Dear CBOQ Church Leaders and Pastors,
Being the Church right now is… complicated, isn’t it? It’s Zoom and YouTube and sanitizing every surface. It’s resisting the normal human impulse to reach out to others, to not take that step closer to a good friend. It’s smiling extra hard with your eyes, so that people can guess your expression under your mask. It’s trying to deal with real conflicts, big questions and struggles—many that we’ve always had in churches—but without the warmth and grace that comes with meeting together in community. It’s rewriting our plans for our churches, our ministries and our lives, over and over.
It feels a little like Soong Chan Rah’s words at Assembly last year were prophetic, because family, I find myself lamenting at times. Do you?
We are made to connect with one another and with God. We’re made to sing our hearts out (even if it’s a little off-key) from the overflow of love for our Maker. We’re meant to comfort one another, to visit the sick, to welcome the stranger and to break bread together. We are called to focus on our mission—to make disciples and share the Good News of Jesus. So much of what makes us a church family has been assaulted and thwarted by COVID-19. And we’re all a little fragile as a result.
And yet… I remain encouraged by this family of churches. Despite everything, you are making do. You are finding workarounds. Even with these sundry thorns in your sides, you are showing love for one another by slapping on a mask, washing your hands for the hundredth time and staying two metres apart. Your church’s doors may be closed (or only open to a few at a time), but your hearts remain open, even when you feel battered and worn.
Some days are harder than others. Ministry can be challenging during regular seasons; COVID-19 has increased the incline of our journey. Be assured, family, that all of us at CBOQ remain dedicated to the same mission—the Great Commission, and our commitment to equipping you, our churches and leaders, to thrive in the mission that God has placed before you.
Here you will find tools that we have developed to help you cultivate the leaders in your church—new and old—and resources to help you through these trying days. As we all persevere in this new reality, we continue on in faith that all things—even COVID-19—can work together for good, for those who love the Lord (Rom. 8:28).
My prayer for you is for the guidance of the Father, the compassion of the Son and the restoration of the Spirit.
Strength and peace to you.
Executive Minister, CBOQ