At the end of October, the MissionFest team is hoping to inspire church leaders in getting their ministries up and running after the pandemic.
"Historically MissionFest has been a yearly gathering," says Alison Wells-Dyck, a volunteer coordinator with MissionFest. It's most often held at a big church in Winnipeg over the course of three days.
Since 2020 and 2021 MissionFest cancelled their yearly events due to the pandemic, they are putting on a smaller online event before their main event.
"Our event in October is a little bit different. It's something new that we've added to the MissionFest roster. We are having an evening with a webinar hosted by Lynn and Ruby Johnston. They are the Executive Director of an organization called Lamb International. They are experts in trauma training," says Wells-Dyck.
The event is being held on October 27 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm, specifically for ministry leaders. It's called Stepping Back into Ministry - with Footprints of COVID.
"We started asking questions like how has the pandemic impacted our families? How do we recreate safe spaces for families? What strategies can we use to help the adults in our own ministries keep healthy spiritually and emotionally? We'll also take a look at how trauma impacts the brain that evening," says the coordinator.
Speaking for a living, the Johnstons are no strangers to the effects of the pandemic. In March of 2020, rather than flying to countries around the world with their ministry, Lamb International was grounded like most, doing conferences and teaching online.
"One of the things MissionFest wanted to focus on is bringing people back together again. Recognizing that even pre-COVID, many people experienced all kinds of trauma issues. With COVID, it has really exacerbated a lot of those hurts. Domestic violence has increased dramatically, child abuse and neglect, suicide and suicidal ideation. So with all of these increases, we're seeing the impact of that," says Ruby.
She shares that churches shouldn't expect the same old thing, but rather be equipped to love and help people where they are at as people start to gather again.
"We have to do church differently," says Ruby.
The February event for MissionFest is set to be held regardless of COVID restrictions. If possible, the conference will be held in person, but if not, it will either be a hybrid or online event.