20 May Our World Will Never Be The Same
“Our world will never be the same.” I’ve heard that phrase numerous times over the past month. The Coronavirus has changed our perspectives. This virus has identified that we are more vulnerable than what we were aware. It also revealed that we are more adaptive than what we thought possible.
Over the centuries, the church has been called to minister (serve) in the midst of crises. Plagues, famines, natural disasters and man-made disasters have been a part of humanity’s experience throughout recorded history. Someone once defined a crisis as “an event that occurs where former coping mechanisms are no longer applicable.” Because our former coping mechanisms are not effective, we are knocked off center, and we are to some degree at a loss for what to do. This creates a mental and emotional crisis, with accompanying stress and anxiety.
Although our ministry is decidedly unique during this crisis, we have observed a wide variety of creative means by which pastors, ministers and believers are touching lives and serving the local church as well as demonstrating God’s love. Romans 8:28 is our hope and assurance: “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…”
Although physically visiting congregants is ill-advised, this crisis provides both an opportunity and a need to connect one-on-one with families from our churches. Peter admonishes his readers to “shepherd the flock,” which necessarily implies pastoral care. We cannot underestimate the value of a call to connect personally and individually. Smaller churches can really shine in this regard. Larger churches will make use of their organizational skills to divide and delegate the task so that it becomes manageable. Practice your listening skills by asking a good question (how are you getting along? What has been the greatest challenge you have faced with Covid?) Offering a compassionate ear and praying with those within your sphere of ministry is greatly needed at this time.
The preaching/teaching role of pastoring your church is still needed during a pandemic. Although your people can receive great messages from top flight speakers, YOU have a pastoral relationship with your people. You understand their cultural context. YOU can minister in a way that other ministers cannot. How are the families in your church getting along under the “stay-at-home” mandates? Some families are feeling the stress of close quarters. I heard a news report today that stated that families are bickering and children are getting spanked! Your role as a minister can bring the Word of God to relevant application for those experiencing loneliness, isolation and stress during this season.
“Our world will never be the same” – I have a hunch that this is true. With the Covid-19 crisis new ways of ministering effectively have been discovered and may need to be developed and extended into the future. When the stay-at-home order is lifted, I believe that group events will surge…
May the Holy Spirit show us the best way to connect while the crisis continues, and show us missionally effective adjustments that will bring the gospel to people whose hearts are prepared to receive it because of the crisis.