If you’re like me, its so easy to go “negative” in the midst of the uncertainty, confusion, and division in our world. We need to remember that God is still on the throne and is working in every situation we face (Romans 8:28). One way we remind ourselves is by practicing gratitude. There’s some logic to the old hymn, Count Your Blessings.
Recently I asked some of our pastors what are the “pleasant surprises” they experienced during this pandemic. Here are five of them.
1. The church was able to make needed changes.
Someone said that people change for two reasons: desperation and Inspiration. There is a third reason: Disruption. COVID-19 has forced us to change. Even people who generally resist change have been remarkably willingly to make the needed changes. One pastor commented that they have been “forced to get live-stream going.” One of our churches took out their pews and replaced them with chairs to help with social distancing. For years this was resisted, but they did it, and I think they like it!
2. The church family has reached out to each other.
Without a “program,” people have contacted each other in their isolation. It is refreshing to see all the “creative responses to needs not dependent on outside authority.” Zoom rooms, phone calls, and facetime are all means for people to spend time together. They are speaking encouraging words and praying for one another. All of this continues outside a formal Sunday Morning Service. The church is being the church to one another.
3. The gospel has been spread.
It’s hard to know the impact of our online presence, but many of our churches have had an increase in participation and viewership. The church has become more visible in their communities through social media. Even on a personal level, one pastor shared there is “more time spent with and have better spiritual talks with neighbors.”
4. People have been faithful in their giving.
At the beginning of the COVID crises, I was convinced that our churches would immediately struggle with finances. In fact, the Conference freed up some emergency funding to help any church in crisis. Well, so far, we have had only one request for funds. Why? Because God’s people have been faithful and generous with their tithes and offerings. Thank you! While finances are tight for some, most churches actually have had an increase in giving.
5. A better pace of life!
Another pleasant surprise is being able to spend more quality time with friends and family. One pastor commented how he can “record my message from home and spend Sunday mornings with my kids.” That’s something no pastor got to do, except now! Pastors and leaders have a deeper love and appreciation for their family.
BEFORE YOU GO
So what are some of your “pleasant surprises during this time? Love to hear from you!