Tomorrow we begin our slow return to regular corporate worship at Paramount Church! I’m thankful for church members who have expressed in text, and email, and in person their support, understanding, love, and joyful cooperation during a challenging time for the church. They have honored, supported, encouraged, advised, spoken well of, defended, and spoken well of their leaders. Pastors experience unique challenges in the midst of these troubles, and grace-filled church members make the difference.
Here’s an good example used with permission:
Hi! I just wanted you three [pastors] to know that I pray for you always, but especially this week. I can’t even begin to understand your stress and the weight you must be feeling over decisions being made right now in light of opening up our doors this Sunday, and preaching and leading our church in the midst of everything happening around the country right now. I want you to know that we trust and respect you as elders and we sincerely love you and thank God for your submission to Him and authority over our church. We are praying for peace with decisions you’ve already made and wisdom to navigate and approach future decisions you will make. We also pray that the Lord is protecting you from pressures the world might be putting on you, burn out from having to restructure “church” as we knew it before, and distractions that try to keep you from your important work with Paramount and your families. We long to be there with you and will rejoice to see some of our people worshipping together again in our building! We love you all!
Church leaders serve a diverse group of people who each have varied opinions and desires, many of which are important. Trials tempt all of us to impatience, critique, and other thorny responses toward each other. But in challenging times, the power of God’s sanctifying grace shines like the sun, on the backdrop of stress and strain, discomfort and disagreement. Pastors rejoice when they watch for and then see charity’s fruits in the lives and on the lips of God’s people. We have seen exactly what the author of Hebrews exalts: Christians infusing pastoral ministry with joy and not grief.
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.
We anticipate with joy our return to the full speed of ministry and worship together, as the Lord wills.
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