Posted on: March 31, 2020

We are all acutely aware of how the spread of the coronavirus has caused us to be a bit disoriented. It has disrupted life on many levels: emotionally, physically, and practically. We face disruptions to our work, health, births, childcare, weddings, funerals, travel, finances, and even the way we connect with friends and family. It has been particularly challenging for our church planters, pastors, and for SENT Network’s Leadership Team. That said, I’m very aware that these crazy times require adaptive leadership.

While our current challenge is unique, trying times have always required adaptation. Desperation breeds innovation. All of us carry responsibilities for people and tasks. This is especially true for leaders. I think of the way Jehoshaphat, an Old Testament leader, adapted when he faced external opposition that threatened the people he was leading. He humbled himself, prayed authentically, and adapted in order to follow God’s direction (2 Chron. 20).

I’ve been extremely encouraged with the amazing ways that SENT Network planters, pastors, and Leadership Team have responded to the current crisis. These local church leaders have been seeking God and adapting to offer online worship gatherings, virtual small groups, and have found creative ways to serve those outside the church who don’t know Christ. Some have mobilized the believers to prayer-walk their neighborhoods. They have left notecards with their neighbors to let them know they were praying for them during this hard time. Other churches are generously serving outsiders through benevolence funds. I just talked with a pastor of one of our newest start-up church plants with 60 members who had 900 viewers tune in for their online worship gathering and to listen to his sermon. Another church plant in our network with a congregation of about 400, had nearly 5,000 listen online to hear the pastor’s sermon. That’s exciting! However, in many cases the coronavirus has caused some real setbacks to churches. One of our two-year old church plants lost 25% of their members during the last few weeks because these young professionals were laid off and left their city to find work and more affordable housing elsewhere. While this isn’t as severe as a loved one contracting a life-threatening virus, setbacks like these do pose threats to the health and sustainability of fledgling churches.

SENT’s Leadership Team is also adapting and finding new solutions to equip church planters. We just conducted a four-hour training for church planting pastors last night via Zoom online. Our team will be using Zoom to do a 7-hour assessment of an aspiring church planter tomorrow as part of his joining SENT to advance the gospel and start a new church. Are all these efforts to minister virtually ideal? No. Adaptive? Yes. God is using these efforts!

Thank you for standing with us as giving partners in these unprecedented times! We understand that this crisis may present some of you with economic challenges that impact your ability to give. If you are able to continue giving at your current level, please do so. Some may even be able to give above this to provide a special one-time gift to help. Please prayerfully consider this so that our gospel-centered mission will advance and so that we can continue providing grants for church planting initiatives. Please be assured of our prayers for you as you face these trying times.

Let’s keep adapting and face these crazy times with humble prayer like Jehoshaphat who prayed, “…We don’t know what to do but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chron. 20:12).

Adapting by grace,
Mark McGeever

Executive Director | Equipper
SENT Network