In early March I sat with a group of Bible College students at a picnic table eating lunch excitedly discussing plans for my furlough coming up in May. One of them brought up the covid19 virus and my response was to tell them it was nothing to worry about.
Less than a week later that had completely changed, and my plane ticket was cancelled
The last five to six months have been frustrating to say the least as ministries were shut down along with Church services (thankfully we were able to continue holding services here) and many stayed home during quarantine. Throughout that time we looked forward to the days things would open up again.
I am incredibly happy to say that for us in Saint Vincent, the long wait is over! Monday I’ll begin teaching at the Bible College again, while schools begin opening back up, and other ministries such as Prison outreaches are soon to follow.
It’s definitely an exciting time as programs open up again, but this season of ministry will also takes lots of patience, as well as wisdom
- The normal procedure of how things were done will changed dramatically
- After almost half a year apart, you cannot honestly expect to pick up where you left off ministry wise
- In many cases relationships have to be re-established, and respect earned again
- The struggles and challenges of those you minister to would have greatly changed
- and the world itself has changed in more ways than you can imagine during the ministry break
To put it simply…some rebuilding needs to take place
As an illustration I view ministries that haven’t gone on for months as a wall that has developed small cracks or weaknesses. This isn’t surprising since A LOT has changed since the last time you were together. How those weaknesses are dealt with makes a huge difference.
The desire to get back into ministry could lead to a “quick fix” job of dealing with those cracks. Just spend a few weeks re-organizing things, and then back to business as usual. Putting plaster over the cracks may work short-term, but trying to jump back into ministry and act as if nothing has changed will do great damage in the long run
So the restart must go slowly….
refocus the emphasis of your ministry because it may have changed
re-connect in meaningful relationships
re-cast the vision so that everyone is onboard
Edify, encourage, and equip members with Scripture
and go through the awkward growing pains again
The struggle with this is you will already want to make up for lost time, so instead of patiently rebuilding, you’ll want to go full throttle right away.
This desire must be defeated because its not about how much you accomplish outwardly, but your inner character that matters. So the goal isn’t energy or emotion, but maturity
I’m sure if I came onto the College campus Monday and act as if nothing had changed then the students will follow my lead. But the truth of the matter is the world has changed dramatically since the beginning of 2020. And its my calling to equip future ministry leaders for the “new normal”. That means doing the hard work of rebuilding a foundation, and strengthening weak areas instead of painting over the cracks.