During this time of upheaval, DiDonato says Concordia’s VBS team has discovered how immensely passionate their church customers are about teaching children God’s Word. “Churches, leaders, teachers, and volunteers are willing to go above and beyond to plan unique VBS and teaching options so children can still experience the love of our Savior,” she tells ChurchLeaders.com.
Watkins at Group says churches and children’s ministers face the same pandemic-related challenges as other businesses, from interpreting “changing directives” about public health to juggling contingency plans amid so many unknowns. “I can’t say enough about the heart these children’s ministers have for kids,” he tells ChurchLeaders.com. “They’re making great sacrifices, working under stressful, uncertain conditions, and staying focused on their kids. They all deserve a lot of praise.”
Pandemic Reshapes the Landscape
Another unknown during this season is the long-term financial impact on congregations and Christian publishers, who depend on orders from churches. This week, LifeWay Christian Resources, the Southern Baptist Convention’s publishing arm, announced a 10 percent budget cut as a result of declining sales. Cuts will come through reducing staff, freezing new hires and 401(k) contributions, and cutting salaries and discretionary spending. Executives are giving up one month’s salary, beginning this month.
LifeWay CEO Ben Mandrell says the decisions were painful but they’re trying to be proactive. “We want to make sure LifeWay is in a position to continue serving churches and church leaders to help them fuel their ministries,” he says. “We have to be ready to adjust to the needs of churches if we want to be relevant in a post-COVID world. Church operations and ministries are going to look different for an indefinite period of time.”