Dear Messiah family and friends.
I attended the first “test” regathering at our church. It was like a small glimpse into where we are headed. I think that I was taken back by how much I missed this experience. We couldn’t hug, but seeing people worshipping in our sanctuary again, it’s so different. To be in worship with others, you could feel the music, you could feel some sense of normality, you could feel God’s presence. I realized how much I missed worshipping together as a congregation, and how thankful I am for our Pastors and staff.
As I drove home, I was feeling encouraged and thankful. I started to reflect about what we have been through to get to this point. I started to mentally go over the last year, meeting with council, Pastor Chuck, and the staff. I want you all to understand how fortunate we are to have Pastor Chuck and all the staff. I have not been to seminary but, I think I can safely tell you with certainty that no classes are offered on how to pastor during a pandemic or conferences with these titles: “When to Shut Down Your Church and When to Reopen,” “How to be a TV Preacher When You Really Don’t Want to Be,” or “How to bring back services that meet your congregational needs?” In short this is new to all of us.
Pastor Chuck, Pastor Susan, paid staff, and volunteer leaders were responsible for figuring out the best way to lead our church in this new normal. They are trying to make sure the church remains focused on our mission and purpose while being mindful of everyone’s health and safety. So, Pastor Chuck is not only dealing with sermon preparation, but also with COVID regulations and safety protocols. He is focused on how to care for the congregation without being able to go to them. I have seen him weighing the answers to questions we have faced What do we do if an outbreak occurs? How will we function with a reduced amount of funds? Should we be singing in our services? How will we handle communion? And on and on it goes, like the song that never ends. As you can tell, it’s a lot! So, during this time, just remember the weight he’s bearing and be supportive. To hijack a verse from James, be slow to anger, slow to criticize, and quick to encourage.
I am sure that Pastor Chuck and all the staff are hearing lots of voices and getting lots of information during this time. And to be honest, probably a lot of it is confusing, unclear, or discouraging. How about letting your voice be one of joy to them? Send him or any of the staff a email with an encouraging word of how much you appreciate what they have been through. We should acknowledge Pastor Chuck and his leadership during this time, it has not been easy, take the time to write him a note. Yea, I know it’s old school, but I think you all know how meaningful a handwritten note of encouragement is, and I am sure Pastor Chuck is old enough to read cursive. Finally, be praying. Be a prayer warrior for Pastor Chuck and our staff. Make it a part of your daily quiet time to intercede for him and our staff.
Finally remember, Pastor Chuck is not Super Christian. He’s just a guy, a fellow brother in Christ, with a high calling to lead this church. He’s not going to be perfect, and he’s prone to grow weary, just like you. That’s why he always needs your love, support, encouragement, and prayers. But especially as we move forward to our new normal.
Charlie Radabaugh Council President