Shepherding the Lord’s sheep is no task for the weak. Sheep like to bite each other, wander and get lost. Last year’s pandemic magnified the need for good shepherds within the church. It also magnified how much division can occur when everyone has an opinion about how things should be handled. How the church should respond when it comes to government mandates was one of the most common points of contention throughout churches in America (and outside the U.S. as well).
Some churches closed their doors until the government said it was safe to reopen. Other churches argued that the government was overstepping its power by mandating churches to close, silencing the church and denying our right to assembly.
Local Church Leaders Share What They Learned
ChurchLeaders.com reached out to local pastors and church leaders throughout America, asking what they learned from COVID-19 restrictions over the last year. We share some of their experiences and wisdom to encourage you and provide guidance for a situation we may all face again in the near future. These pastors range from local, small-church leaders to noted leaders in the wider Christian community. We granted them anonymity so they could speak freely.
One pastor, who was hesitant to share because, as he said, although “we have unity in Christ, we have variation in many other things like COVID.” He added, “If churches were as passionate [or] more passionate for sharing the gospel as many were for pandemic regulations and protocol…Watch out! We are easily scared sheep and can live in fear more easily than I ever imagined. God is faithful and in control. Throughout it all I learned to trust in God even more fully. He is unshakeable.”
“The main thing we’ve learned is that the Holy Spirit isn’t confined to the four walls of a church building one hour a week,” another pastor said. “I witnessed God working miraculously in the hearts and lives of people more in six months than I had in six years of ministry at [our church]. We realized the power of prayer over that time as well. Regardless of location or situation, every believer can partake in praying with faith for God to move.” This pastor spoke about the importance of discipleship in a believer’s life and noted that COVID revealed that reality more and ever. “Being able to feed oneself and take responsibility for one’s faith was a necessity for continued maturity. Without [discipleship], people languished in despair.”
One church leader shared that reaching out to the people in your church is very important. “Be very intentional about loving and staying in touch with your peeps,” he said. “Don’t assume ANYONE is watching you online…Be very intentional about your ministry and your communication…Even when you don’t have certainty, bring clarity.” Echoing a warning that many have expressed during the last year, this pastor said, “Isolation is deadly,” and that people are hungry for community. He encouraged leadership to “do your best to create it.”