I wish colleges and seminaries offered a class called “Pastoring Through a Pandemic”. Unfortunately, there is no such class. There is also not a class for what to do when a female senior citizen shows up to the door dressed inappropriately when you go visit the home, but let’s stay on subject. Because we learn so much by trial and error, here are some of my thoughts.
Forget the Sunday show and give them substance. You might be tempted to record services with light shows and smoke, but I’m not sure how effective that will be when people want to hear a word from God during an uncertain time. You may also be tempted to spend hours polishing a sermon in order to deliver beautiful exegesis like you were taught in seminary, but people don’t need a performance right now. Be true to Scripture while delivering hope.
Pray like you’ve never prayed before. Pastors need guidance from God in these unnavigated waters. American pastors know little to nothing about this stuff. Let’s tune into Heaven so we know we have a word from God.
Reach out to people. Today’s pastors are trained more like CEOs rather than servants of the Most High God, so some are not prone to reach out personally to those within the church. It’s time to be humble, approachable, relatable, and pick up the phone to make a real call using our voice to show we care. In this period of isolation, make a concentrated effort to reach out to those who have no family. One call will mean the world to them.
Make your online ministry personal. Our pastor and staff did a remarkable job at this last weekend. We will need to go beyond the usual stream of the actual service and have live chats, small group meetings through things such as Zoom, and do whatever we can to keep people connected.
Maybe you have some other creative ways to minister through this. I would love to hear the thoughts of others. We are on the same team, so let’s get rid of the competition mentality that exists between pastors and churches. Let’s work together so that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is more united than ever when we are on the other side of this!