There is a lot on the plates of Kentucky Baptist pastors. But you won’t hear them complain.
Some of them are making the most difficult decisions of their ministry during the coronavirus, yet they are leading courageously, valiantly really.
Nobody has a playbook or manual on when is the right time to reopen churches, or if you should take the temperature of people before letting them into the sanctuary, or if mask are required, or how many pews to skip to allow for proper social distancing. There is so much information out there and can we trust any of it? Who do we trust? What do we trust? Our pastors are asking too.
Government leaders say reopening too soon could be devastating, even fatal, not only to their own members but their community. Who wants that responsibility hanging around your neck? They want to protect their flock. That’s one reason God put them in this position.
It’s easy for us to second guess them because we’re not them. Just because your platform is large or your voice is loud doesn’t mean you’re the authority.
We all want to get together again. They get it. But they know some are looking for conspiracy theories while others are too anxious to leave home. We expect them to find the balance.
There are no classes on sanctuary sanitization or social distancing in seminary or Bible college. What about religious liberty? Where is the line between safety and freedom? One step forward, two steps back in the name of caution.
We have asked a lot of them already. Many have learned to livestream and preach in empty rooms. They’ve found creative ways to connect with people and share the gospel day after day. Some of them only doing it from a smart phone.
They believed it was important to maintain whatever community could be gathered. They’ve worked to be a source of strength and voice of love during one of the most trying times in decades.
Nothing has been normal these days for any of them. But the long days and boredom experienced by some hasn’t been the pastors experience. There hasn’t been any down time or a lack of things to do.
We should be thankful for how they’ve handled it all, from the start of the coronavirus until now. Some of our churches will be reopening soon and they’ll be looking out into an audience who has missed them and whom they love. We have all taken for granted how much our churches – and our pastors – have meant to us.
They haven’t just been on Zoom meetings, or taping sermons either. They have spent a lot of time on their knees, crying out for you and for me and for direction on what they’re supposed to do in the coming weeks.
So what can we do? Come alongside your pastor and support him, send him a note, encourage him and, most of all, pray for him.
Pray for boldness, for clarity, and for courage. He’s going through a lot. This isn’t easy for him, or his family, or the flock he is leading.
Mark Maynard is managing editor of Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org