I’m currently working with the leadership team of our local church as we’re in both a pastoral and location transition – all while we’ve been limited in meeting together. To be honest, I’m weary. I can’t even imagine what burdens pastors are carrying as their churches think about regathering in the months to come. The pastors I know are bearing much weight, so I’m writing these words today as a pastor/professor/church member/friend who wants to encourage them:
- Pastors, you likely can’t overcommunicate with us right now. Perhaps it seems to you like you’re constantly sending emails, recording videos, leading Zoom meetings, making phone calls, and maybe even “pestering” us. Don’t worry about that – we might be inundated with information from many sources, but we definitely want to hear from our church right now.
- We understand that everything’s in an uproar now, and we’re not expecting perfection as the church pivots. It feels like nothing’s the same – schools, work, sports events, shopping, travel, and on and on. We’re just grateful for the consistent efforts you’re giving to lead us, pastor, even if it feels to you like you’re always catching up.
- We’re really thankful for your efforts to provide worship opportunities for us. We aren’t walking in your shoes, so we can’t fully know what it’s like to preach to us when you can’t see us personally. Please know, though, that our hearing from you and seeing you each week—even electronically—is comforting in the midst of chaos.
- We may sometimes get impatient with our desire to regather as a congregation, but we do understand your responsibility to help us think wisely and safely. We know it’s not going to be as easy as “Y’all come again” as soon as the doors are open. We want to be helpful, not a hindrance.
- We really are praying for you. To be honest, we probably haven’t always prayed as much for you as we should have been. But, the COVID-19 situation has reminded us what a responsibility we have to support you from our knees. As a family, we’re interceding for you. Please let us know what needs you have.
- We need you to take care of yourself. We know how much you love us and want to lead us. We also know that many pastors can be workaholics in a crisis at the expense of their own well-being. Please take care of yourself spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and physically. We need you to be healthy.
- We want to be a stronger, more focused congregation as a result of this situation. Getting there might be difficult, and we might first try to protect our traditions simply because we want something to stay the same. Please be patient with us, but do push us to do what we must to reach our community and the nations.
- We love you and your family. We don’t tell you that enough – but we want you to know that today. Thank you, pastor.