Lewis Center Offers Free Guide for Pastoral Transitions During the COVID-19 Crisis


The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has released The Right Start: Beginning Ministry in a New Setting — COVID-19 Supplement. This free guide provides practical advice for pastors ending ministry in one congregation and beginning ministry in another congregation during the COVID-19 crisis.


In late April, the Lewis Center surveyed a trusted group of pastoral leaders and judicatory leaders to gather their ideas and thoughts about making a successful transition in this challenging time. Their recommendations are summarized in the COVID-19 Supplement.


“Many congregants are sheltering in place, many churches have suspended in-person worship, and normal patterns of engagement and activities are disrupted,” says F. Douglas Powe, Jr., Director of the Lewis Center and James C. Logan Chair in Evangelism (an E. Stanley Jones Professorship) at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. “This guide covers the unique implications for pastoral transition in the areas of Leaving Well; Parsonages, Offices, and Moving; Entering a New Congregation and Getting Acquainted; Preaching and Worship in the First Months; and Congregational and Community Financial Stress.


The Right Start: Beginning Ministry in a New Setting — COVID-19 Supplement is available for download free at https://www.churchleadership.com/resources/the-right-start-beginning-ministry-in-a-new-setting-covid-19-supplement/.


Even in this unusual time, the fundamental practices that make for a good transition are still relevant. To further assist pastors, the Lewis Center is offering its time-tested The Right Start: Beginning Ministry in a New Setting — Pastor’s Version Video Tool Kit download for $25 for a limited time. The regular price is $59. More information and a video preview are available at https://www.churchleadership.com/product/the-right-start-pastors-version-download/.


**The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is a resource for clergy, lay, and denomination leaders. Through resources, research, and teaching, the Center supports visionary spiritual leaders in addressing issues crucial to the church's faithful and fruitful witness**

During these trying times, I want you to know about a valuable benefit available to you through your health plan. The HealthFlex Plans offered by Wespath include an Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) provided by Optum Health. The EAP provides a variety of support services around emotional well-being, including confidential counseling and support to help manage issues in your personal or professional life that may impact your work, family and ministry. Services are confidential. The Annual Conference/Employer will not know if you choose to use the EAP.


HealthFlex provides 8 FREE sessions per issue per family member per year, so there is no cost within that time frame. If you continue with counseling after the 8 free sessions, for the same issue, they are covered under the plan provisions of your health plan.


Participants use the EAP for help with things like:

  • Conflict resolution at work
  • Maintaining boundaries between professional life and personal life
  • Emotional impact of living with chronic or serious illness, or caring for an ailing family member
  • Stress, anxiety or depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Marital and family satisfaction


In addition, there is a “live and work well” component that provides resources that can help with:

  • Legal matters, such as wills and adoption
  • Finding child care or elder care in your community


There is a dedicated team at Optum Health who has been trained specifically for the HealthFlex EAP to assist UMC members and their families. The dedicated team can be reached at 1-866-881-6800.


The EAP can be accessed online, by phone and in-person. Log in to the HealthFlex/WebMD website, click on “My HealthFlex Benefits” and choose “Counseling - Support Resources - EAP”.


You can also download the myliveandworkwell mobile app to learn about EAP services and locate providers.


Be safe and well and find lots of reasons to smile today!




Shawn-Marie Riley

Benefits Administrator

Center for Leadership & Administration



COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund

TMF has funded a $250,000 COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to provide support to churches and non-profits who are already collaborating with people and communities who may be most affected by COVID-19. Click the above link to read more. 

       Communication in these COVID-19 Times


Keeping Connected

Free Conference Call https://www.freeconferencecall.com/ is a free conference calling service as an option for churches. Feedback from another conference indicates that they have used it successfully.  It does have a 1000 participant limit.



https://www.phonevite.com/signup/ is a fee-based “Telephone Tree” service for getting out specific messages reliably to a specific list of phone numbers. There is a non-profit price available (4 cents per call). Standard pricing is 5 cents per call.  It places a recorded message on their web server and then calls the list of phone numbers you provide and plays back the message.

Resources for churches from Amplify Media: