Chapter 9: Beauty from Ashes

Without a doubt, the pandemic was one of the most difficult seasons the modern church has ever faced. Although COVID-19 brought an immeasurable amount of pain, grief, and anxiety to churches and pastors, there was beauty to be found. In the face of all the church endured, the theme of the beauty of ashes remained constant throughout our interviews with pastors and leaders. It was a tangible reminder that for people of faith there is always hope, no matter the circumstances.

Through focus groups, interviews, community case studies, and survey responses, pastors pointed to a number of unexpected blessings that would not have occurred had they not endured the adversity of the pandemic. In addition to cultivating a new unity in many local congregations, the pandemic also revealed the character of many churches, whether highlighting a beauty that is easily taken for granted or providing the refined fire that transformed their congregation into a more image-like image. Christ. For some, the pandemic pause allowed for a respite and for the Holy Spirit to take control.

Based on Chapter 9 of the report, in this episode host Aaron Hill (ChurchSalary editor) sits down with two Arbor Research Group researchers, Ebonie Davis and Jon Swanson, to discuss the topic of “beauty in ashes.” This episode also features an interview with two incredible pastors, Daniel Shmitz and Demetries Edwards, located in Oakland, California, who began a new partnership during the pandemic to reach out and bring healing to their community.

Brought to you by Aaron Hill, ChurchSalary Editor

“COVID and the Church” is produced in conjunction with the Tree Research Group and funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. through a grant from Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders (ECFPL) initiative.

Executive produced by Aaron Hill, Terry Linhart and Matt Stevens.

The director of CT Media is Matt Stevens

The audio engineer, editor and composer is Tyler Bradford Wright.

Artwork by Ryan Johnson

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