We learned at my grandmother’s funeral long ago that everytime one of her nephews visited, she told that particular nephew, “You are my favorite.”
They were all her favorites.
Before COVID hit, when I was preaching from one of the 96 pulpits in our Presbytery or when I was visiting for a congregational event, I would often tell that Church that they were my favorite.. To be perfectly honest, they are all indeed my favorites in their own way. Struggling congregations, thriving congregations, broken congregations, betrayed congregations, and even cranky congregations. Although they can be a challenge, cranky congregations do wonders for my prayer life.
In these pandemic days, it’s the perfect time to work on these things:
- Remember that the church is first and foremost a spiritual community. We are not a social club. We are not a family business. We are not a fast food establishment. Healthy pastors want to be the Church with people who have a spiritual hunger. We are trained to think theologically, to teach the Bible, to mentor people in their faith. Healthy pastors lose interest when all the Church wants to do is argue about money or perpetuate social expectations.
- Lighten up. Enjoy each other’s company. Forgive generously. Laugh more. Refrain from all opportunities to shame each other.
- See every challenge as an opportunity. Instead of wringing our hands over the way this pandemic has “ruined everything” consider how the church might address new opportunities for worship and service.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Who knows how long this pandemic will last before there’s a vaccine? This is the time to try new practices. If we like them – great. If we don’t like them, we can stop when the pandemic ends. Trying new ways of loving God is Biblical.
If your congregation does these things, you will not only be my favorite, you will be the favorite of every pastor fortunate enough to serve you. Let’s use this strange time to re-think, re-tool, re-focus.
Image of one of my favorite churches: Holy Grounds (2010) because they worked on the four things I’ve listed. I’ve been blessed to work with hundreds of favorites.