A first online event for ministry leaders offered pastors strategies as many churches are venturing back to in-person services. 

"These curated conversations are really to support the missions and the churches that are involved in MissionFest in a new way, besides the one weekend that we have each year," says Alison Wells-Dyck, the Volunteer Coordinator with the MissionFest team. "Our goal is to offer this sort of event three or four times a year."

Last Wednesday the group put on their first curated conversation event called Stepping Back into Ministry - with Footprints of COVID.

"It went really well. We had about 32 people that attended from all over, a number of different provinces and states," says Wells-Dyck. 

This event was held online, which allowed ministry leaders to connect from far away.

"It was interesting to realize just how much our world has changed through the pandemic, and how families that were already in crisis are in even more crisis. We talked about how as a church we need to rethink how we're going to include people back into ministries."

The keynote speakers were a husband and wife team, Lynn and Ruby Johnston. The couple shared rising statistics when it comes to domestic issues. 

"Things like alcoholism, domestic violence, suicidal ideation, and suicide have grown, especially within our youth. It just means more people are hurting so we can't just start over as if nothing happened."

While it was an online event, there was a time of interaction between participants. 

"There was an opportunity for small group discussions in the breakout rooms as well as an opportunity for questions."

Another focus topic was self-care. 

"We talked about how important it is for people in ministry to take care of themselves because you can't take care of people if you're in a bad space yourself. We did a burnout quiz and then give ourselves a score. They presented 12 strategies that churches could use to start recognizing and thinking about people's needs."

The main MissionFest weekend event will be happening regardless of restrictions in February 2022. This means depending on COVID rules, they will meet in person, online, or a hybrid of the two. Details will be released closer to the date.