“Don’t waste a good crisis.”
That’s the line my executive pastor quoted a couple of years back when we were dealing with another hard situation in our church, and that’s one of the phrases that’s been coming to mind as I think about how to love and shepherd people well in this Covid-19 season. There are opportunities to be taken advantage of in the midst of every crazy situation.
As a young adult pastor, I’ve been looking forward so much to the time when I can get back together with the different young families, young professionals, and college students I get to serve. We had a ton of good things in motion when we left, and I so much want to get back to seeing those things come to fruition.
I know that many of us as ministry leaders find ourselves busier than we were before we moved into quarantine, and I don’t want to be another person telling you all the things you should be doing. At the same time, I am seeing some opportunities in my context as we prepare to move back into some form of re-gathering.
Let me share 5 questions that I’m trying to think through as we move closer to that time…
- Who needs a touch? “People over task” has been the saying that has guided much of our church’s ministry during this time frame, and the goal has been to make sure people stay connected and are cared for. This is a time frame where a phone call or handwritten note make a ton of difference for our people. Graduating college seniors, single young professionals, and your group leaders will deeply appreciate a personal ministry touch, and that ministry may yield dividends for years to come.
- Who is shining out? Last week some of our staff spent time talking about which leaders in their ministries were doing creative or encouraging things for their groups during this time. It was super encouraging to celebrate their giftings and those ministry wins, but it also gave us great insight into who could step into larger leadership roles within our organization. Our college student lead team has gotten some great opportunities to lead out in different Zoom environments during this time, and we’re discovering potential new group opportunities as a result. (Hint: Call those volunteers or send a card to let them know that you see their ministry!)
- What’s begging for a change? It might be different for you, but not everything was running on all cylinders when we left. There were some really strong ministry initiatives happening, but there were some things that are aligned with our ministry vision but really needed some improvement. It’s going to be much easier to make that change now than a month into re-gathering. What organizational change do you need to make?
- What needs to start? I’m a huge fan of simplicity in ministry, so I don’t want to tell you to add a bunch of things to your plate, but I also believe that new things generate excitement and momentum for your ministry. People will be hungry for new. What new groups need to start at different times? What new teaching series will be launching? One of my goals is to recruit a young professionals leadership team before we get back to regular gatherings, as well as to launch new on-going groups for college students and young professionals.
- What doesn’t need to come back? I’ve found that it’s much easier to start something new in ministry than it is to stop something that’s been going for a while, but right now we find ourselves in a season where everything has been put on hiatus. Who says everything has to come back?
I pray this is helpful as you move closer to re-gathering, and I pray the Spirit gives you vision and fills you with hope for the opportunities ahead.
Ben Baxley serves as the Young Adult Pastor at First Baptist Hendersonville, Tennessee. Ben, his wife Christine, and their two sons live in the Hendersonville area, and he holds an M.Div. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Connect with him on Twitter @ben_baxley.