BEREA, Ky. (KT) — Danny Davis felt a sense of urgency when the COVID-19 pandemic began taking root across the nation and wanted to give pastors in the Tates Creek Baptist Association an opportunity to talk about the current health crisis that has affected our nation, state and our world.
He began the dialogue by offering “Coffee and Convo” on Tuesday-Friday at 9 a.m., which has since been narrowed down to each Tuesday and Thursday with less than 10 attendees. Davis said from the beginning there has been “no set agenda.”
“We share scriptures and then ultimately end in prayer, each of us praying around the table,” Davis said. “Typically, these gatherings ran between an hour to an hour and a half. The men seemed to be very encouraged by these opportunities and they appeared to be grateful that we could gather informally like this.”
Davis, association mission strategist for 40 churches in the TCBA, said the group has stayed within the social distancing guidelines since the beginning stages of the pastoral sessions. Davis said the lowest number has been two attendees with a high of “five or six” at one time.
“Throughout it all, we have stayed — by God's provision — at less than 10 attendees,” Davis said. “We've practiced careful social distancing and have made the office a safe environment for everyone. But we feel these gatherings have been vital in a time when pastors are dealing with so much, and when all of us are dealing with increased isolation. Truly, "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
Davis said he loves conversing with local pastors and enjoys the overall fellowship.”
“I do a lot of one-on-one meetings over coffee or lunch. I also like being a connector, putting pastors together with other pastors who don't know one another or who could be enriched by each other's fellowship,” he said. “With the closing down of restaurants, there was no more opportunity to do that. So I felt led to have casual coffee gatherings at the office, with a highly spiritual purpose.”
Many of those conversations have generated creative ideas for ministering to church members while separated from the local fellowship.
“We've talked a lot about digital and online ministry,” he said. “We talk about the spiritual implications of all that is happening and what church ministry will look like on the other side of all this. We're talking about how we can effectively minister to our community as this moves forward.
“We discuss meaningful scriptures that have spoken to us in recent days. We talk about what each of the men are preaching or plan on preaching. We've reviewed the previous Sundays when many used Facebook Live for the first time. We talked about how it went and how to improve it.”
Davis said he has gotten a good response from pastors who have attended the small group sessions, while others have “expressed regret that they haven’t been able to make it yet.”
“This absolutely is a good way to relieve stress on the pastors,” Davis said. “They're reminded that we're not alone in this. It is good to be able to debrief and speak freely in a safe place.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.