COVID-19: Church Planters Successfully Use Their Missions to Respond Creatively During This Season


Chad Clarkson, Executive Director of Houston Church Planting Network, encourages congregations to stay true to their mission during COVID-19 and reminds us that prayer is one of the most important things to do in this season.

"Let's encourage people to just really get alone with God. Get on their faces, get in their closet, whether it be a literal closet where some people are officing right now or a figurative closet. But take advantage. . .build that intimacy with God as you spend time with Him. So we didn't want that to go to waste."

Mentioned Resources:

Houston Church Planting Network

Next Door app

WhatsApp

Awakened Houston

ACPN Facebook page

Zoom Conference Calls

Houston Responds COVID-19 Resources


Transcript:

Tommy Rosson:

Hello, this is Tommy Rosson with Houston Responds and today I'm joined by a good friend of mine, Chad Clarkson, who's the executive director of Houston Church Planting Network. Chad, thank you for joining us.


Chad Clarkson:

You bet. Glad to be here. Thanks Tommy.


Tommy Rosson:

Tell us a little bit about Houston Church Planters Network.


Chad Clarkson:

Yeah, Houston Church Planting Network started about 10 years ago. We call it HCPN for short. We say we're a network of networks committed to strengthening church planters to multiply churches that reach every man, woman, and child in greater Houston. We're committed to church planting, committed to collaboration in the unity of the church and really seeing what we can do together as a big C church that maybe one local church can't do by themselves.


Tommy Rosson:

Yeah, it's fascinating how COVID-19 has affected all churches in one way and in similar ways and yet all some churches differently. And so as we've talked to churches that are more of a resource or have smaller congregations, they're very worried about their survival. What's the impact of COVID-19 look like in the church planting world, especially here in Houston?


Chad Clarkson:

Yeah, great question Tommy. You know, I think there's probably a few different things. So it probably also depends on who I'm talking to, what church planter. And I've kind of seen as a continuum, along the continuum, kind of put planners on that. So some may feel very anxious or fearful and then others it's like, oh, I'm excited about this now, you know, excited, kind of tongue in cheek, but they're seeing this as an opportunity. So I'm kind of seeing planters somewhere along that continuum when it comes to thinking about COVID-19.


Tommy Rosson:

What are some of the ways those that are leading into it? What does that look like for some of these church plants?


Chad Clarkson:

Yeah, I'm seeing, I mean, planters be, you know, looking at this as an opportunity. So they're trying to think creatively. They're trying to kind of, I think one of the things I say is kind of ignite that apistolic spirit that they have in them as a church planter and really kind of thinking through new ways of doing a mission or how the church does mission in reaching their part of Houston. So we've seen a lot of practical things, seen a Christian more planter up in kind of the Spring, Woodlands area. He put out a message via the Next Door app. Just said, Hey, I'm a local pastor in this neighborhood. My wife and I are going out to pray if we can pray for you, let us know private message us. We're not going to come to your door.


We're not going to shake your hand. Let us know your address if you want, tell us your prayer request. We'll stop by and just pray out in front. He saw a hundred people respond to that in five days. So he's been busy blocking the neighborhood, praying, building a ton of relationships with people, which has been great. Seeing other people take advantage of the WhatsApp group stuff. People thinking creatively as far as just, in terms of the mobilization of their people, you know, how do they think, how do they remind their people that their missionaries and their community during this time. So a lot of creativity happening with planters right now.


Tommy Rosson:

One of the things you said earlier is that many of the churches that are leaning in and seeing some real impact during these early days, unfortunately, what, it will probably be early days, they're still staying true to their mission and what they are called to not trying to compete with others, but lean into the unique ways that God has gifted them.


Chad Clarkson:

Yeah. Without a doubt. And, you know, that's what we tried to help plants, you know, don't try to be someone you're not, you know, you may see that the church that has all the bells and whistles, you know, down the street and they're putting on these tremendous presentations online and you just may not have the capability to do that. So just do what you can. The relationships you built with people, that trust is going to go a long way In this time of chaos uncertainties. We just are encouraging people and planters specifically, just be yourself during this time.


Tommy Rosson:

Yeah, we're seeing, you know, when you look at even the larger churches, they're trying to figure out a way how to come across small because when you go into people's television or laptops, large worship spaces do not necessarily communicate well. So they're trying to go small. You know, I've had many large church pastors talk about being a house church or a church plant all over again.