We have all seen and experienced devastating effects of COVID-19. Its impact is global; Christian ministries in nearly every country are experiencing resource deficits, separation, lockdown, and uncertainty. We in Bolivia have been put in a very strict government lockdown for months. We are only allowed out for a few hours once a week. There is no private or public transport without permission. All church services are suspended. Of course, these conditions have caused a lot of uncertainly and a lack of direction for our churches and ministries.
In response to this, GTP hosted a webinar titled “Navigating the New Normal: Timely Tips for Boards, CEOs, and Ministry Fundraisers for Global Application” on 21 April 2020 to encourage Christian leaders and provide practical tips for ministry governance.
I was one of the participants from 28 different countries blessed by the webinar. I have served as a missionary for 33 years and have spent the past 32 years in Bolivia initially serving indigenous peoples and latterly nonprofit organizations. I have been teaching management and coaching courses, hoping to provide sustainable and contextualized responses to ministries in the country.
After attending the GTP webinar, I was inspired to share the Navigating the New Normal training for those within my own ministry network. I anticipated that such training and content would encourage Bolivian ministry leaders as it did myself. My desire to replicate came from the biblically integrated teaching. The webinar provided a reminder that history has seen pandemics before and God has been faithful. Because the biblical emphasis of the webinar resonated with me, I see this pandemic as an opportune time to share those biblical concepts with the people I train.
This webinar also addressed the top three areas I was concerned with: governance, leadership, and fundraising. I appreciated its practicality, and its realistic and tangible advice. I especially liked that it encouraged us to reach out to our donors during this challenging time.
I have facilitated this webinar twice in Spanish, attended by a total of 44 participants. One of the participants shared with me that they passed the information on to their board members. It helped give them direction and encouragement, especially with regards to putting their house in order, making plans, and managing change.
After spreading the teaching that I received, I had a Zoom call with the GTP team. I asked them hard questions and appreciated the respect they showed me. I believe we can work together as we have much to offer each other. We plan to explore that in the days to come.
Though Bolivia remains in a lockdown due to the virus and there are still abundant challenges for ministry leaders, I am confident that the teaching gave guidance and hope to those who participated. Time will reveal its wider impact.