Be Patient with Yourself, You’re Not an Online Pastor (yet)

Be Patient with Yourself, You’re Not an Online Pastor (yet) March 23, 2020

I’ve been a pastor my entire adult life. I’ve never seen anything like the issues related to COVID-19. Who has? Pastors and ministry people are in overdrive right now. Our lives are built around connection. Most of us have a “the door is always open” ethic. What do we do when the doors are locked?

I love ministry people and the selfless work you do. I’m not sure who among you needs to hear this, but here goes: cut yourself some slack. Most of us have no idea how to do ministry online, and we’re not going to perfect it by tomorrow. This will be a long haul, so pace yourselves.

We’re headed into a new reality. No one knows exactly what things will look like. The Church has adapted and changed over the centuries. We will pivot yet again, but it’s going to take some time. Be patient with your teams and yourself. Burn out helps no one.

I see a lot of inspiring things happening around the country. The way you have rallied to create online content is astonishing. The stories of community service are downright inspiring. I see you. Still, many of us will be tempted by jealousy or feel anxious we’re not doing enough.

I know how you roll: this is a moment we can seize for the sake of the gospel. We have to serve our community, help the vulnerable, provide online resources, and connect with our people.

All those things are great, and by the grace of God we will do them.

Even so, we have to believe that people are going to be ok. I realize there is widespread anxiety and suffering like many of us have never seen. I also realize not every person or every church will survive this moment. No doubt, these are unsettling times.

I know your instinct is to lean in. You got into ministry because you want to serve others. Beautiful. But we have to remember that we’re not the Savior. We will get through this, suffering and all, life or death, resurrection on the other side.

Holy moments aren’t always strategic. Sometimes the best ministry happens through a random text or a simple phone call. Perhaps slowing things down a bit is the holiest thing you’ll do in the next few weeks. Can your simple offering be enough for today?

My mentor used to remind us that people don’t think about church as much as we do. We will have ample opportunity to help and guide people in these uncertain times. Don’t get lost in a scarcity mindset. There is plenty of ministry to go around. It’s just going to take some time to figure out how to do it.

About Paul LeFeber
Paul LeFeber is the Executive Pastor at New Hope Church in Portland, Oregon where he lives with his wife Mariah and their two daughters. You can read more about the author here.

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