Pastor, if your education was like mine, I assume there were no required or elective seminary courses on “Navigating a Worldwide Pandemic” in your degree plan. In the shifting winds of information overload, social hysteria, executive orders, economic turmoil, political upheaval, racial crisis, and so much more, most pastors are finding this season almost impossible to navigate.
But take heart. Even in the darkest of valleys God gives rest, renewal, and reassurance to those he shepherds.
I know you are frustrated.
I know you’re tired.
I know you are discouraged.
I know you are burdened.
I know you are heavy-hearted.
Please take a moment today to just be encouraged…
You are loved. Even when he feels far away, the God who created you and calls you by his name is close to you. He cares about you. He loves you not because of who you are, what you do, or the decisions you make. God loves you because of who he is. His love for you is born from his character, not your accomplishment. Not only does God love you but many people do, too. In seasons of crisis the loudest and most negative voices often occupy much of your thought life. But don’t forget there are scores of people around you who love you deeply.
When you feel all alone this week, please remember that you are loved.
You are appreciated. No matter what decision you make about masks, worship services, children’s activities, small groups, choir, etc., some will openly disagree. But there will always be those who appreciate you, too. Even if they don’t appreciate the specific decisions you make, they appreciate that you are making them thoughtfully and with their best interest at heart. They may not say it all the time. And when they do, their voices may get drowned out in the noise of the crisis. But…
Be assured that even when you feel you have managed to disappoint everyone this week, you are appreciated.
Faithfulness equals success. When all external measurements of success are stripped away, what’s left is your personal relationship with the Lord Jesus and your unwavering faithfulness to his mission. If you are preaching the Word faithfully, sharing the gospel faithfully, and loving your people faithfully, you are being successful in your post. The numbers may not show it. The relational atmosphere may not indicate it. But when it comes to walking with Jesus and leading His church, faithfulness equals success.
When you feel like a failure this week, remember that God asks only for faithfulness from His servants and He takes care of the rest.
This crisis is not being wasted on you. God is actively using every moment of this suffering to produce something inside of you that would otherwise have been lacking. As a leader, this season (and every season) is more about what God is doing in you than what he is doing through you. The testing of your faith is developing perseverance. Everywhere you are weak, he is proving himself strong. He is taking all of these things and working them together for good. The One who sustains all things by the power of his word is using this season to mold you and shape you into the man he desires you to be.
When you feel like you just can’t keep going this week, be encouraged that every moment of your suffering is meaningful and valuable.
Christ is helping you bear weight of every decision. You do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with your weaknesses. On the cross, Christ has born the full extent of sin’s consequences for you, and even now he continues to bear their weight through every moment of this crisis. As you wrestle with decisions regarding gathering, masking, cleaning, planning, budgeting, and more, learn to take on Christ’s yoke and Christ’s burden; your soul will be refreshed to find them easy and light.
When you feel like buckling under the weight of decision-making this week, find renewed strength in the Christ of your salvation.
Grace and Peace,