The Challenge of Ministry Amid the Pandemic and Beyond
The COVID-19 pandemic which has plagued us in the last four (4) months in this part of the world had left us with new realities that the Church needs to confront and maintain her Vision.
APPRAISAL OF SOME OF THE NEW REALITIES AND CONSEQUENCES
- The structure of Ministry has changed from crowd to smaller numbers; from personal touch to reaching from a distance.
- Orthodox Ministerial style is not very effective anymore.
THE FALL OUTS OR CONSEQUENCES OF THIS NEW TREND
- Many may likely become cold and may backslide especially those who have not developed a personal devotional life style.
- Many are caught up with fear, panic, anxiety and hopelessness with its attendant consequences on their health, fears of the virus, disruption of social life, financial security, and future goals.
- The Ministry’s Vision of soul winning is being hampered or impeded – no more crusade- in door or out door, revival programme; even witnessing could be affected to some extent because of social distancing. This makes it clear that new methods must be devised.
- Funds will be impacted because a number of our members source of livelihood may be affected; also, gatherings where offerings and tithes are generated may be limited.
- Welfare cases may increase as a result of members impacted means of livelihood coupled with churches restricted income flow.
– The Pastors own welfare is also at stake if the situation persists and if we are not proactive in our strategy and operations. Because it takes a healthy Church and a healthy sheep to supply the needs of the shepherd.
- Our individual ministry as Ministers will be hindered and we may become redundant or unfruitful if we do not brace up and act now.
– The truth is that this is a challenging time to be a leader and a pastor. If we don’t acknowledge this then we don’t have a grip of what we are facing.
HOW TO APPROACH THE CHALLENGE
1. Know that “All things work together for good” – Romans 8:28
– God uses every situation to work out His purpose.
– His strength is made manifest in weakness- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
– There is need to depend more on God and the Holy Spirit than the things we are used to.
2. Seek for new open doors – Colossians 4:2-4
– Paul was in prison, in chains, but His Ministry was not in chains- notwithstanding the difficult seasons and conditions, yet it gave birth to the epistles.
– He sought for open doors and new opportunities.
– The gospel grew in time of persecution and adversity- Acts 8
3. Prayers remain a great weapon.
4. Think out of the box- Embrace change and use of Technology
– One of our greatest tools of Ministry today is technology, we must maximize it for our advantage.
– On-line services, Bible study, prayer meetings, etc
– Reaching out to members, new converts, and the unsaved, using social media and the internet resources.
– Meeting virtually and real time using Zoom, Skype and other modes available. Some of the ways these modes can be applied include but not limited to the following:
- Churches should have a group contact through WhatsApp or Telegram applications
- Supervisory Ministers should have group chat with leaders under your rank
- Communication, supervision and short meetings can be held through these media.
- Resident Ministers – group chats with House Fellowship leaders and coordinators for monitoring activities in the house fellowship.
- Unit and Functional Leaders – same approach with leaders under their supervision.
- Pastoring using the media –Phone calls, SMS, WhatsApp, skype, Zoom, etc : – reach out to your members on a regular basis – find out about their welfare and pray with them. Our first target is to uplift the spirit of our members; they need to be assured of God’s promises of protection, deliverance and provisions- God took care of Elijah during drought (1Kings 17)
- Invest in technology and data for the Church – This is the best time to harness the potentials of our youths. There is the necessity of training in media technology for ministry for Pastors, leaders and Youths.
- Ensure that all Churches have the CUTV decoders and Encourage members to have them in their homes, offices (as a business owner).
5. Every Minister must minister. You must be responsible now as a Minister in the local church.
– Discipleship is key and cannot be handled only by the Resident Minister.
– Every Minister should have members under his/her shepherding care and report their status of progress (welfare) to the Resident Minister on a weekly basis.
– We must be proactive in supporting indigent members- their health and needs. This is time to make Ministry very relevant in the present circumstance.
– Those who are strong must be encouraged to support the weak spiritually and materially.
Let us focus more on the Ministry and God will take care of our welfare. It is not a time to be overbearing with our welfare.
Remember you are a Minister because you Minister.
6. Decentralized meetings
– We must strengthen our House Fellowship and family fellowship meetings in terms of frequency and effectiveness.
– Review and update study materials/programmes with coordinators and create a platform for regular feedback and prompt evaluation of the system.
7. Encourage sacrificial giving and faithful tithing among the brethren. Endeavor to deploy the use of electronic platforms for money transfers and other financial transactions as much as possible. Church in areas with banks should have and operate bank account.
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE
- Periodic Reports at different levels should be treated with every sense of responsibility and promptly. Reports must be reviewed by supervisory Ministers as required for necessary prompt actions and improve strategy for growth and expansion.
Note: The pandemic (the new reality of this season) cannot stand on the way of prompt report submission as this can be effectively handled electronically.
- Take responsibility of your personal health and wellbeing. Be disciplined in what you eat and drink, do regular exercise, carryout regular medical checks on your body. Ensure you are physically fit at all times.
- Ensure compliance to the protocols aimed at preventing the spread of the Covid 19. This includes hand washing or use of sanitizer, wearing of face mask, social distancing in church sitting arrangement, etc. While we put
Closing Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1; 4:1-5.
We must reflect on the following to stimulate our passion to brace up to face these new realities as it affects our work in GEWC.
- i.Creative potential of a crisis.
- ii.Necessity they say is the mother of inventions.
- iii.When the normal or usual cannot work, it turns our attention back to God.
- iv.Revivals break forth as an aftermath of a period of gloom.
It is time to re-examine and re-evaluate our ministry and prayerfully look for ways to remain relevant and fulfill our ministry. It’s possible to be fruitful amid the pandemic.
MAY THE LORD COUNT ON YOU.
Pastor Isaac V. Olori
International Director, GEWC