On March 12th of 2020, I was on my way to Clarkdale, Arizona to present our first-ever Native American Leadership Training Series (NALTS) training.  As we drove west through Texas down I-40 just crossing the New Mexico state line, email messages began popping up on my phone.  Then, my coworker, Julie Thomas called and asked me how far along I was on the trip to Arizona and if the training had been canceled.  I responded to Julie a bit perplexed and mildly concerned about the end result of the Strategic Planning training for Native and Intercultural churches.  I found a rest stop just a few miles past the Texas border and pulled in to check my emails.  I had an email from my supervisor, Salvador Orellana the Director of Intercultural Ministries, who was checking on my status and location as well.  After a few email exchanges, we waited about an hour before we finally got confirmation to proceed.  At that point, the coronavirus was just beginning to show up across the United States. No one had any idea of how things would change so dramatically and so fast.

I shared in my last story from March we successfully realized our training on March 13th.  It has been quite a shift since that day.  In the meantime, all of ABHMS has gone to a telework plan having most staff working from home.  So the work and opportunity to provide these training for 2020 dramatically changed.  We shifted as quickly as we could to make this available through an online program to offer this to our Native American and Intercultural leaders.  As I share this we have already offered our second training on June 12th on MinistrElife powered by Zoom meetings to host our next Strategic Planning training which was to be an in-person meeting in Anadarko, OK.  Native Ministries successfully hosted our third and last training of 2020 also on MinistrElife August 20th which was scheduled to be in Lodge Grass, MT; as a part of the American Baptist Indian Caucus National Indian Biennial. The event was ultimately canceled because of COVID-19.  Both of these Zoom training was successfully accomplished and provided a great start for our first year of NALTS.  For all three we had 53 total attendees with 47 of those being Native leaders and the other 6 were Latino leaders in Arizona.  I truly believe the strategic planning training was an excellent beginning.  It has given these church tools to strategically develop their mission, vision, and implementation for their futures.    

Now we are seeing some powerful possibilities using MinistrElife.  We are exploring as we go dealing with new realities in how we communicate and deliver new skills and knowledge to leaders.  What we plan to be is agile and innovative with our training. 

As we progress with these changing times the hope is to reach out to our Native Churches with some quality tools to help them advance their ministry and mission.  Look for more possibilities to come as we are moving into new territory to provide other training opportunities.  If you would like more information on upcoming program content from Native American Ministries feel free to email me at [email protected]


Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash