Listening for the Voice of God
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No one wanted the pandemic to go on almost six months. No one wants the pandemic to go on another six months. But it may. During the pandemic missional ministry is still going on.
We have adjusted. People are still coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and being baptized. People are still hungry and thirsty after righteousness. People are still hungry and thirsty for actual food and drink, and congregations are part of alleviating their hunger and thirsty in real time.
Congregations are still gathering for worship, discipleship, fellowship, and ministry deployment. The range of on-site live gatherings vs. virtual gatherings is still broad. Some congregations are making progress during the pandemic. Some are holding their own. Some are struggling and even considering if they will still exist a year from now. The situation of each congregation is unique, fits their context and leadership philosophy, and matches the demographics of their congregation.
Some pastors, staff, and lay leaders are responding to the pandemic by adding on responsibilities and time commitments, and one result is an increase in their stress. Some have found a way to stop doing some things to make room for the new things or the new ways they need to minister, and they may be handling their stress. Others are frozen in place and are having difficulty knowing what the best thing is to do on a weekly basis which creates another occasion for stress.
A few felt they were making progress in regathering, have experienced the crisis of the spread of COVID-19 cases in their congregational fellowship, and have had to take a step back. This fall schools and sports trying to restart has added to the stress and created another layer of frustration.
All the while God is still active and present everywhere and in all our situations. May we continually look to our Triune God as the purveyor of peace and calm. As the One who opens doors for us for new and different types of missional ministry in which we can engage if we will put down some busy work programs and ministry of the past. We cannot do it all. But what we do we can do with great faithfulness, effectiveness, and innovation.
My prayer for you is that you might know with clarity each new step to take, and that prayerful discernment and listening for the voice of God will be your guide. “My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27 The Message)
George Bullard, September 4, 2020, www.BullardJournal.org