[Updated on November 24, 2020]
Wasn’t it Moses who said, “After open-air gatherings and pulpits, your best platform is the internet?” Oh wait, the web was born after Moses!
The point remains that the internet is now a significant—and unavoidable—part of many people’s lives.
In the wake of COVID-19, this page is designed to provide pastors and church leaders with free, online resources to help them glorify God and continue making and equipping disciples of Christ in these uncertain times.
Here is what you fill find on this page:
- Videos for Worship or Social Media
- Illustrations and Stories for Sermons or Blogs
- Daily Devotionals
- Advice for Social Media and YouTube
- Family Devotional Resources
- Inspirational Pictures and Quotes
- Content related to Coronavirus
- Other Suggestions
New Leadership Email List called “Belieder Resources”
I’ve also started a new email list for leaders who would like to receive occasional emails with helpful resources or content. It will be called “Belieder Resources” and you can sign-up by clicking here. This will include updates and additions to this page. [Believer + Leader = Belieder!]
Videos for Worship or Social Media
Videos can be very effective in worship or on social media. Since we are increasingly visual, they can remind us about biblical truths in an inspiring way.
Here are some free short videos for use on social media or in worship (wide-angle format). I created them with free software, and used music that was free and which requires no copyright information to be displayed—most of the music was from the YouTube audio library. You can’t use the videos to sell anything.
I’ve intentionally made most of them under a minute so that they can be used on Instagram as well. They’re particularly effective at the start of a worship service, or to set up (or conclude) a sermon.
Here are the file names:
- [New, November 2020] – Song: Gather As The Wounded Saviour (new words to Beethoven’s Hymn to Joy)
- [New, November 2020] – Video – The Gospel (explanation)
- [New, October 2020] – Video – Children of God
- [New, October 2020] – Video – Providence
- Video – God’s Comfort
- Video – Psalm 139
- Video – Glory of God
- Video – Joy
- Video – God Provides
- Video – Jesus I Am Sayings
- Video – Scriptures about Faith
- Video – Scriptures about God With Us
- Video – Scriptures about Love
- Video – Scriptures about Hearing from God
- Video – Scriptures about Hope
- Video – Scriptures about the Power of God
Click on the file title to access each video in my public Dropbox folder. You can get the files even if you don’t have Dropbox. If you don’t see a ‘download’ option, go to ‘Open’ and then choose to see the file in it’s folder. From there you can copy and paste it into your own computer/phone files.
You should note that in some of these videos I didn’t include the Bible version. When they are not present you’ll want to note that they are taken from the NIV, ESV, NLT or CSB.
Illustrations and Stories for Sermons or Blogs
Here are stories and/or illustrations that I find particularly inspiring and useful for teaching. As Jesus demonstrated, stories and illustrations can be effective when making a point.
It should be noted, however, that it’s important to choose the right one. Although stories are memorable, they should never eclipse the point you are trying to make which should always be prayerfully rooted in the biblical text. Stories support biblical truths, not the other way around.
When using a story, be sure to site the source (not me, but the original source identified in the text).
- [New] November, 2020: 12-further-stories-for-teaching-or-preaching-2020-11
- May 1, 2020: 10 more Stories for Teaching or Preaching – 2020 05
- March 2020: 10 Stories for Teaching or Preaching – 2020 03
Daily devotionals are just that—short reflections about faith and life (devotionals) that come out daily.
As some of you know, I write a daily devotional called “Up!” Beginning in 2015, it’s been a consistent and practical way for people to easily (and quickly) think about how their Christian faith intersects with their daily life.
For free, I invite you to consider one of these three options:
- Visit the “Up!” home base at www.TheUpDevo.com to search for (and share) content on your online platforms.
- Encourage people to sign up themselves for direct delivery five mornings a week here.
- Cut and paste devotionals into your bulletins, emails, social media platforms etc.
I believe that Christians should be reading their Bibles every day. The more you get into God’s word, the more God’s word gets into you.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Here is a blog called “Discipleship Manual” with a suggested reading schedule you can share with your people. It was originally designed to be used in Lent, but it can be used at any time.
- For smart phones, download the free YouVersion Bible app which comes with suggested reading plans.
- Children might enjoy the ‘Bible For Kids’ app (also from YouVersion) that takes them through well-known stories and includes interactive questions and activities.
- The Action Bible is a great resource for children in elementary school which depicts the biblical stories with comic book graphics. [Click here to learn more.]
- Consider ordering a Study Bible online. Here are five suggestions (and descriptions) of Study Bibles that I use personally.
Advice for Social Media and YouTube
Social Media (SM)
A lot of people spend time on social media. It can be helpful to be a part of the online conversations people are already having. As I read through the Gospels we see that Jesus had a tendency to meet people where they were, whether that be on a hillside, city street, or by the shore. This is one of the ways we can think about using social media in the church today—meeting people “where they are.”
This is a picture/video based platform and is increasingly popular. A lot of people have migrated from Facebook to Instagram as their preferred SM site. I’ve heard it described as “Facebook without the drama.” Keep in mind that you can’t “share” and “link” to third-party content (except in your bio), and most people can’t post videos over 1-minute long.
Even though younger people are more likely to use Instagram, or increasingly TikTok, Facebook continues to be the monster and reaches across generational lines. You can “share” and “link” to third-party content.
In short, a Facebook “Page” is more static; only authorized people can post content. People can “like” a page individually, or you can “invite” them to like it. A “Group” is more interactive and other members of the Group (whom you have to invite into the Group) can post content. You should enable your settings so that posts need to first be approved by an administrator.
One thing to keep in mind is what you can or can’t post, and who has the authority to do so. These decisions shouldn’t be made by one person. A church’s elders should decide on what platforms to use (if they haven’t already), and set some guidelines around usage (i.e. getting permission before you post a photo, special sensitivity around children and vulnerable people etc.) Someone should also monitor comments, and quickly remove or address remarks that are inappropriate. Keep in mind that SM can swallow your time whole if you let it. To guard against this, set parameters and black-out periods for your own mental sanity.
YouTube is a popular video site. Some churches have created their own ‘Channel.’ The channel can be used to host live-streamed events (if you have the in-house equipment), and it can also be used simply to upload videos and messages. [To see an example here’s mine.] One of the positive aspects of YouTube is that it can be a kind of video home base for your video content. It’s also easily shareable on various platforms.
Family Devotional Resources
As I’ve written previously, the home is the primary place for faith formation. Although organized church programs play an important role, they are down the list. Since church buildings (and many programs) are currently closed it is vital for families to be growing in their faith together.
Here are two Bible-based activities that might be helpful. More will be on the way soon:
- In the fall/winter of 2020-2021 we are encouraging families to participate in each week’s faith-at-home focus. New ideas can be found weekly at Westminster’s blog here.
- In the summer of 2020 we encouraged families to go through this ‘bingo card’ to find activities that suit their schedules. Click here to read more.
- [New on July 21, 2020]: Reason – 2020 06 21 – Family Devotional – Reason – Westminster PC
- Table: Family Devotional – Table – Westminster PC – 2020 06 07
- Big Basics: Family Devotional – Big Basics – Westminster PC – 2020 05 22
- Poweroom: Family Devotional – Poweroom – Westminster PC – 2020 05 10
- Identity: Family Devotional – Identity – Westminster- 2020 03 15
- God’s Love: Family Devotional – God’s Love – M Ruttan – 2020 03
- Closer: Family Devotional – Closer – Westminster PC – 2020 03 29
- Control & Trust: Family Devotional – Control & Trust – Westminster PC – 2020 03 22
- Heroes: Family Devotional – Heroes – Westminster PC – 2020 04 12
- Create: Family Devotional – Create – Westminster PC – 2020 04 19
Inspirational Pictures and Quotes
Here is a Dropbox link to 103 Scripture-based graphics and quotes. [Click here.] They include the 18 additions from May 26, 2020. [The latest additions start with “c-“] These can be useful for social media, before or during worship on your screen(s), in emails or on print materials. There’s no need to credit me.
Content related to Coronavirus
There is a lot of information (and misinformation) in circulation about COVID-19. Not much of it is faith-based. So here are a few blog posts I did (and an interview) that might help people reflect on what is happening through a Christian lens:
- A Motto for a Pandemic (written with Richard Topping, Principal of the Vancouver School of Theology)
- Coping with our broken illusion of control
- Tips for a more robust prayer life
- Tips for worshiping in front of a screen
- The heartache of our children during COVID-19
- [The Gospel Coalition Canada] God cares about your well-being, even now
- Your mental health — now more than ever
- Living with uncertainty indefinitely
- How to calm and relax your mind
- 6 ways to be loving in a pandemic [March 14, 2020]
- Interview: Cornoavirus, Perspective & Love [18-minute interview with Life 100.3FM] [March 16, 2020]
- Coronavirus, Fear & Faith [March 12, 2020]
- Graphics: A free graphics-making site is www.Canva.com.
- Online appointments: Meetings or appointments can be facilitated through platforms like Facebook, FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom (my personal favourite).
Updates to this page and additional content will go out through the newly created “Belieder Emails.” You can sign-up by clicking here.