This virus scares me, a lot. I am not afraid that I will catch it, but I am really scared for my son and daughter-in-law that live in New York City. I am terrified for my daughter who is a pharmacist that works in a hospital. The thought of one of our elderly relatives contracting COVID-19 is petrifying.
The one aspect of this pandemic that doesn’t scare me is how it will affect my career, my business going forward. For the past decade I have watched the digital revolution unfold all around us. I have adapted to new tools, foreign skill sets, and counter-intuitive processes that are a part of our new way to communicate locally and globally. It wasn’t always easy and I’m obviously not a Tech Mogul, but I committed to not be the “grumpy old man” complaining about all the fancy gadgets that distract us from “what’s important.”
But what is important as we stay home and shelter in place? The mission hasn’t changed for the Church. Right now, more than ever, there are people all over the world that are scared, sick, hungry, hopeless, and hurting. These are Jesus’ people and He expects us to continue to go out into the world to find them, care for them, and love them into a relationship with Him. Yet I talk to people in churches and ministries that are concerned, and let’s admit it, scared about how the world is changing around them and what it will take to reach these people.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not belittling your fear of the unknown that lurks around the next corner. On the contrary, I am hopeful we can bring those fears into the light so we can examine them, understand their true source, and work diligently to overcome them. Fear exposes the cracks in our armor where the evil one plants seeds of doubt, discouragement, and despair. The darkness creates a fertile growing climate for these seeds to grow and multiply until we are paralyzed by the fear of change and difficulty of new ideas.
I don’t have a pithy “3 Step Plan” to overcome our fears of change and the future. As church leaders and pastors, you already know how to help people overcome their fears, tackle change, and forge ahead into the future. But how do we apply that advice to ourselves? Prayer is always step number one. A next step is to realize you are not in this alone, so seek out others for support and ideas. My friend Wil Cantrell shared in a recent blog post about who we should be talking with about addressing our future path. Then I would suggest you pray some more!
I am still scared of this virus and the damage it has caused to people’s lives. But I also see the positive change in others all around me in response to our circumstances. What really helps me stay positive and moving ahead is leaning into the calling in my life to help churches connect more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The hurting and hopeless are Jesus’ people and it is evident that God called me to change my perspective many years ago to be prepared to help churches find Jesus’ people. I know all of you are following a deep calling too; lean into it, be active in it, and ask God to show you new ways to live it out in your church and community.