I do not know about you, but when the COVID-19 crisis began back in March, I really thought that in two- or three-months things would get back to normal. Boy was I wrong! Here we are ten months into the pandemic, and by now all of us are realizing that this ordeal is far from being over.
The Never-Ending Pandemic
We are also beginning to wonder if our ministries will ever get back to the way they were pre-COVID-19. If your church is like our church, we are running fewer people for our in person services, and we still have not brought back certain ministries because of the limitations that have been placed on gatherings and the concern that our people have of contracting the virus. With the ever-evolving guidelines and restrictions, it has been a challenge to relaunch and rebuild our ministries. Because there is so much uncertainty about the future, we have found it difficult to plan things for our church. I cannot tell you how many times we have planned a special day or an event, and then ended up having to cancel it due to COVID-19.
God is Still at Work
From day one of this pandemic, I have emphasized over and over to my people that God never stops working. At one point, nearly the whole world was shut down, but God never shuts down. If you are like me, you have seen His hand at work – saving, transforming, providing, and sustaining. Even though we have continued to see people saved and baptized throughout this year, we have also had to acknowledge that ministry and outreach is much more challenging now than it was before. We are not allowed to visit our people in the hospital. We are not allowed to visit our shut-ins in the nursing homes. People are nervous about us visiting with them in their homes. We had to find a way to continue to minister to the people that God has given to us.
Connecting in Ways We Can
Of course, as pastors, we all understand the importance of staying connected with our people. We cannot just stop ministering to people even though almost everything else stopped. So as a staff we committed ourselves to contact 1,200 households in our church – not once, but twice this year. That represented about 3,000 people. We felt it was vitally important for us to communicate with our people – especially during a worldwide pandemic.
How did we do this? We got on the phone and began to make hundreds of calls. We thought they would be quick five-minute calls, but we found that most people wanted to talk. They were lonely, frustrated and discouraged from all the quarantines. As we genuinely expressed our love and concern for each one of them, they in turn expressed their appreciation for our church and how much they missed being with their church family. We paused and had prayer over the phone with many who shared specific needs with us.
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
Caring for People
It really is true that people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. I am convinced that if we will stay connected with our members right now, they will be back when this pandemic is over because they know that our church cares about them.
I am convinced that if we will stay connected with our members right now, they will be back when this pandemic is over because they know that our church cares about them.
What about your church?
What are some ways that your church is staying connected to members and attenders and caring for them during this season of ministry?