Jason Boone, coordinating minister for Mennonite Mission Network's Peace and Justice Support Network (PJSN), woke up March 17 with the COVID-19 pandemic heavy on his heart. He sensed a call for Mission Network to provide a new ministry of hope during harrowing times that could connect people of faith who are isolated from public worship and work.
He sent a round of emails to his colleagues, who resonated with his feelings. Together, they envisioned a new digital ministry initiative. Within hours, they began developing The Hope Series, a new live-streaming video series, in conjunction with staff members from the Marketing and Communication department.
"Our hope in using social media is that we make a space in which we can grow closer to God, create community, and to love our neighbors even within our isolation," Boone said.
Sandy Miller, Mission Network's senior executive for the division of Resourcing and Mobilization, and who also leads the Church Relations team, said, "Our goal in creating The Hope Series was to demonstrate how a heart for people is at the heart of our mission. We are about our world, our constituents, and the people we've employed. We want to lead the way in living out Christ's healing and hope."
With Facebook Live as the platform, staff implemented a Scripture and prayer focus Monday – Saturday; a weekly Hope around the World segment, led by the IPE directors; and a "Jesus as Healer" devotional Bible study led by Joe Sawatzky, Church Relations representative.
Stories in the series:
Introduction: A tale of two worlds and one God of abundant hope
Story 1: Distributing care packages; reformatting ministries
Story 2: Providing an emotional-spiritual "vaccine" for isolation
Story 3: Praying and caring for supporters
Story 4: Persevering in Christian Service programs
Story 5: Dismantling systemic racism