and people shelter in place.

From Bob : Our schedule:  Early mornings Zooms are working for men’s life groups.  Staff are facing challenges with so many digital meetings . . . these are needing to be reduced, focused and intentional.  Shut-Ins and seniors are being contacted by those who have relieved schedules. Shut In info is being tracked on a Planning Center database accessed by life group leaders.  Reaching the one is the highlight right now. My wife’s business . . . a florist . . . is encouraging neighbors to give aloe plants. Our conversations are not focused on inviting, but helping with groceries, filing for unemployment.  Our retired business men are helping businesses with negotiating for terms, bank loans, extended payments.

From Alan Baumlein : We are doing a similar process through CCB for our members.

From Kevin Stone : Aware3 mobile app has been a great tool for fundamentally tweaking this …

From Jill Gille : We are steering people to Gene’s daily devotion and seeing that connect new people so we are trying another weekend of that and assessing.  Putting our next steps online April 1.

From Doug Cowburn : The payroll protection program through the new stimulus package will offer loans for churches and non-profits (small businesses) that will be forgiven if you keep your same FTE over the whole year. Loans will probably be 2.5 your average monthly payroll costs.

From Chris : Yes we are looking at the stimulus package info to help in this as well as our preschool that we needed to close for a while.

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