pre-DMin 298 Pastoring in Times of Crisis (Online Zoom Class)

Course Level:

South East Asian Theological Schools, Inc. pre-DMin 298 Pastoring in Times of Crisis
Michael J. Fast, Ph.D. 6 Units [12 hours online class]
Classes will be held Jan 11, 13, 15, 25, 27, & 29, 2021, 10AM-12PM Manila (UTC +8)
Classes will be held Jan 10, 12, 14, 24, 26, & 29, 2021, 8-10PM CST, 6-8PM PST


The SEATS D.Min. Program’s goal is to develop leaders who are able to translate the Christian faith into local Asian contexts so that the deep cultural artifacts that exist in these contexts can also be impacted by the Good News of Jesus Christ. One key aspect to that is how the church deals with crisis, particularly crises as influential as the COVID-19 crisis of 2020. The COVID-19 crisis introduced many unexpected (but not necessarily unanticipated) changes into society as a whole and to the church in particular. This class will help pastors and church leaders navigate these changes. Focussing on reflections that lead to actions, this class will help the student begin the process of ministering in the new normal. This class is a part of the SEATS pre-D.Min. program and is an online class that will have 6 1.5-hour sessions.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this Course you should have demonstrated growth in the following areas:
1. A continually developing Biblical Theology of Disaster, Quarantine, and Isolation/Theology of Church Under Lockdown, or Church Scattered.
2. A deeper understanding of key issues that pastors face in times of crisis.
3. Practical ways to be the church during times of crisis.
4. The ability to take practical steps in doing theology in your context, including evaluating the times, dealing with opposing opinions and viewpoints, evaluating truth claims, learning when to adopt, when to adapt, and when to convert.
5. A deeper love for not only the church but for the world (in the sense that God loves the world too).
6. An understanding of how the unique features of the Philippine cultural context influence both reflection and action towards the new normal.

Learning Tasks (Assignments):

1. Your first learning task is to read through the set learning tasks given below (1 hour). You will be provided with a “contract” in which you affirm that you have read carefully through the learning tasks and commit yourself to completing them. As the purpose of the learning tasks is for you to provide evidence that you have made measurable progress towards the learning outcomes, I encourage your creativity and ownership by suggesting alternative tasks that better suit your learning style. However, your suggested task(s) must involve a comparable amount of out-of-class effort and must serve the learning outcomes. If you are interested in designing an alternative learning task or tasks, I encourage you to speak with me, and I will assist you in the process.

2. Choose one of the following:

a. Document what your church is doing during the various government-mandated responses for COVID-19. Be specific. Discuss what has been harder. Discuss what has been easier. Discuss things that you stopped doing that were regular before. Discuss what new things you have done that haven’t been done before. Think about how your COVID-19 experience will impact your church in the future. Output: 5 pages.

b. Document how your church is dealing with social issues. Be specific. Output: 5 pages.

3. Read the five articles (Baer, Blanchard et al, Crouch et al, Nieuwhof, and Payne) that make predictions on the directions this prolonged uncertainty may take. Do you agree with what the articles are saying? Do you disagree? What do you think are going to be long-term effects of this crisis? What are the implications of that for the way you do ministry? Output: 5 pages.

4. What is your main source of input during ECQ? News? Social Media? Presidential Addresses? Blog posts? Bible? Online learning? Sermons from other churches? Journal your ECQ experience. What can you celebrate? What have you done well? What do you think Jesus would say to you right now? If you need help in knowing what to write, use Haritz’ “Debriefing-Writing Prompts” as a guide. Output: 300 words per day = 1200 words total (5 pages).

5. What are you doing to help your church members cope with the crisis? Create 10 ten-minute VLOGS for your church to use during this crisis. Output: DMin Students: Create 10 ten-minute VLOGs for your church to use during this crisis. MMin/DiplMin Students: 10 5-minute VLOGs for your church to use during this crisis.

6. Choose one of the following:

a. Some are saying that the government is restricting freedoms by making churches close. Some churches in the USA have violated laws by remaining open. What do you think? When is it right for a church to violate the law? When is it not right to violate the law? What if being the church and government regulations are in conflict? At what point can we disobey man rather than God? Output: 5 pages.

b. There has been a lot of talk in the church about social issues such as racism, critical race, theory, corruption, etc. What do you think? How does your church engage these social crises? What theories should churches use as the basis for their engagement or lack thereof? Is it possible for a church to be interested in social issues without using social theories? I have included some resources below to help you understand some of the issues (see articles by Eaton, Fitch, Hamron, Keller, and Stackhouse). Output: 5 pages.

7. Group discussions will be an integral part of each class session.

Learning Activities:

As time permits, we will seek to investigate some or all of the following:

• Biblical Theology of Disaster, Quarantine, and Isolation. Theology of Church Under Lockdown, or Church Scattered, including Vencer’s developments of church gathered and church scattered.
• Why does God allow suffering? Including Carl Sagan’s cosmological timeline (Idea of unlimited eternity vs limited time)
• Lament.
• Philippine cultural artifacts.
• Practical ways to be the church during crisis.

As appropriate, class sessions will include some or all of the following:

• Personal testimonies, in which students will seek to connect great doctrines to their own
• spiritual experiences
• Small-group discussion of key issues through analytic, synthetic and evaluative questions
• Reflection on case studies in light of key theological issues
• Movie clips and theological reflection

Learning Resources:

Abante, R. (April 29, 2020). Something to think about... for my fellow pastors... [Facebook post]. Retrieved from

American Bible Society. (2020) Trauma Healing Institute: Covid-19 response resources. Retrieved from

Aten, J. D. (April 12, 2019). The radical power of lament. Sojourners: faith in action for social justice. Retrieved from

Aten, J. & Annan, K. (n.d.). Coronavirus (COVID-19) Church Planning Template. Wheaton College Humanitarian Disaster Institute. Retrieved from

Aten, J., & Boan, D. (2012). Tip sheet: Disaster spiritual care points of consensus. Wheaton, IL: Humanitarian Disaster Institute, Wheaton College.

Baer, M. (2020). Welcome, New Pastor, to Our Empty Church. Christianity Today. Retrieved from

Blanchard, D., Crouch, A., Hart, J., Kauffmann, S., and Nardella, J. L. (2020) Strategies for Winter: Redemptive Leadership in Survival Times. The Praxis Journal. April 23, 2020. Retrieved from

Crouch, A., Keilhacker, K., and Blanchard, D. (2020). Leading Beyond the Blizzard: Why Every Organization Is Now a Startup. The Praxis Journal. March 20, 2020. Retrieved from

Dyer, J. (2020). What is an (online, virtual, broadcast, local) church? Some helpful distinctions. Retrieved from

Eaton, J. (September 2020). Hope for a Racially divided nation. Converge Point Magazine. Retrieved from

Frost, M. (2020). 35 ways to love your neighbors right now. April 16, 2020. Retrieved from

Hamren, K. (July 3, 2020). Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Marxism, and Biblical Ethics: Looking at Marxism and Critical Race Theory in light of the problem of racism in America. The Exchange with Ed Stetzer. Christianity Today Blog Forum. Retrieved from

Hartz, S. (2006-2017). “Debriefing Writing Prompts.” Retrieved from

Joel News. How the early church handled two devastating epidemics. Retrieved from

Laxton, J. (May 5, 2020). Three Questions Sufferers Ask Jesus; Three Responses Jesus Gives. Retrieved from

Laxton, J. (May 6, 2020). Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 on the Church in America. Retrieved from

Milstein, G. (2019). Disasters, Psychological Traumas, and Religions: Resiliencies Examined. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 11:6, 559–562.

Ministry Brands. (2020). Coping with COVID-19: Insights from Church Leaders. Retrieved from

Nieuwhof, C. (2020). 3 shocking statistics that show how quickly, radically (and permanently?) Church is changing in 2020. Carey Nieuwhof Blog. Retrieved from

Payne, J. D. (April 23, 2020). Church in a Post-Pandemic Society: What if Nothing Changes? Retrieved from

Pillay, J. (2020). COVID-19 Shows the Need to Make Church More Flexible. Transformation 37(4), pp. 266–275. Retrieved from

Piper, J. (2020). Coronavirus and Christ. Wheaton: Crossway. Retrieved from

Rah, Soong-Chan. (June 15, 2017). Lament is a necessary step toward healing. Sojourners: faith in action for social justice. Retrieved from

Stackhouse, J. (August 6, 2020). Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 1. Retrieved from

Stackhouse, J. (August 13, 2020). Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 2. Retrieved from

Stackhouse, J. (August 20, 2020). Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 3. Retrieved from

Stackhouse, J. (August 27, 2020). Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 4. Retrieved from

Stackhouse, J. (August 27, 2020). Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Responses. Retrieved from

Tearfund. ([2020]). Lament: parts 1 and 2. Retrieved from

Tearfund. ([2020]). Generosity in a time of crisis. Retrieved from

Tearfund. ([2020]). Covid-19: Seven important roles churches can play. Retrieved from

Tearfund. ([2020]). Creative use of digital technology. Retrieved from

Valerio, R. & Heugh, G. (n.d.). A Christian perspective on COVID-19. Tearfund. Retrieved from

Vencer, A. (2004). Church Scattered – Church Gathered diagram. 04 Functional Church Powerpoint Presentation. Discipling a Whole Nation Faculty Institute.

World Evangelical Alliance. The Holy Week in Lockdown: Reflecting on the cross and resurrection during a pandemic. ([2020]) Retrieved from


Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. Faith and Covid-19 Resource Repository.

Tearfund. (2020). COVID-19 Resources: Practical.


Pentecostal World Fellowship World Missions Commission. PWF: Covid-19 – recommendations for churches and global leaders. Retrieved from

Piper, J. God’s (March 12, 2018) God’s Sovereign plans behind your most unproductive days. Retrieved from

Piper, J. (2020). John Piper on Coronavirus and Christ. Retrieved from

Villanueva, F. (2020). Lament Sermon preached at Proclaim Christ Until He Comes Church on April 25, 2020. Retrieved from

Wheaton Humanitarian Disaster Institute.

Mutual Commitments:

Because this class is a pre-D.Min. class, the primary responsibilities lie on you, the student, in learning. This class is also conducted in a modular format, which means that many of the activities will need to be done by you outside of class. Having said that, I am fully committed to helping you on your journey towards being the minister of the gospel that you would like to be! Here is what I am expecting from you and what you can expect from me as we journey together.

What I expect from you as an emerging leader in the service of Christ:

1. I expect you to be diligent in preparing thoroughly for each session.
2. I expect you to submit work on time, or, if this is not possible, to request an extension adequately in advance of the deadline.
3. I expect you to participate fully and constructively in all course activities and discussions.
4. I expect you to show respect towards other students, being sensitive to national, cultural, gender and other individual differences, and listening courteously when others speak in class.
5. I expect you to provide accurate and constructive feedback on the course content and methodology that will help me as I teach this course and when I teach this material again in the future.

My commitments to you are:

1. I will prepare carefully for each class session.
2. I will encourage reciprocity and cooperation among you as a class of emerging leaders.
3. I will emphasize time on task, making the best use of the available time to promote quality learning.
4. I will promote active learning, respecting diverse talents and learning styles.
5. I will provide adequate opportunity outside of the class session times for you to discuss the course material with me.
6. I will do my best to provide prompt feedback on your work.

Online Class Requirements:

Because this in an online class, students will have some extra steps to follow in completing the requirements.
• Zoom app. The zoom app can be downloaded for free from It is available for computers, tablets, and phones.
• Because this is the most convenient time for both the teacher and the students:
Classes will be held Jan 11, 13, 15, 25, 27, & 29, 2021, 10:00AM-12:00PM Manila (UTC +8)
Classes will be held Jan 10, 12, 14, 24, 26, & 29, 2021, 8:00-10:00PM Saskatoon CST
Classes will be held Jan 10, 12, 14, 24, 26, & 29, 2021, 6:00-8:00PM Sacramento PST
• Assignments must be submitted via email to

Contact Information:

I am available most times via email or social media to work with you. We can also set up an appointment to get together and discuss any issues or questions you may have. You can contact me via email at I am also on Facebook at and WhatsApp at 1-306-229-1710.