So, here we go again. We Nova Scotian pastors are facing two weeks of lockdown, unable to gather in our church buildings.
And, of course, we hope and pray it is only two weeks.
Some of us will go online again to provide worship either with recorded messages or livestreamed services. My family and I might try and live stream on YouTube like we did on Facebook live last year with “Homemade Worship.” Especially if this lockdown extends beyond two weeks.
Some of us will easily roll with these changes. Others of us might be frustrated. Some might simply disagree that it’s even warranted. Those in our congregations will be of varying opinions.
And maybe after a year of various COVID restrictions, news coverage, media saturation, and debates with family, friends, and neighbours in person and on Facebook about masks and vaccines you’re feeling a little weary. Maybe exhausted.
Just a few thoughts, especially if this extends beyond two weeks:
One, know your limits. You can’t do everything. You can’t be all things to all people. Pastors are not super-heroes who are supposed to bear the entire weight of the church and its ministry on their shoulders as if they were the Hulk or Super-Man. That attitude and approach will kill you. Ask others in your church to help keep connected with those in your congregation who might be most vulnerable or fearful or lonely. This is even more true the larger your church. Pastors are called to equip the saints for the work of ministry, not to do all the ministry on their own (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Two, you need rest too. Give yourself permission to take a Sabbath from all online activity. Turn off your phone, even for a few hours. Take steps to give yourself a break from being constantly available. That we find this to be such a challenge is a symptom of how poorly we have managed our smartphones and other devices. Have a nap. Go for a walk in the woods or on a local trail. Read the novel you haven’t had time to pick up. Jesus invites us to rest (Matthew 11:28). Maybe listen to him?
Three, learn from last time. We’ve been through this before. What worked and what didn’t last time? What might we do differently?
Blessedly, God remains on his throne. He’s not only got the whole world in his hands, he’s got you. And he has your congregation in his hands also. So, count on that, put your trust in him, and move ahead as best you can. Whatever else happens, Jesus is still our risen Savior. Because of that we’re going to be fine.