Comforts, convictions & considerations for coming out of COVID-19

June 2, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered us into a new frontier of pastoral leadership. Over the past few months pastors have learned how to lead churches during a pandemic. Now, pastors are learning how to lead a congregation out of this pandemic.

The challenge of this moment should cause all of us to think wisely and act carefully when those around us are hearing confusing, changing and sometimes contradictory messages from media outlets and governing officials.

We recently surveyed our church members on their level of comfort when it comes to gathering in person, and the overwhelming majority of them are ready to worship together in our building again. However, there are differing concerns when it comes to gathering again. I imagine there are similar concerns in many churches.

As Baptists, our autonomy as local churches will no doubt be expressed in our plans for reintegration, but I believe that the congregation at large — both pastors and church members — should have a similar posture regardless of our different plans. As you move forward, following are some considerations to remember.

The decisions we make out of this pandemic may have implications on others. More importantly, the manner in which we act will have implications on our witness to others.

Don’t be divisive over political convictions
This pandemic has been highly politicized. That may be the understatement of 2020. For this reason, people will have strong opinions on these matters as it relates to their personal and political convictions. However, it is important that we remind one another, as Romans 13 teaches us, that we must show proper respect to the governing offices that God has established.

Our political leaders have been tasked to protect our communities, which includes public health and safety. Some people may believe that our governing officials have made decisions on public health that have reached into violations of religious liberty by targeting churches. We believe that the State must respect the consciences and souls of the people.

Regardless of our interpretation of the intentions of governing officials, we also believe that they will be held responsible for how they wielded the power of their office. As for Christians, even if we believe government has encroached on religious liberty, we will still be held responsible for the manner in which we responded to those decisions. For these reasons, everyone is strongly encouraged to make prayerful and wise decisions based on recommendations by the government, health officials, insurance providers and others.

Don’t be divisive over personal comforts
People will have different comfort levels about gathering again in person because of the restrictions. Some will not be ready to gather as early as others. Some have been ready to gather in person for some time.

Some people will wear masks regardless of what’s recommended. Some people will refuse to wear masks even though it is recommended. When it comes to restrictions and recommendations, there will be as many opinions as a Baptist committee.

In light of Romans 14-15, we should strive to show grace for one another. After all, love of neighbor requires us to express concern and consideration for those around us. Plus, as Jesus taught us in John 13, how we treat one another is important for our witness to the world. Remember, your personal comfort level is just that, personal.

Implications to consider
The decisions we make out of this pandemic may have implications on others. More importantly, the manner in which we act will have implications on our witness to others. For this reason, we should consider doing more than we are asked.

Take responsibility not only for yourself, but for others. Pray for one another. Pray for your leaders. Mind your health, wash your hands and social distance until a sense of normalcy returns. In doing so, we can render what’s due to both God and Caesar. We can also render love to others, the same way we would want them to render love to us.


by Matt Capps  /  Senior Pastor  /  Fairview Baptist Church, Apex, N.C.

25 resources for the Christmas, Advent season

The celebration of Advent begins Sunday, Nov. 29. The purpose of this season of the church year is to look toward the coming of Christ to earth — a season focused on waiting. It is a time of preparing for the glory of Christmas day. Here are a few resources to help you with your...

6 ways to be a generous leader during the holidays

The holiday season is upon us. It is a time rooted in generosity, from God providing a bountiful harvest for the Pilgrims and Native Americans to God gifting us with His one and only Son. We celebrate because of the great gifts God has bestowed on us. Of course, the holiday season...

Will you pray and go?

I don’t remember much about that day, but one thing I do remember: it was hot — really hot. The temperature in Newton was near 100 degrees Fahrenheit that day. But we had committed to walk our neighborhood and pray for divine appointments. This was the third time in three weeks we...

A Christmas resource with families in mind

Why did Jesus need to come to Earth? This is just one of the thought-provoking questions included in the Advent family devotional surrounding the coming of Christ to the world. “Advent” means coming or arrival, and Family Advent Devotions, developed by the Faith at Home ministry...

California man comes cross country to plant multiethnic church in NC

Is God behind the North Carolina Baptist effort to plant new churches across the state? Gary Lee says yes. He says God called him from California to plant a new church in Raleigh. In fact, Lee is one of many church planters who have been called from other states and nations to...

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering exemplifies our work

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) has supported missionaries to the unreached since 1888. Currently, Southern Baptists can celebrate having 3,640 missionaries serve and share the hope of Christ in the least-reached places across the world with the International Mission...

Hollifield exhorts NC Baptists to prioritize God, gospel & disciple-making

In his final address to messengers as executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC), Milton A. Hollifield Jr. challenged N.C. Baptists to devote themselves to the Lord and continue working together to fulfill the Great Commission....

4 keys to creating a spiritually vibrant home

The most-asked question I hear from parents is, “How do we raise kids who will love Jesus in adulthood?” One mom in our church phrased it like this, “What is the secret sauce for raising kids who love Jesus?” In our culture today, these are valid questions, and God left the...

 

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!