The COVID-19 crisis has been a whirlwind for gospel movement leaders. You have been handling new situations you have never been in before. You have been helping churches go online, pivoting your resources to support the elderly and kids in your community, and attending more Zoom meetings than your sanity can handle. We know this hasn’t been easy. But it is inspiring to see your determination to be the Church in the city.
The most important thing we can do as leaders is practice self-care and take care of our mental health so we can continue serving and leading. Even John Hopkins University says so!
Mental health and self-care was important for leaders before COVID-19, but now it is essential to leading. Below you will find three types of mental health resources:
- Dealing with stress (personal and professional)
- Cultivating hope through prayer and reflection
- Practical steps you can take this week to practice self-care
Send this article to other leaders and pastors that will benefit from mental health resources.
*If this list is too long for you, don’t worry, we’ve starred our favorites!
**Time sensitive resources are designated with (TS).
Dealing with STress
*1. The Humanitarian Disaster Institute shared this tip sheet, “COVID-19 Spiritual First Aid: Faithful Preparedness, not Fearful Panic” to help you reduce stress by identifying and responding to unmet core needs using the B.L.E.S.S. method. They also recommended leaders read this article on how to cope with anxiety during COVID-19. You can watch their Spiritual Aid Summit here with speakers like Danielle Strickland, N.T. Wright, Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, Ian Cron, D.A. Horton, and more!
2. The Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives provided a mental health document. For Christians they recommended these resources.
- All Mental Health, a free web app, is available for support.
- A how to guide for managing stress during COVID-19.
- *Beyond Disaster – a trauma-informed resource from American Bible Society. English and Spanish downloads are available.
- Managing Coronavirus Stress from Fresh Hope. Their site is also available in Spanish.
- *The American Association of Christian Counselors is providing up to date resources on their website for free. There are some available in Spanish.
- The Presbyterian Mental Health Network has provided free resources and a special section for engaging with children.
3. For those of us who don’t know what to say to our friends, families and even strangers who are struggling with mental health right now, this website shares great questions to ask and which questions we should avoid. Read Okay to Say here.
4. Mental health resource for those of us working from home from the American Psychiatric Association. They even provide a sample schedule.
5. Mental Health America has curated a list of free resources for every demographic on their page here.
Cultivating hope through prayer and reflection
1. Don’t know what to pray during this crisis? How about praying liturgies? Every Moment Holy is offering select liturgies for free right now. Download liturgies here that are relevant to this moment. We love the liturgy ‘For Those Flooded with Too Much Information.’
2. Perhaps you are just looking for some hopeful stories during this time to share with others or maybe you have one you want to share. The Obama Foundation has a thread to read and share hopeful stories. Read the letter from Naomi to her daddy! These stories refreshed our perspective.
3. Every week a lectionary reflection rooted in perspectives “from below” that embrace abundance and peacemaking are posted on Street Psalms. Think of them as weekly devotionals.
*4. One of the most important things we can do in this season is a biblical practice: lament. Many of us struggle with lament and rightly so in our fast paced culture. Jamie D. Aten wrote a short article on “The Radical Power of Lament” on Sojourners to help us understand how and why we should lament.
Practical Steps you can take
1. Made to Flourish wrote an article for pastors pursuing health in the middle of a crisis. It gives three practical tips for all pastors to begin cultivating health for themselves. Read it on their website.
2. Watch this 10 minute webinar from Houston Responds on leaning into grief and anxiety during COVID-19.
3. Learn how to cope with the stress you or loved ones may be experiencing during this time with this resource from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
4. *Find a therapist during COVID-19. Telehealth is amazing!
5. Read After Shock by Kent Annan if you are struggling with questions in the midst of this crisis. This book offers an answer for those “searching for honest faith when your world is shaken.”
While we hope these resources help you, other leaders, and your loved ones, we are also a resource for you. Do not hesitate to reach out for the one thing we all know works: prayer.
We would love to pray for you during this time. Just message us at email@example.com and we will respond as soon as we can.
Your City Gospel Movements team,
Kevin, Stephanie, Lizzie, and Kaedyn