“None of us have been faced with this sort of global pandemic at any point in our lifetimes,” said Jonathan Akin, director of young leader engagement at the North American Mission Board (NAMB). “Ministry leadership, though, is constantly about facing the unexpected and adjusting on the go. So, while the specifics are unprecedented, the general truth is that ministry can be consistently surprising and require flexibility.”
Akin oversees the TBI, which NAMB launched to assist churches in the area of leadership development. Those who enrolled in the program became members of cohorts that are led by a ministry coach who is an experienced Southern Baptist pastor.
“I applied for the Timothy + Barnabas Institute because I was in my first year as a lead pastor of a local church,” said Steve Browning of First Baptist Church Alpharetta, Ga. “I needed all the help I could get. There was no way of knowing then that we were all about to enter one of the most challenging and unprecedented seasons of church leadership in our lifetime.”
Navigating ministry in the face of the pandemic as well as the tension and unrest that has enveloped much of the nation has been a challenge. Yet, participants have said the coaching calls and virtual meetups have been a great support system.
“During this COVID season, my cohort conversations have been a lifeline,” said Mike Richardson, pastor of Tequesta’s First Baptist Church in Jupiter, Fla. “My mentor Jimmy Scroggins (pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla.) and my cohort brothers have given me the confidence I need to navigate leadership during these difficult times.”
Akin pastored for 11 years before transitioning to his position at NAMB, and he has also been an interim pastor during the current crisis.
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Source: Baptist Press