By Craig Thompson
Many of you reading this haven’t gathered with your local church recently. This will probably be the new normal for at least a few more weeks. Every aspect of life is different today, and that’s certainly true of churches.
But, remember, the church is not where you go, it’s who you are. As you consider what it looks like to belong to and care for your church today, think about your brothers and sisters in Christ, not the building.
Then, consider these steps as you pastor:
1. Pray for your church
Just because you didn’t gather on Sunday doesn’t mean your church doesn’t need your prayers.
Commit to praying regularly through the directory and for your leadership.
2. Support your leaders
Did you gather for worship Sunday in a new way? Were you forced to cancel? Your leaders are still trying to care for the body. Reach out to them, support them, offer them resources.
Do all you can to continue to lead and pastor the leaders in your church.
3. Commit to personal spiritual disciplines
Corporate worship is incredibly important. However, you can worship at home. You can worship privately, and you can worship as a family.
Spend time in God’s Word, in prayer, and in worship. Journal, sing, and celebrate God’s goodness and love.
When churches don’t gather, people often forget that the bills of a church still need to be paid.
Pastors, economic hardship may be around the corner. Lead your church to tithe by tithing yourself.
You can’t go to the church building, but participate in a Facebook group or join in a group text with your Sunday school class.
Send videos, make phone calls, do all you can to continue to participate in the life of your church.
The world is filled with fear. Christians are called to respond not in fear, but faith.
As opportunity presents itself on the phone, social media, or even text messages, share the hope within you.
7. Be patient
No one is more anxious to gather again as a church than you are. Please be patient as you try to determine when the best time to do that will be.
Lean on governmental leaders, medical leaders, and others who may have expertise in this area.
8. Share resources
If you’re part of a church pushing out digital content for discipleship during these days, share that with others. Post it to social media or text it to friends.
By sharing resources, you’re not only helping your church to minister to others, you’re blessing those who receive the material as well.
9. Check on other pastors
This is a trying time for pastors. Many are nervous about what the future holds.
Care for one another. Pray for each other. Offer to help where you can.
10. Pray for the next worship service
I can hardly wait until we gather together again to worship at our church. We know it’ll be several weeks.
But, I expect that when that day arrives, our people who’ve been deprived of corporate worship and isolated from their church body will respond with hearts of joy and gratitude.
Pray for that next worship service. I’m praying that the next worship service is the beginning of a great revival in our country. Join with me in that prayer.
These are a few tips. Please share what you’re doing to support your church right now. We’re all learning together through this process.
CRAIG THOMPSON (@craig_thompson) is the husband of Angela, father of four, and senior pastor of Malvern Hill Baptist Church in Camden, South Carolina.