11 Questions I Never Thought I’d Ask in Ministry

Today, I’m just thinking about questions I never thought I’d have to ask in ministry, like . . .

  1. What’s the best way to do “drive in” church? We would never have thought about this option when I started pastoring in 1981; in fact, my first church barely had a parking lot!
  2. Will hospital administrators grant me permission to make pastoral visits to inpatient members and friends? I do understand precautionary steps that hospitals (and others) have had to take, but I also want to do in-person ministry. 
  3. What will it be like to preach to people in masks? I’m not sure which is more challenging—preaching to people via a camera or preaching to a masked congregation.
  4. How will I pastorally lead vulnerable folks who decide they won’t gather again with a congregation? I don’t know how often that will happen, but I will need wisdom and patience to guide them again into active membership—whatever that means.
  5. How will we reinstate preschool and children’s ministries? I understand the immediate concerns about social distancing with these groups, but we’ll have to figure out how to do these ministries safely and well.
  6. Will my ego be bruised by preaching to smaller groups spread out in multiple services and in multiple rooms? Maybe I’m the only pastor who wrestles with pride, but I think these changes will test my heart.
  7. Will we require all staff members to take their temperatures before each worship service, at least for the near future? Health experts and others are recommending such a step, but it sure feels odd.
  8. Will we sing during the worship service? This debate is an ongoing one right now, but what’s not debatable is that most of never dreamed we’d have to ask the question. 
  9. How do I baptize someone while maintaining proper social distance? I don’t see how it’s possible to immerse someone from at least six feet away. So, do I wait to do the baptism until distancing is no longer an expectation? Perhaps have a family member do it? 
  10. How will we fit fewer people into our building? I have a PhD in Evangelism and Church Growth. I never want to idolize numbers, but I do think they matter. I don’t generally ask questions about reducing and separating the crowd.
  11. How do we reach our neighbors when we’re all sheltering in place? There are ways, of course, but that’s not the point. The point is that I never expected the question.

What unexpected questions have you had to ask? 


  • Robin G Jordan says:

    One of the questions with which some pastors in my ecclesiastical tradition are wrestling is whether they should celebrate the Lord’s Supper online and if so, how? Now I come from what might be described as a “mixed” church background. I have been involved in churches in each of those traditions–Anglican, Baptist, and Wesleyan–and I have studied the history and theology of each tradition. .Some ecclesiastical traditions like the Anglican and the Baptism have more than one theological tradition. What may work for some Anglicans and Baptists may not work for others. This is also true to a certain degree of the Wesleyan tradition. One of the answers to your questions may be found in the history of the early English Baptists. One such Baptists who became a leader of that movement in the sixteenth century upon concluding the only appropriate form of baptism was believer baptism and then only by immersion baptized himself in a water tank in the attic of a house. The Archbishop of Sydney issued a pastoral letter in which he offered guidelines on celebrating the Lord’s Supper online.for pastors in his diocese. He wrote, “We must not fall into the erroneous mindset of thinking that consecration of the elements is only valid for us if we are physically present to consume them, as if there were magic in the hands of the minister.” He further wrote,” As for observing our Lord’s command, your reading of 1 Corinthians 11 could easily be used with your own bread and wine in these times of extremity, though it would be preferable to share with one close Christian friend or some family members. It would not be an Anglican service, which requires the presence of an ordained minister, but it would be a Christian service, in accordance with Jesus’ invitation to ‘do this in remembrance of me.” The entire letter may be read at http://anglican.ink/2020/04/06/holy-communion-in-a-coronavirus-world/. For a number of Baptist and Disciples of Christ churches whether to celebrate the Lord’s Supper is not an issue. They were celebrating the ordinance or sacrament online before the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • mark says:

    How many people watched >95% of it on YouTube and how many stayed less than 1 minute? At what time did people start dropping off?

  • Chip Hutcheson says:

    I taught SS lessons on our church’s cable TV program for years with me and the cameraperson being the only one in the sanctuary. But the first time I preached and someone was wearing a mask totally unsettled me.

  • Charles Kile says:

    My normal miles range for any ministry event was 60 miles. I ask a friend doing an online weekly singles bible study to advertise on my central North Carolina. She is a 4 and half hour drive away about 270 miles in Hendersonville, NC. As those who read my comments I reach the disconnected single Christians and I am surrounded by a dozen seminaries. This is the closest online singles bible study I could find. This is the event on my site https://www.meetup.com/RTP-Christian-Singles/events/cmcmsrybchbkc/

    Due to Covid-19 I am looking for online singles ministries in a group meeting… Even for myself this was unthinkable…….

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