COVID-19 has changed the landscape of almost everything humans do. I mean—think about it—has any day cone by in the past four months where you have not somehow been disrupted or interrupted by this virus? So many routines have changed.
Pastoring is no different. In a few short weeks many of us had to become tech support, live stream aficionados, Zoom meeting schedulers, and home school teachers. We are like many others who have to do the same thing—those kind and loving members of our congregations who had to change their approach to everything. Different, though, is that our “job” includes those people.
I’ve spent time—lots of time—interacting with my pastor friends during the past weeks and months. I don’t speak for all of them, but I definitely speak for some of them. Take a walk through our minds as I share these five things pastors are thinking during the pandemic (especially if your church isn’t “meeting” yet).
We are always thinking about our response
Not a day goes by where we aren’t thinking about our members, our approach to the pandemic, how we are doing, how the budget is doing, etc. We read the articles, watch the news conferences, pray, pray, and pray, talk to our friends in ministry, and keep going. Yes, at times, news is conflicting; that’s always the case as we try and learn abut something new. Still, we stay up on it because we always want to make the best decisions. Speaking of reading and staying up on things. . .
Yes, we read that John MacArthur article
For churches that haven’t met publicly in our buildings (I emphasize it like that because there are many ways our churches have been connecting), we are certainly aware of the churches who disagree with our approach. We read these articles. We also read the rebuttals. We read them and go back to the Lord and we ask him to give us clarity. Rinse and repeat. This is still so new (don’t think it isn’t) and we are continuing to figure out if our response honors the Lord. But we also know this . . .
No, we aren’t sure what is “best”—no one is sure—but we need your grace
Every Sunday we proclaim—in person or online—that Christ is Lord. Every Sunday we preach the gospel. Every Sunday we are asking those listening to trust Jesus. We know those truths for sure and will bet our lives on them. Pastors deal in truth.
However, there are many things that we are being asked to be sure of and have some type of strong position on that are far outside our wheelhouse (I know no epidemiologists). We are always going to try and make the best decisions, but we need your grace because, really, everyone is trying to make their best decisions. Even imperfect pastors.
Maybe chill on social media
This doesn’t need to be something we think during a pandemic, it is secretly something we think this all the time. Still, we definitely think about it during a pandemic.
We love our church and want to meet together, too
When I say “meet” here I mean in the “old” way. We want our larger congregation together. We love it. In the mean time, we graciously roll with the ways we have to adjust. We take smaller meetings. We Zoom. We pray for folks. We counsel. We offer advice. We check in on people. We talk to friends whose loved ones may die. And we will continue to.
And many of those outside-the-building things you can do, too. Call someone. Check in on them. Pray for them. Show them the love of Jesus. Bring them food. It doesn’t take a pastor to do this, just a life changed by Jesus.
If the church really isn’t a building, then we still need to show it. Biblical faith has endured victories in battle, beheadings, exiles, and exhaustion. It can, and will, endure a pandemic. This much we know.