The other day, the pastors at our congregation wanted to make sure our church was making it through the new world that the coronavirus has created.
With just over 2,300 souls that call our church “my church,” we thought of the names and faces of all the single people who might be battling loneliness, all the married people who might be wearing on each other, all the parents who might be one interruption away from blowing their tops, all the addicts who might be bored enough to relapse, all the anxious people who are mentally running through the worst “what-ifs,” all the elderly people who are afraid to go grocery shopping, all the poor people who haven’t made it to Baby Step 1 in the Dave Ramsey plan, and all the other people who are dealing with all the other things we rarely thought about until corona.
2,300 people. 5 pastors. If my calculations are correct, that’s 460 people each (and I’ve read the book of Numbers, so you can trust me with math . . .). And if our goal is a personal connection based on intentional listening and quality time in prayer, those 460 calls might take 10 minutes each, probably more. That, at a minimum, is 4,600 minutes/pastor—76.66 hours. And calling people isn’t all we’re doing during the Easter season!
That means that even if we all devoted 1 hour every day to connecting with GOD’s people, some of them wouldn’t hear from their pastor for more than 2 months!
This is why GOD has a solution—You.
The apostle Paul put it this way: “So Christ himself gave . . .the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Jesus not only gave his life to save us; he also gave pastors to serve us. How? Indirectly. While a personal connection is wonderful when it can happen, Jesus’ master plan is that the pastors would equip a few who would then build up the many so that all are filled up with grace and truth. In other words . . .
The saved are served by the service of the saved.
Leave you out of the equation and desperate spiritual needs will go unmet, no matter how hard the pastor tries. But include you and singles feel loved, couples remember their vows, addicts tap into the grace and power of GOD, worriers mature in Christ, and the church finds joy in the Jesus who lived and died for us.
So here’s my homework for you—If you are part of a local church, think of 5-10 people whom you know from the congregation, contact your pastor, and tell him, “I’ll make sure these are okay.” Then make a note in your calendar to reach out to those people each week and encourage them with the rock-solid truths of our faith: GOD is here! GOD’s got this! GOD is for us! Jesus died and rose to guarantee that nothing in all of creation could make those truths untrue (Romans 8:38,39).
If you are not part of a local church, think deeply about why Jesus wants that to change. Jesus is in the business of love, and love requires time, more time than the pastor has. He needs you. Even better, GOD wants you. Would you consider connecting with a congregation? It’s no accident that you are reading this today . . .
The local church, at its best, is a beautiful thing. Not a perfect thing but a life-giving, GOD-exalting, gospel-declaring, people-loving, needs-meeting thing.
No wonder Jesus gave us pastors. No wonder the Spirit empowers his people. No wonder the Father is calling us to action.
Serve well, brothers and sisters. Your pastor needs you.