Pastoring During the COVID-19 Crisis
I know that most of the readers of this blog are pastors…well, I’m assuming that to be the case. Therefore today’s post is directed toward the WARBC pastors.
Leadership is a subject that has fascinated me since I was a teenager. When I had to choose my area of focus for my doctoral degree, I decided on leadership because good leadership crucial to the health of a church, and poor leadership is a terrible plague to a church.
Consequently, when I need to write something where I have the freedom to chose the topic, I tend to ask myself, “what are some leadership principles that are helping me become a better leader?” I find that most fun to write about. Let me share one of those principles with you today:
God makes the man for the hour and the hour for the man.
We are in unique times for our generation. Our forefathers have endured similar or worse trials like the COVID-19 virus. However, those of us who are alive today have not had to respond to anything like the COVID-19 virus. Sure, there have been other outbreaks like SARS and Ebola. But those were in faraway places. Perhaps the closest thing some people living today can remember was the outbreak of Polio in the 1950s. But, for most of who are pastoring, even that epidemic is only known through history books.
Brother pastor, you were made for this hour. By God’s divine plan, He planned for you to shepherd a congregation during this hour of COVID-19. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “fulfill your ministry.” We must now turn to alternative methods of ministry during this time, and that is challenging. But please don’t punt during this time. Fulfill your ministry.
Fulfill your calling to preach the word. You may have to use Livestream technology, written communication, or one-on-one visits, but preach the gospel to the people in your church. Now more than ever, they need assurance that God is good and sovereign. Don’t assume people know how to process this pandemic biblically. Lead them to think through this from a Christian perspective. That is going to take extra thought, creativity, energy, and emotion. But fulfill your ministry.
Much more could be said about God calling you to your ministry post for this specific hour, but I want to talk about the second part of the leadership principle briefly: God has also made the hour for you.
What you and I are experiencing is intended to shape us and make us better servants of Christ. Do not get so busy serving others in this hour of need that you become numb to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and admonition. You will make mistakes. Embrace that fact. But covenant right now that you will humbling learn from those mistakes. Let the mistakes and challenges of this unique time make you a better pastor and a better representative of Christlikeness. The hour is for you.
For many of us, this hour isn’t just for us to be better pastors. It’s so we can be better parents as well. I remember talking with my grandparents about World War 2 and the Great Depression. I also recently read our church records during the time of the Spanish Influenza of 1918. My grandparents and my church forefathers all spoke of God sustaining His people during challenging times. We have every reason to believe that God will sustain us as well.
I want my grandchildren to hear the same testimony of God’s goodness from their parents. I want my children to tell their children that God’s goodness was evident through the trial of this time. How my wife and I parent today will dramatically influence that future conversation between my children and their children. God designed this hour of uncertainty to make me be a better pastor, husband, and father.
We don’t know how severe the COVID-19 virus will be in our nation. I strongly suspect things will get worse before they get better. So, resolve now to lead well in this challenging time.
You were made for this COVID-19 hour, and the hour of COVID-19 has been made for you.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 – I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.