The last 18 months have been challenging for everyone.
Pastors, churches and Christian leaders were challenged on all fronts, and it doesn't look as if it's over.
Are we tired of COVID-19? Has the pandemic caused us pain? Yes, absolutely.
Was it just me, or were there endless articles written about how the pandemic affected pastors and churches? We realized that churches and pastors were hit hard by the pandemic. But who wasn't?
The focus on pastors and the pandemic was a real mystery. As a pastor during the pandemic, I worked from home every day. We were doing church services on Facebook. We were also doing fewer services than usual and putting in fewer working hours.
Yes, stress was an issue, and yes, serving the church was a struggle.
There are very few occupations the pandemic did not negatively touch. Leaders were challenged in every field of business. Businesses of all kinds were closed and shut down. Employees were ordered to stay at home and lost their jobs. The food industry was crippled, and the travel industry was devastated. The world as we know it stopped.
The truth is that many churches are better off now than before the pandemic. The PPP money from the U.S. government financially fortified many churches to their best financial status in years. Despite the negative effects of the pandemic, God has faithfully worked things together for good.
Let's be reminded that:
1. God's grace is sufficient.
Precious pastors, God's grace is sufficient for you. Pastors often fail to take their own advice. Yes, pastors need grace like everyone, and maybe even more so.
"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly, I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:9-10, NKJV).
2. God turns things around for our good.
Did pastors forget this promise during the pandemic? I heard pastor after pastor comment on podcasts how tired they were. I understand, and I am no spiritual giant; neither am I judgmental. The biggest test is keeping our minds on Christ and standing on His promises. And that is always a struggle. Staying in faith during the pandemic was never easy, but neither is living for God every day.
Faith is the tool that believers use to handle every struggle and challenge. Our faith is in God and not in ourselves.
"They just live by faith" (Rom. 1:17).
3. We are filled with the Holy Spirit.
I have heard for years how the church has the advantage of the Holy Spirit. And yes, the Holy Spirit is an advantage to believers. Believers are filled with love, joy, peace, kindness and more. These are fruits of the Spirit of God.
But we also have supernatural strength and endurance. Pastors and believers must remember we have a treasure in our earthly bodies.
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body" (2 Cor. 4:7-10).
4. Rest is vital.
God knows that convincing a pastor to rest is never easy. One of our American idols is "the grind," and pastors are the least likely to rest.
"Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing — anything — is better than doing nothing. Because of our desire to succeed, to meet ever-growing expectations, we do not rest," John English Lee said.
"That is what God said, let us, therefore, strive to enter that rest" (Heb. 4:11a, ESV).
Precious pastor, if you are tired, please rest.
But let's also remember to take our own medicine and stand on God's promises.
This post first appeared here.
Thomas McDaniels is a husband, pastor, dad and grandfather. He is also a public speaker, author and podcast host. Listen to his podcast, 5-Fold Unplugged, on Charisma Podcast Network. Thomas has written for Church Leaders and currently writes for Charisma Media outlets. Thomas is the founder of lifebridge.tv and the guy behind thomasmcdaniels.com. You can find Thomas on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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