As I mentioned in my blog, “GIDEON’S ARMY. Advancing the Kingdom,” some current business leaders refer to the coronavirus pandemic as the great accelerator. Below is an excerpt from that blog,
“For many organizations, COVID was the great accelerator—forcing them to transform their operations and better prepare for a digital future. Countless CEOs have told me their companies are better off today because of the experience during the pandemic. And numerous industries, like health care, jumped years ahead in their digitalization plans.
But what about education? Sad to say, the picture is much less clear. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that the great accelerator left the education sector in the dust.”
CEO Daily, edited by David Meyer.
I commented on Meyer’s last remark,
I wonder if the great accelerator left much of the Church in the dust. Happily, I know of churches and ministries which flexed and adapted and responded creatively. These churches and ministries positioned themselves to be even more fruitful in the future.”
As a follow-up to that blog, I’d like to present two examples of ministries that have flexed and adapted, and responded creatively to our changing times. There are others I could mention, but these hit close to home. A strategic convergence of these ministry leaders occurred in July of 2018.
Pamela Koefoed – Evangelist with Advancing the Kingdom Ministries Inc., Author, and Live Video Broadcast Host at Faith Cafe Productions
The Koefoed family moved to our community here in south-central Oregon about 25 years ago. The family attended the Church that I was leading at that time. Eventually, Pam developed her ministry, Advancing the Kingdom Ministries.
Along the way, Pam also authored a couple of books, Angels Appearing and JoyRide.
In recent years Pam expanded her ministry to include hosting a live video broadcast on Facebook. She would interview Christian leaders and ministers on her broadcast. When our friends and colleagues from Embu, Kenya, Apostle James Nthigah and his wife Ann Njeru, visited us in the summer of 2018, Pam interviewed them on her program. That interview inspired our friends to begin an online ministry upon their return to Embu. Recently Apostle James wrote to me on WhatsApp,
“Our show with Pam when we visited your place highly motivated us to venture into media ministry before COVID 19 struck. We didn’t know that God was preparing us for the pandemic. This was very timely because we bought our streaming equipment much cheaper than those who bought it during the rush hour.”
What I appreciate about Pam’s pioneering efforts is that she did her homework. She researched how to broadcast a quality program using the proper technological tools. Her ministry purchased the right equipment, and with the help of her hubby, Vern, she created a small studio from which she could broadcast her programs on the worldwide web. Desiring to help others present well during her interviews with them, Pam sends production tips to future interviewees.
Recently Pam flexed, adapted, and exercise her creativity once again and started a program interviewing Christian authors. She founded Faith Cafe Productions and established a Youtube channel on which to feature these interviews.
Paul’s exhortations to his mentee Timothy come to mind when I think of Pam and her ministry. Without explicitly identifying Timothy’s spiritual gift, the Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy:
“Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.” (1 Timothy 4:14, NKJV)
“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6, NKJV)
“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5, NKJV)
I believe Paul’s mentee Timothy was an apostle in training.
As one of Pam’s mentors, I have enjoyed a front-row seat watching Pam mature as a woman of God and as a minister. She does the work of an evangelist. She is an author and now a live video broadcast host. The spiritual gift woven through her life and ministries is that of prophecy. Through her various modes of ministry, Pam is a prophetic voice to the contemporary culture. Thanks to the worldwide web, her prophetic voice is becoming a global voice.
Apostle James Nthigah and Ann Njeru – Senior Leaders at Triumph in Christ Ministries in Embu, Kenya.
Joanne and I first met James and Ann during our ministry in Kenya in 2003. The venue for their church services was a post and pole building clad in iron sheets located in downtown Embu. James and Ann were also in the process of establishing a private hospital, Liberty Hospital. Ann is an RN, and James trained as a radiographer. Over the ensuing years, the Triumph Church has built a beautiful worship center on property located at the city’s entrance. In addition, their inner-city venue continues to host ministries. Another example of the Church’s expansion and growth, the new property now hosts an elementary school. In addition, the Church sponsors many other creative ministries and outreaches, including a winning soccer team.
James and Ann visited us here in the US in 2016 and again in the summer of 2018. During their visits, we toured them around our beautiful region of Oregon and northern California. They also enjoyed ministering and fellowshipping in a number of the churches in our regional network. During their visit in 2018, Pam interviewed them on her internet program. That experience inspired James and Ann to expand their ministry to include the worldwide web. After returning to Kenya, James purchased quality equipment, and Triumph Church began broadcasting church services on the internet. By the time the government initiated pandemic restrictions for public gatherings, Triumph in Christ Ministries had already gained experience and an online track record in online broadcasting.
A new catchword describing what lies ahead for business and education is “hybrid.” I think this represents the future for the Church and Christian ministries as well. But, again, it will be hybrid, a mixture of in-person and remote connections.
Alan Murray, CEO of Fortune Media, writes,
“I know it’s become commonplace to say this, but sending everyone home from the office was so much easier than bringing everyone back. Then, there was a clear goal—the rules were imposed by the virus and by health authorities. Now, there are no rules. Polls show the majority of knowledge workers want “hybrid,” and the majority of companies plan to give it to them. But figuring out what hybrid means remains a massive design challenge. (I certainly haven’t figured it out—I spent an entire day at the office last week doing nothing but nonstop Zoom calls.).”
Gideon’s army fought with hybrid weaponry, nontraditional weaponry, a blend of trumpets, and empty pitchers with torches inside. Had Gideon’s army been conscripted from members of the contemporary Church, might he have heard some complaining, “We’ve never done it that way before!”
I trust that those churches and ministries that ventured onto the internet during that pandemic will continue expanding and enhancing their online presence. Churches and ministries which have not initiated an online presence should consider doing so. The Church of the future is “hybrid.”