Looking after our pastors during lockdown

Dean Faulkner | April 13th 2020

Many of us have had to cope with a huge amount of upheaval in the last few weeks—working from home semi-permanently, having the children around all the time with the schools closed, keeping our distance socially, and so much more.

And how different has church become? Words and phrases like live-streaming, Zooming, Facebook Live and YouTube have become commonplace. We’ve had to get to grips with any number of broadcast platforms for our church services (followed by a “virtual coffee”), prayer meetings, youth groups and children’s sessions. And most of us are still working out how best to do the important ministry of caring for one another through a screen or from at least 2 meters away.

The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read

The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read

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Caring for your pastor and the difference it makes.

Church leaders in lockdown

One of the privileges of my job as UK Sales Manager at TGBC is that I get to speak to a whole host of church leaders around the country every week. If it’s been difficult for me to adjust in the last few weeks, I am sure it’s been doubly difficult and draining for those in church leadership—because a number of them have told me just that in recent days.

In addition to “normal” church activities and preparations, our church leaders are having to tackle new ways of "doing" church, and all the technological challenges which that presents (not everyone is an IT expert or has one on staff!). They’ve had to get creative in what and how they provide by way of meetings and activities across the Church. They’ve had to help members with difficult pastoral situations, without being able to be there in person. 

For many, that all-encompassing drowning feeling was exacerbated in the most busy of weeks last week—Easter Week! With lots of churches hosting services from Thursday through to Sunday, there would have been a mountain of preparation and planning to plough through.

And to top it off, our leaders will not be able to "get away" now after Easter to recharge as they usually would.

Four ways church members can help

So can I encourage you to think about how you can help your pastor, vicar or ministry team in your church? Christopher Ash in his book The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read explains just what our church leaders might be going through and how we as church members can help them. And many of the same principles apply just as much now as when things were normal: 

  • Remember that pastors are people. Christopher urges us as church members to think about pastors not just in terms of what they do—how they lead and pray and preach and teach and so on—but about WHO they are. At the moment that includes not criticizing their presentation skills and how they appear on screen.

  • Pray for your pastor. Christopher also encourages us to pray for our pastors as they serve us. I’d encourage you to pray for YOUR church leadership team right now.

  • Help them to rest. Think about how you might ease their load a little as they steer the church through these strange times. Give them space to recharge their batteries in the coming days and only take the most urgent of matters to them in the short term.

  • Encourage your pastor. When your pastor is preaching to a camera, they don’t get to see the feedback on the faces of their listeners or speak to people afterwards. So why not send your pastor a message, email or note, to thank them and tell them what encouraged you from God’s word this week?

Buy a copy of The Book You Pastor Wishes You Would Read here. 

Dean Faulkner

Dean is the Sales Manager at The Good Book Company. He engages with churches, organisations and individuals to provide them with useful resources for their varying ministries. Dean attends St John's Church in Woking, where he lives with his family.

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