The Dixie and Caldor fires rage on the West Coast. Floods from Hurricane Ida stretch from the Deep South to far reaches of the Northeast. A 20-year war ends in Afghanistan. Senseless shootings in our schools, a fourth wave of the pandemic, political unrest, and denominational uncertainty…
All of it has many clergy asking themselves: “How do we minister in the midst of…this?”
In talking with colleagues and friends, I am constantly reminded that we’ve never been “here” before. Therefore, responses do not come readily.
Several weeks ago, past participants of the Reynolds Academy for Ministry Management gathered to discuss the nature of effective ministry at a time when the world throws new challenges at us daily. Here’s some of what I heard:
• Many clergy and staff members are frustrated and just plain tired – they need a break.
• Many, if not most, church members are done with COVID and just want to get back to “normal” – whatever that is.
• We are all in this together – no one is immune, yet alignment seems almost impossible.
• The Church needs to BE the Church and not just act like it.
These points in no way represent all the takeaways from the gathering, but they do give a good snapshot of current realities. So what are we to do? How do we minister in the midst of this when we are tired, frustrated and divided?
One response may strike you as overly simplistic. Yet is at the core of who we are as the Church. We pray our way through.
Jennifer Davis, a Foundation board member and WNCC Lay Delegate to General Conference, constantly reminds me (and anyone else who follows her on Facebook!). Yet simply praying words are not enough. Praying our way through difficult times means we have to have faith that God is with us…that God hears our prayers…and that through God, we will get to the other side of the obstacles that are before us. Hopefully, we’ll be better for it.
Please know that the board members and staff of the Foundation continue to be in prayer with and for you. You are not alone. We look forward to being the Church with you as we navigate through today and whatever comes next.