By / May 27

A few weeks ago, a pastor friend who supervises children’s ministry staff at his church reached out to me and asked, “If you were coaching a children’s ministry leader on event planning and communication, what tips would you give them?” My friend’s question is a great one. After all, children’s ministers have a lot of people with whom they need to communicate. 

When planning for events or ministry initiatives, it’s important to be on the same page with other church staff. On at least a weekly basis, it’s necessary to have regular communication about the service schedule and weekly teaching plan with your volunteers. And speaking of volunteers, it’s essential to have a clearly communicated assimilation process — application, background check, interview, and training — for those who desire to begin serving in the ministry for the first time. Oh, and I haven’t begun to talk about the need to communicate with parents, to promote events through regular announcements, and to think intentionally about how your ministry might use social media as an equipping resource.

Many children’s ministers stepped into their ministry roles with backgrounds in education — even Christian education — but fewer of us had training in event planning and administration when we began. We might know how to interpret the Bible and teach the next generation, but we have a lot to learn about managing a ministry. 

With these realities in mind, I forwarded my friend’s question to several organized ministry leaders that I know. Here are their encouragements:

First, begin your communication about events or ministry initiatives as early as possible. 

Sandra Peoples, who is a disability consultant for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and a women’s and disability ministry leader at Heights Baptist in Alvin, Texas, told me, “At our church, anything that’s going on the calendar needs to be requested at least two months in advance. It gets discussed and approved at staff meetings. Then, we begin the planning process.” 

I love Sandra’s idea of a two-month planning minimum, but for larger, church-wide events like vacation Bible school or a community harvest festival — or with any communication of events in a very large church — the communication will need to start even earlier. In his article, “Leadership and Church Size Dynamics: How Strategy Changes with Growth,” Dr. Timothy Keller makes clear that an increasing redundancy of communication is even more necessary as a church grows. Keller writes, “Without multiple forms and repeated messages, people will feel left out and complain, ‘I wasn’t told about it.’ You know you’ve crossed into a higher size category when . . . informal communication networks (pulpit announcements, newsletter notices, and word of mouth) are insufficient to reach everyone.” Once that is the case more lead time is necessary to communicate effectively; fluency is the goal. As Heather Thompson, communications director at Paradox Church in Ft. Worth, Texas, told me, “When you are tired of saying it, that may be just the beginning of people starting to get it.”

Second, as you plan the event, use a checklist. 

If you’ve purchased a vacation Bible school director’s guide or any sort of event planning kit from a Christian publisher, you’ve likely discovered that those kits contain planning timelines or checklists that begin up to a year in advance. Peoples told me that an event planning checklist her church uses includes details like “room setup, registration, graphic design, turning on the AC, and getting keys to whoever needs them.” But the checklists also cover matters of communication. 

In fact, director’s guides and resource kits may even include sample email communication for volunteers and parents or promotional materials such as videos, posters, mailers, and graphics for the church bulletin or social media. One of the great things about these kits is that they not only give you these resources for communication, they also tell you exactly when in the planning process to use them.

When planning an event without any sort of pre-set guide or kit, I’ve often taken a planning checklist that I’ve used before (for an event like child dedication, for example), and then I’ve adapted it as a template for the new event. I just make any necessary adjustments (e.g., enough recruiting lead time for events that require more volunteers) and then follow the checklist step-by-step.

Third, be consistent with your regular communication. 

Consistency with the channels you use to communicate will help the parents in your church and the volunteers who serve in your ministry know where to find the information they need. If, for instance, you’re consistent with sending out the children’s ministry schedule and curriculum via email each Tuesday morning, teachers will learn to look for it on that day in their Inbox. It can be possible to use too many communication platforms, narrowing your communication to one landing page on your website and the most used social media platforms can make your communication more clear.

Jared Crabtree serves as pastor of Families at Redeemer Fellowship Midtown in Kansas City, Missouri. He told me that his team works to have a presence on Facebook and Instagram that follows a regular schedule — ”typically a video with one of our staff or leaders teaching hand motions for the lesson memory verse on Mondays and something like an activity or resource for families on Wednesday or Thursday as well as regular volunteer highlights.” 

I love that the Redeemer team is intentional about celebrating volunteers, because, as Thompson told me, “Regular communication should not just revolve around announcements, promotions, or policies. Great communication is an ‘encouragement channel’ that celebrates what you value; it’s consistently communicating your vision and values for your team and the people you serve.”

Sandra Peoples highlighted another reason for a consistent communications schedule or planning checklist. It minimizes decision-making. “You don’t have to think of everything every time,” she said. “Make one decision that you can apply over and over when possible. I do this in dozens of ways. I have assigned days for posts on social media and a schedule for what I want to share; I also wear the same shirt every Monday, and we always have the same meals on the weekends.” 

I get it. We have Taco Tuesdays and Tuscan Thursdays (pizza or spaghetti) every week at the Kennedy house! As Peoples told me, “It may feel restricting for creative types at first, but then they realize how much brain space they have for the things that really matter when they put the rest on auto-pilot.” Planning in advance when you’re going to post on social media gives you the opportunity to be more deliberate about what you say and the tone with which you say it. It also gives you the time to have a well-rounded plan that addresses each of your target audiences — parents, children, and team members. Planning ahead gives you the opportunity to be prayerful, deliberate, and intentional.

Finally, make event planning and communication a team project. 

Rachel Mills and Alix Carruth, who serve with Crabtree at Redeemer Fellowship, run one of the best children’s ministry Instagram accounts I’ve seen. To help with consistency, they’ve put together a shared spreadsheet that maps their regular social media posts, and they use Slack, a team communication app, to share ideas for headlines. Carruth told me, “We alternate days of posting on Facebook and Instagram, but we meet every two weeks to plan for two weeks in advance so that we can be two weeks ahead.” 

Working together makes Mills and Carruth’s work lighter. Teamwork makes the dream work! It provides built-in accountability, too. Whether you’re leading a children’s ministry as a volunteer, serving as the only staff member, or part of a larger team, it’s important that you find others in your church who can help you bear the communication load.

All leaders communicate, and as Proverbs 25:11 (NKJV) says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” If you are a children’s ministry leader, you have a unique communication burden due to the numerous communication channels you have to manage — with fellow church staff, volunteers, parents, and the congregation as a whole. It’s one that can be carried with God’s help. By prayerfully planning ahead, using a checklist, being consistent, and working with a team, you can communicate in a way that’s gentle, intentional, and effective. 

By / May 20

Pastors in training are often counseled by those older and more seasoned in ministry to remember, as they preach, “There’s a broken heart in every pew.” At the same time, those in the pews should remember as well, “There’s a heavy heart behind every pulpit.” 

Even in the best of times, your pastor carries a heavy spiritual weight. He’s counseling people through painful seasons. He’s visiting people in hospitals as they prepare to die. He’s pleading with people weekly to consider how their eternity hangs in the balance.

But he’s often grappling with much more. On any given week, a pastor might have to spend considerable energy navigating friction between different groups or individuals in the church. He often must bear with Monday-morning quarterbacking about the music or his preaching. He must regularly listen to grumbling about everything from the color of the carpet to what he should be spending his time on. Unfortunately, he may have to combat unhelpful power dynamics among deacons or committees at the church. All of these things place an enormous drain on the average pastor.

As such, your pastor is often a little battle-weary. Your pastor is doing the best he can, but he’s been clobbered for it more than once. Too quickly, this can leave him fearing the worst whenever someone in the church directs something his way. One way you can encourage your pastor, then, might be as simple as being intentional and conscientious with your language to avoid some common pitfalls.

Here are a few examples of language that can accidentally burden rather than bless your pastor:

Ambiguous questions: “Pastor, can we talk?”

When you ask this question, you’ll almost certainly remind your pastor of a time someone asked him that question only to ambush him. These kinds of moments leave scars and make memories that are not easily forgotten. So your pastor, when he hears this question, may instinctively wonder, “Oh no, what’s wrong?” or, “Great, what problem is going to consume me next week?”

Instead, say something like, “Pastor, can we talk sometime next week? Nothing bad, just wanted to get your counsel on ___.” Where the first question leaves your pastor fearful, the second leaves your pastor thankful for your conscientiousness. By removing the ambiguity about why you want to meet, you put your pastor in a position where he can instead look forward to it instead of entering into his time with you with trepidation. 

Not only that, but the mental energy he might have otherwise spent anticipating what it is you want to talk about, he can instead spend on getting his head around the issue you already mentioned. In turn, he’ll be of more help to you than he otherwise would have been. When you’re conscientious like this, everyone wins.

Bare Encouragement: “Praying for you today.”

We are commanded to pray for those in authority over us, but often, we only think to pray for someone when we know they’re facing a tough time. It’s possible, then, that a bare statement like, “Praying for you today,” can leave your pastor thinking, “They never reach out with something like this. What’s going on? What’s wrong?” Should that be the case? Of course not. But Satan loves to twist God’s good gifts. In this sense, being intentional with our language is nothing less than an act of war against the powers who would love to turn an attempt to encourage into an occasion to fear.

Intentionality here can be as little as adding a simple prefix to your statement. “This is prompted by nothing other than gratitude. Just wanted to let you know I’m praying for you today.” When you remove the ambiguity, you choke out fear before it has the chance to take root, and you ensure the gift you intended doesn’t spoil in transit. Alternatively, you can say something like, “Pastor, I pray for you every Saturday, and today I want you to know I’m praying ____.” When you cast your language in concrete terms (e.g., I’m thankful for x, y, z; I’m praying for a, b, c), you supercharge the effect of your encouragement.

Backhanded Support: “Pastor, I know some folks really don’t like you, but I’m with you!”

If your pastor is facing opposition in the church right now, I promise you (a) he knows it, and (b) he doesn’t need to be reminded of it. In fact, he probably carries around some misplaced shame because of it. So when you point it out, it doesn’t matter what else you say, even if it’s encouragement. What the pastor hears is, “You’re toxic, and we all know it.”

Instead, focus on concrete, positive things. “Pastor, if there’s any way I can serve you this week, I just want to let you know it would be my honor. I’m grateful for you, and I’m with you.” Alternatively, “Pastor, I’m so grateful for the way you ____. God put you here in this moment to lead, and I just want you to know I’m thankful for that.” There may very well be times to discuss the opposition itself, but your encouragement will mean much more if you strip it of any landings for insecurity or shame to find footing.

If you’re “guilty” of any of these things, don’t be embarrassed. Odds are, your pastor knew what you meant and took it that way. And don’t let it dampen your efforts to encourage — quite the opposite. Instead, let it spur you on even more encouragement because you realize afresh how your pastor is human, fallen, and a sinner just like you. The New Testament is brimming with “one another” language, in part because God has designed relationships within the body of Christ to be a tool God uses to shape and form and sustain us.

Your church needs your pastor. And your pastor needs you. The encouragement you give might be the very instrument God uses to keep your pastor going and often will be remembered by him long after you even remember giving it. Well-spoken encouragement has an eternal half-life. Let’s embrace it, then, to show and share the mercy of Christ.

By / May 19

It hasn’t been a great year for pastors. I don’t have stats, but it doesn’t take hard data for us to imagine the level at which pastoral job boards and search organizations have been bombarded this year with overwhelming inquiries from frazzled pastors looking to get out and get on to something new. If that’s you, let me begin by saying two things: 

It’s OK. And Jesus understands completely. 

So, here’s a word: Pastor, you probably need to quit. But before you quit your current ministry, there might be some other things you should try quitting first. 

1 Quit saying “I know the last year has been hard, BUT . . .” 

It’s probably better to say, “The last year has been hard, period.” You are on the back end of a bitter year, and it’s understandable that your desire is to stop the bleeding and move on to some healing. But don’t miss this unprecedented place that God has lovingly and sovereignly placed you. I wonder what he’ll do? You should pause long enough to let yourself wonder that, too. 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12). 

2. Quit being so productive. 

I get it. There’s a mad scramble to get things back to the way things were. People have left, budgets have diminished, and the questions of what to do and where to go are nagging at you endlessly. But maybe instead of working so hard to get your church out of the valley it’s in, you should see if there’s something God wants you to notice that’s only visible when you’re in a valley. Don’t miss something glorious that God in his grace has slowed you down this last year to see. 

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41,42).

3. Quit being so hard on yourself. 

It’s a sad thing to have less compassion on yourself than Jesus does. When he looks at you, he sees his beloved. He sees his faithful undershepherd. He doesn’t expect you to accomplish what only he can accomplish. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust (Ps. 103:14). 

Allow yourself to be known and remembered by God in this complex moment of your pastoral life.

4. Quit thinking you’re the only one. 

We can so easily slide into self-pity during seasons of exhaustion. We can forget that what we’re experiencing is not unusual for a pastor, or a Christian. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Pet. 4:12). 

It’s that irritable sense of surprise that can keep us disgruntled, and worse yet, disenchanted, which leads to cynicism. Pray that God would open you up to the plight of other pastors right now, because they may be thinking they’re the only ones.

5. Quit looking at everybody else. 

Pastors are all over the map right now in how they’re processing COVID, getting Sunday gatherings back in place, and finding how to best serve their people as vaccination numbers increase and restrictions are being lifted. To begin comparing your pace and your methods with other churches in different contexts than yours is probably not a healthy direction for your mind. Who you are and where you are is unique, so look to God to do something uniquely merciful and compassionate in the context of your life, church, and community as the coming days unfold. 

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us (Ps. 123:2).

I could likely go on and on, but I wonder how your perspective might change if you took some time to reflect on these five points (so we’re clear, not those five points) and pray how God might help relieve you of some of the stress and anxiety they have brought upon you? It may be that God is using COVID to transition you to another ministry. It could also be that God is using COVID to tether you to the ministry you’re already in, but with much more depth of heart, renewal of mind, and restoration of soul.

This article originally appeared here

By / Apr 6

Pastor Doug Logan, an associate director for Acts 29, plans to activate and equip church leaders to minister boldly in the inner-city context. Logan spearheads a new Acts 29 initiative intended to train and assist under-resourced pastors in urban areas—ministers who often lead with limited access to financial resources, theological training, and coaching. 

Acts 29 Urban and Acts 29 Español aims to bolster support and education for ministers leading gospel-centered churches in lower socio-economic and inner city areas. 

In these urban centers, pastors often minister in the face of overwhelming needs, including violence and lack of employment opportunities. Many churches in and around these metro areas fail to “reach the grime and grit in the inner city core,” said Logan, who has been working in urban ministry for over 25 years. It’s time, in other words, to get inside on a deeper level. 

Many pastors in these areas, Logan noted, lack access to theological education. Because many leaders are bivocational, the lack of assets and time also indicates that additional spiritual and theological support is vital. Pastors in any setting are acutely stressed and overworked, and those facing daily, inner city turmoil are especially so.

Acts 29 has also partnered with Grimke Seminary to provide support. Logan founded Grimke in 2019 when he saw the need for low-cost access to theological training. The seminary specifically focuses on theology, culture, and mission in the most challenging settings. Students receive training from a diverse staff team and cover required reading by ethnic minorities—two core components of the program. 

The vast majority of classes are online, while students fly in for three-day intensives several times a year to complete the remaining portion. Through theological, leadership, and cultural training, pastors graduate with renewed confidence in their local mission—one that fulfills a desperate need in the inner city. 

“Brokenness, murder, and poverty move people to church,” said Logan. Acts 29 Urban and Español initiatives aim to fill the gaps for pastors in these contexts through distinctive curriculum, coaching, content, and conferences. 

“We want to strengthen these guys who are already on mission,” said Logan. “We are there to bleed with them, to love and support them.”

Logan’s heart and mission could be summed up in 2 Timothy 2:2 when Paul urges Timothy to help “entrust faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” It’s part of why Logan founded Grimke, named after Dr. Francis Grimke, a freed slave who became a pastor and civil rights leader. Grimke was ultimately offered lofty positions in academia but opted to serve his local church as pastor for nearly six decades. That kind of long-term, faithful commitment is essential, but it takes sustenance from outside sources to maintain. 

In places where vulnerable and impoverished people struggle the most, the effort to come alongside those laboring to provide spiritual nourishment fulfills this need. 

“We aren’t here to rescue,” said Logan, “but to be brothers and sisters in the struggle to get the message to those who need it.” 

By / Feb 4

The American church is experiencing a crisis of discipleship. Our churches are leaking members, young and old, and are often plagued by a widespread nominal devotion to Christ. And though secular winds have long been blowing across American culture, the church’s discipleship crisis is not an imposition levied against us by secularism. It is a self-imposed malady; a “discipleship disease” (7). It is this disease that J.T. English, in his book Deep Discipleship: How the Church Can Make Whole Disciples of Jesus, believes the church has misdiagnosed and, as a result, mistreated. And, likewise, it is this disease that he seeks to address and remedy. 

English, the lead pastor of Storyline Fellowship in Arvada, Colorado, formerly served as a pastor at The Village Church in Texas, where he founded and directed The Village Church Institute and implemented much of what he describes in this book. With prophetic boldness and theological precision, he speaks directly to the church, calling her to a deeper vision of discipleship.

As the waters cover the sea

One of the dangers of misdiagnosing a disease is that, in doing so, you are almost certain to mistreat it. This, English argues, is precisely what seems to have happened within our churches. Over the past few decades, as parishioners have increasingly vacated our pews, “we’ve come to think our disease is that the church has become increasingly irrelevant and requires too much from people who want to get involved” (7). Believing that we’ve diagnosed the problem correctly, the church has proceeded to lower the bar of discipleship. We have kept our people in the shallows. 

In an early chapter of the book, English shares a story about a recent trip to Lake Tahoe, where he found himself standing on the shore, staring across a lake measuring over 1,600 feet in depth, and calling to mind the words of the prophet Habakkuk: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14). It was this picture that reminded him that the “bottomless, infinite, and boundless God will cover all of his creation” as the waters cover the sea (16-17). The church’s discipleship problem is not that we’ve gone too deep and asked too much of our congregants, but that we’ve not gone nearly deep enough. English’s assertion in the remainder of the book is that “discipleship should be deep because God is inexhaustible” (37).  

More than anything, English’s vision of deep discipleship is about the enjoyment of God. More central than an uptick in attendance or a bustling church ministry, “God is the goal of deep discipleship” (37). The only remedy for discipleship in the shallows is to plunge headlong into the depths of the Triune God. 

Asking better questions

Having established a firm theological foundation, that God is the goal and the means of deep discipleship (37), English then seeks to apply that theology practically to the process of disciple-making in the church. He does so by asking and answering a series of questions: where should disciples be formed (Ch. 2 and 3), what do disciples need (Ch. 4), how do disciples grow (Ch. 5), where do disciples go (Ch. 6), and finally, why would my church not do this (Ch. 7)? It is these questions, meant to juxtapose some of the more inferior questions we often ask of our ministries, that drive the remainder of the book, building a sort of blueprint meant to help church leaders catch and apply the vision of a more substantive, holistic practice of discipleship. And in answering all these questions, English takes the reader back, time and again, to the God-saturated nature of Christian discipleship.

The church’s discipleship problem is not that we’ve gone too deep and asked too much of our congregants, but that we’ve not gone nearly deep enough.

But it’s his final question (why would my church not do this?) that many church leaders may find themselves tripping over. After all, English’s primary experience with this occurred in a well-funded megachurch in the buckle of the Bible-belt. Can deep discipleship, the kind that he describes in the pages of his book, really occur in places like the Pacific Northwest or in the rural deep South? English’s retort is a resounding “yes.” Not only is his vision of deep discipleship a theological must-have, but, he argues, “the vision of deep discipleship . . . is scalable to any church, sustainable in any church, and strategic for any church” (187). In other words, not only is the vision of deep discipleship necessary and integral to forming whole disciples, but it is fundamentally achievable, no matter your context. 

A reorientation to reality

English’s book is idealistic, and he should make no apologies for that. For too long, the church’s discipleship practices have been devoid of depth and biblical holism. As American culture continues trending more toward secularist ideologies, the church needs disciples firmly rooted in the God of the Bible, both for their own health and for the continued advance of the gospel. His vision of deep discipleship—discipleship rooted in the gospel and in the God of the gospel—is the remedy for a church who has lost her bearings. 

Though English advocates for a certain discipleship structure regarding the scope, sequence, and strategy it necessitates, his most valuable contribution in Deep Discipleship is his theology of discipleship. He states: “Discipleship is not just a program but a total reorientation to reality” and “in being reoriented to reality, disciples begin to view everything through a God-centered lens” (21). This is the essence of Christian discipleship, that in all things we live unto God. And it is precisely this that English is calling the reader, and the church, into. “Deep discipleship is all about helping people find greater and deeper enjoyment in the Triune God” (207). May it ever be so. 

By / Feb 4

Chris Martin, from the Hawaiian Pacific Baptist Convention, encourages pastors to rest, stay focused, and be creative during the pandemic.

By / Jan 26

Matt Henslee, a pastor in southern New Mexico, encourages pastors to trust God during the pandemic.

By / Dec 29

The elderly members of a local church are a unique gift. This is not, however, a popular position among all pastors. Some see the elderly as a burden on the church; the group in the church who cannot contribute much but hold back progress. There was a time early in my pastoral ministry I was tempted to think this way. But my opinion changed with time. Over the years, the elderly members of my church became some of the most significant blessings of my 25-year pastoral ministry.  

This shift from burden to blessing in my thinking came as I began to get creative about how to care for these longtime, faithful members who often feel overlooked by our new, younger, energetic members. This creativity required action. 

So, I walked an indoor track with Mildred, a 90-year-old widow who walked this track for five miles, three times a week. 

I worked in the garden with Jim, an 82-year-old widower who always felt lost since his wife died. 

I used my wife’s van and picked up five elderly ladies unable to drive themselves to take them to lunch (typically Cracker Barrel).  

I took a group to sing Christmas carols in the living room of Ms. Tillie, a 106-year-old widow who loved music.  

I sat numerous times at the kitchen table of Ms. Betty, an 88-year-old widow who always provided tea and cookies for our talk.  

These examples remain some of my sweetest memories as a pastor.

The elderly members of a local church are a unique gift.

But COVID-19 changed all that. In the same way, I needed to get creative on how to care for elderly members feeling left out of a growing and changing church. And I also had to channel creative, pastoral instincts to wade through this uncharted territory of 2020. How do pastors and loved ones care for a group of people who are told to stay home, not get out, and keep their distance from all others for their safety?  Here are five suggestions to still help meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of elderly members while maintaining a safe distance in the COVID-19 age.

1. Let them hear your voice.

When COVID-19 hit, many of our elderly members already battling loneliness and isolation experienced a new level of its intensity. I quickly learned how helpful it was for them to just hear a human voice. Phone calls became a regular practice. I even went so far as to go and stand in the middle of someone’s yard just so they could hear my voice in person. Do not underestimate how big of a difference the sound of another human’s voice can make in the extreme isolation many elderly folks have faced since March.

2. Take full advantage of technology.

I think we would all agree, the middle of COVID-19 lockdown is not the most ideal time to try and teach an 85-year-old how to use Zoom or FaceTime. But I learned it is possible. The benefits of seeing someone’s face and talking to them are significant. In fact, joining a Zoom call became a balm to the souls of many elderly in our church. I realize it can be hard and frustrating trying to help an elderly person learn these new ways of communication, especially since many of them are resistant. But we should still try. If it works, it will be worth it for them and you.

3. Find ways to be physically present at a distance.

Human beings were not made for isolation. This is the great challenge COVID-19 brought into our lives—especially the elderly. Without warning, all elderly folks were warned to avoid human contact. But because I understood this basic human need of touch and physical presence, I kept pushing for a solution. It did not take long to realize a Zoom call still did not replace physical presence. As I mentioned, I began to go to the homes of the elderly and stand in their yard and talk with them while they stood on the porch. I sat on the back deck with a mask on while they sat on the other side, providing plenty of safe distance to visit. I even stood at the glass screen door with my hands on the glass while an 85-year-old widow put her hands on mine through the glass as we talked. Find ways to be physically present, then tend to emotional and spiritual needs in that moment.

4. Drop off care packages at the front door.

This became a very practical way for anyone to serve the isolated elderly. A care package containing food, requested supplies, books, baked goods, pictures children colored, and craft materials to pass the time can safely be dropped off at the front door.  I watched this become a major blessing to those longing to be remembered by others.  

5. Write a physical note and mail it to them.

In the age of email and social media, writing a physical letter has practically become a lost art.  But for elderly people who never bought a computer and never signed up for social media—the practice remained. To this day, I still get physical notes from members of my church and calls from a landline because they have not embraced this technological age. Therefore, do not miss the meaning behind receiving a physical note in the mail for these members. This provides something they can hold, look at, smell, and read over and over again as isolation tempts them to think they are forgotten.

I have watched some pastors simply throw their hands up in the air and declare there is nothing more we can do than make phone calls. But that is wrong. Yes, it requires creativity and a refusal to give up that is driven by a deep love for these sweet saints whose needs have not changed just because COVID-19 hit. They need what we all need—the assurance we are loved and remembered, and the comfort of human presence and interaction.

By / Dec 29

Afshin Ziafat, a pastor in Frisco, Texas, offers encouragement to pastors.

By / Dec 17

Todd Kaunitz, pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Texas, shares encouragement, and what its like pastoring in the age of COVID-19