Ever rebooted or tried to shut down a computer only to get the message “Updating - Do Not Turn Computer Off until Update is complete.” You have to sit there ready to go, but you can’t because of a spinning hour glass on your screen. In late June, when we were just starting to hear about a new variant, I made a plan for a series of articles on “rebooting congregations post COVID”.
The last month has proven to be anything but “post” COVID. I am ready to lead the charge toward revitalization, only to realize the hour glass is still spinning. Yesterday I spent the day visiting with pastors weary from these COVID days. This particular season has made pastoring in an already hard post Christian Era even more difficult.
One pastor wrote me, I am COVID weary. I am tired of sitting with family members and planning services while wearing a mask and not being able to hug them because they have spent the last few hours telling their family member in ICU goodbye as they take them off the respirator…. Tired of doing COVID funerals….Tired… Come Lord Jesus, Come.
Another pastor said, I was ready to retire on Sunday. After building back from the lock ins, attendance has plummeted again with the Delta variant.
A more optimistic but tired pastor said, “we have lots of new people coming and seeking answers, professing Christ and wanting to be deeply discipled. They are searching and want time one on one with me. I want to spend that time with these new disciples but the business of the church keeps pulling me away. Don’t get me wrong it’s an awesome problem to have… I just have to figure out this new reality. “
In this season we have to remember to what the Psalmist in Psalm 121 said: I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection is only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. In this season we are called as church leaders to do an incredible ministry. To be faithful to our individual and our collective callings. We are called to sit with the dying and the grieving. We are called to build and then build again. We are called to shepherd and disciple. But we are not called to do it alone. Our help comes from God, lead by the Holy Spirit.
Only one question this week… is your church, your pastor, are you trying to do this alone? Seek the one who is our true help. Then reboot, restart, renew, revive, and refresh as many times as you need too.
Dr. Leah S. Hidde-Gregory, Executive Director
Center for Evangelism, Mission and Church Growth
Storm the Gates!