The coronavirus has changed a lot of dynamics of life as we know it. The church is not exempt from the full effects of COVID-19 as members have had to resort to online platforms for spiritual upliftment. The role of the pastor has not been left untouched. With this article, I hope to provide some suggestions to the pastors on how to cope in these strange times at personal, family, and spiritual levels. In addition, the suggestions will help pastors continue providing pastoral guidance to the church members amidst the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. As we continue to seek relevance for such a time as this, some may be wondering, what should the pastor do? What advice should we give church members during the lockdown? While my tips may not be conclusive, I hope that they will serve as a starting point to birth more initiatives knowing that after this crisis, the world view, ministry, and life, in general, will never be the same again.
The Pastor and His Spiritual Life
If the pastor is to withstand the various challenges of life and the snares of the evil one, the pastor must jealously guard his spiritual life through prayer and study of the Word for personal spiritual edification. The pastor should answer the following questions;
- Do I have a special time of prayer?
- How often do I study my Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy writings? (When did I last go through the Conflict of Ages set?)
- Do I have a systematic way of studying Bible books? (Which book of the Bible am I studying this year?
- Have I been faithful to the Lord and His ministry?
We further would like to urge pastors to recommit their lives and ministry calling to the Lord. We implore pastors to prayerfully review their calling to the ministry. They should ask the Lord to reveal to them their critical ministry areas.
The Pastor and His Family
- Nurture your family relationship more than ever
- Use the modern communication system to daily be in touch with your children, and other extended family members as encouraged by Ubuntu, a concept drawn from the African of way life.
- Find a way to settle all unresolved differences amicably.
- Revisit your family finance priorities, investments, savings, and spending habits because the economy of the world and the financial situation of the church shall never be the same again
- Cultivate healthful living practices as taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Department of Health Ministries and as revealed by E.G White writings.
- Be in good health: Exercise daily and remember to go for medical or health check-ups periodically
- Prayerfully, review your priorities in life
The Pastor and His Flock – The Church
It is a very special privilege to be a Pastor at such a time of the earth’s history as this. Like in Bible times, others might have wished to be part of Jesus Christ’s ministry now, but that privilege was not given to them. Being a Pastor in the Seventh Day Adventist Church is more than employment; it is a calling from God. To accept this call demands total surrender to God and total commitment to His ministry. Here are a few helpful tips on being a faithful and productive pastor:
- Be available to your God-given flock by providing practical and spiritual pastoral leadership
- Write and distribute hopeful Bible studies and sermons to the members
- Take advantage of the Modern communication systems:
- Preach, record and distribute balanced, authentic, Biblical and theologically sound hope-giving messages
- Encourage members to come up with online Small Groups, WhatsApp prayer groups, Bible study groups (Note: Be advised that all recorded messages before they are put online should be screened by the Pastor/Elder or anyone designated), etc.
- Encourage Sabbath School lesson study groups
- Help members form Revival and Reformation groups
- Actively take part in organising Camp-meetings and weeks of prayers
- Start online evangelistic Campaigns
- Encourage members to continue giving tithe’s and offering online using the existing banking system of your country.
- Encourage members to listen to the already existing FM Radio programs
- Visit your members using online member visitation initiatives (calls, text messages, etc – The sick and the bereaved should not be left out. Encourage members to adhere to the Adventist Health Lifestyle
- Remind church elders to be alert or vigilant against individuals that would want to take advantage of the situation by preaching falsehood to mislead the church.
- Keep on preparing members for baptism. As soon as there is a window that COVID – 19 is cleared in a given area, baptisms should commence as soon as possible.
Counsels from Ellen G White writings:
- In every period of this earth’s history, God has had His men of opportunity, to whom He has said, “Ye are My witnesses.” In every age, there have been devout men, who gathered up the rays of light as they flashed upon their pathway, and who spoke to the people the words of God. Enoch, Noah, Moses, Daniel, and the long roll of patriarchs and prophet-these were ministers of righteousness. They were not infallible; they were weak, erring men; but the Lord wrought through them as they gave themselves to His service. GW 13.1
- The minister stands as God’s mouthpiece to the people, and in thought, in word, in act; he is to represent his Lord. When Moses was chosen as the messenger of the covenant, the word given him was, “Stand before God for the people.” [Exodus 18:19.] Today God chooses men as He chose Moses, to be His messengers, and heavy is the woe resting on the one who dishonors his holy calling or lowers the standard set for him in the life and labors of the Son of God. GW 20.1
Our members need hope; they need a Pastor. Are you available? When finally, the great controversy is ended, may each pastor receive commendation from our Master as He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant..”
By Passmore Ng’andu Mulambo
SID Ministerial Association Director