Posted: 7/26/20 at 2:00pm. Post by Tony Brooks.
In the middle of March 2020, our ministry changed overnight. Pastors needed to learn how to use technology in ways they never wanted to imagine.
Pastoral Care: To stay connected to their sick, hospitalized, and homebound members, they could not get in their car and just go visit them to provide comfort. They had to get creative in letting them know they are loved and cared for.
They had to go back to phone calls, text, emails and more to stay in touch with families in the church. My Pastor, Dr. Todd Blake, started a Zoom meeting once a week for 10 minutes with the children of the church.
All the while you are caring in new ways, you miss the hugs, the gentle hands on the shoulders of saints and more. You often feel you are not doing enough, and guilt takes over.
Providing Leadership: Gatherings of 10 or more were not allowed. Questions arose, such as, How do we keep leadership informed, have business meetings and church council meetings? I have worked with several pastors on how to use Zoom and free conference calls to make this happen. It is not the same, but it’s part of our new reality for a while.
Sharing God’s Word: Pastors were spending hours to prepare sermons and Bible studies in the past. Now in addition to continuing those, they also have to learn Facebook Live, livestreaming in other ways, how to get sermons and Bible studies to persons with no internet, learning technology to do all of this, and for some, even how to do drive-in worship.
Preparing to Regather or Waiting to Regather: Pastors have wrestled with the safety of regathering, guidelines, and how to get leadership on board. For those who are waiting, you wonder if people will come back. Is the risk of spreading the virus greater than losing your job? Some have already lost their jobs.
In regathering, some members want masks required…some don’t. Some want singing…some don’t. Many of you have regathered with every safety precaution, only to see 25-30% of your membership come back. You have been faithful to continue to livestream and possibly are doing drive-in worship at the same time. ALL are important to the body of Christ.
Your worst fear, which affects you every Sunday, is someone will not follow guidelines who has the virus and doesn’t know. This has happened in churches. Set a policy now with leaders on how to handle this. Don’t wait until you have a case.
Vision on the backburner: In 2019, you had great plans for outreach and new ministries in 2020. Most of those plans are still waiting.
Worship Leaders and other staff are just as weary: I met with Worship Leaders/Ministers of Music today by Zoom. They have been stretched with technology and how to do music.
So what happens now, during the last part of July and first part of August? ABIDE! It is time for every Pastor, staff member, and church family to abide. Will you take the next 30 days to find ways to rest, abide in Christ, and recreate?
Huddles: In 2011 when I came back to Virginia to work for the BGAV, I was a Field Strategist as well as the Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist. I was invited to be in a huddle around the book, Building a Discipling Culture, through the Spence Network (now Uptick). It changed my understanding of abiding.
Abiding, pruning, and growing are required before fruitfulness. Fruitfulness will not happen in the long term without abiding, pruning, and growing. I would suggest providing your church members a small prayer guide to know what abiding, pruning, and growing looks like.
Creativity doesn’t happen without abiding. All of us need some time to recreate as we abide. What energizes you? What inspires you? What helps you rest?
We need leaders–clergy and members–to abide right now as we prepare for fruitfulness.