Six New Things

Ramadon Mubarak! (Blessed Ramadan!) That’s one way to greet our Muslim neighbors as they begin their month-long observance of Ramadan. Another greeting might include an invitation to study together – and Neighbors: Christians and Muslims Building Community (WJK) might be just the book! With study guides and links to additional resources it could be a great way to get to know our neighbors and build community – even in the midst of distancing! And/or: Invite your congregation to learn more about the real history of Islam in America with The Princess and the Prophet: The Secret History of Magic, Race and the Moorish Muslims in America (Beacon).

Engage all ages in the broader topic with The ABC’s of Diversity: Helping Kids (and Ourselves!) Embrace Our Differences (Chalice). Pre-order now and get free access to a webinar with the authors July 1, 2020.

Get inspired to put that newfound awareness into action with American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country (HarperCollins). It’s easy to share with an online group discussion guide!

Or, for Covid-specific outreach inspiration, check out James Hamblin’s article in The Atlantic, Why Some People Get Sicker Than Others: COVID-19 is proving to be a disease of the immune system. Does that make it easier or harder to control? (April 21, 2020) (Read all the way to the end for maximum “call to ministry” impact.) AND/OR: UTS D.Min. student, Rev. Tanya Sadagopan, Every Day Faith Every Day Life article Faith Fault Lines in a Pandemic.

Recognize that a lot of disdain for difference comes from a lack of loving one’s self? Share You’re a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass): Embracing the Emotions, Habits and History that Make You You (Penguin) and develop greater self-awareness and affection!

For more time looking inward, check out the poem Still and Praying with Color (Upper Room); for group reflection, you might find 99 Prayers Your Church Needs (But Doesn’t Know It Yet): Prayers for Unpredictable and Unusal Times (Chalice) helpful.

For leaders who need a little refresh and renewal:

Try Shalem Institute’s Living and Leading from the Spiritual Heart in a Time of Heightened Anxiety: A Free Virtual Retreat Day for Clergy; AND/OR register with Emily ( for the Ministry Lab’s newly-forming online contemplative group, meeting Wednesdays from 2:00-2:30 for a Midweek Renew.

Leaders might also find Lewis Center for Church Leadership’s blog Pastoral Care in the Coronavirus Crisis helpful; LeaderWise is facilitating a free online conversation with leaders about resilience – for ourselves and others; and UTS Professor Karen Hutt will lead a Ministry Lab webinar on Resilience and Innovation on Tuesday, May 12 at 2:00 pm: register at On a more pragmatic note: worship planners may find Vanderbilt Library’s website upgrades really helpful for planning online worship.

And we dare not leave our youth behind! Get inspired by and with your young people with Delighted: What Teenagers Are Teaching the Church about Joy (Eerdmans) and invite your families to share Ancient Stories for Modern Times: 50 Short Wisdom Tales for All Ages (Skinner).

Check out upcoming webinars and daily offerings from The Ministry Lab! Our new lineup includes:

  • Mondays – Six New Things;
  • Tuesdays – Co-Labs (webinars for developing intention, resilience and resources);
  • Wednesdays – Midweek Renew (contemplative practices led by Rev. Emily Meyer or Ministry Lab colleagues);
  • Thursdays – a video story / sermon based on RCL texts for the coming Sunday (cute title and link are forthcoming);
  • Fridays – written Reflection appropriate to the week’s text or reality