Moving Ministry Online

Three values that have guided us during this season

COVID-19 PERSPECTIVE: James Choung

InterVarsity USA

Here are three values that helped us at InterVarsity USA move ministry online in this time, and guide us during this season. Perhaps they will help you in your context.

Relationships over technology.

The first temptation is to lead with technology, to spend resources to build up robust digital platforms. Instead, we focused on relationships first, and cobbled together the technology we already knew to bolster our communities. We just needed people to connect with each other quickly, or they would either find ways to connect without us, or they wouldn’t connect at all.

Needs over problems.

The second temptation is to lead with replicating structures, rather than meet existing needs. Admittedly, we did talk about five ministry rhythms to move online, but given our context, it was a way to meet the needs of our staff. But as we move forward, rather than merely keeping our existing rhythms, we need to ask how we can meet spiritual needs more effectively during this season: How do we help people grieve their losses? How do we help them connect with each other spiritually? How can we equip people for mission? Are there new communities we can now reach? And once we start answering these questions, then we innovate with that in mind.

Innovation over operations.

The third temptation is to think that what we build now will be effective after the quarantine is over. We’ll come back to a world that isn’t the same, but still won’t be the one that we’re living in now either. As the environment changes again post-quarantine, we will need to reevaluate. So let’s innovate, but don’t operationalize for the long-term yet. Use this time to learn and get ready for the future.

I’m thankful for an email conversation with Bret Staudt-Willet, whose ideas seeded this article. —James Choung

Read more COVID-19 Perspectives from pastors and church leaders.

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