“In terribly discouraging times, try not to be too discouraged.” That’s what Moses Cohort Pastor Trish DeBoer told me as we talked about how COVID-19 has changed ministry. New technology is a growing edge, Pastor DeBoer admitted, but she is willing to learn because she misses seeing her people and checking in. She misses the joy of worshiping together, singing, and fellowship.
Pastor DeBoer also discussed the difficulty of preaching in an empty building. “Where do I look?” she wondered when she’s preaching to a computer screen and empty pews. “There’s no body language or facial expressions to read.” Pastor Trish felt especially sad not being together with her congregation on Easter. She still had her family dress up for Easter and take family pictures, for some sense of normalcy. Pastor DeBoer appreciates how her people have stepped up to offer help to those in need, to check-in with friends and neighbors, and to see how they are trying to be a blessing to others.
COVID-19 requires pastors and congregations to navigate a new normal. Perhaps we can even make it a better normal. That’s what Pastor DeBoer and her congregation are doing—at least until they can worship together again.
In our new series, Pastoring in Pandemic, we’re highlighting successes and struggles, sharing creative ideas, and discussing the harsh realities pastors face when church can’t physically meet. We’ve asked our Moses Cohort pastors to talk about how they’re innovating to reach their congregation and beyond.