Dear Great Lakes District pastors and ministry leaders,
The Board and Staff of the Great Lakes District want to thank you for your faithful and steady leadership at your church. As you give pastoral leadership to your congregations, know that we are praying for the Lord to fill you and your church with both faith and wisdom.
Here are a few words of encouragement from the Great Lakes District:
First, our response to this crisis should be different from the world's response. We worship a God who loves us and will care for us. Our security is in heaven, not in our financial assets. Trust the Lord's promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Take this opportunity to point people to the living God who wants to comfort and care for his children and all people in their time of affliction. (
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
) As believers we are empowered by the God of comfort to care for those who are being afflicted.
Second, respond to this crisis in prayer. Cry out to the Lord for his protection, for his wisdom, and for his guidance on how to lead God's people and minister to people. Use
to guide you in prayer.
Third, how can members of your congregation serve others? Establish a mechanism to call to check in on the elderly in your congregation. Encourage people to check in on their elderly and sick neighbors. Reach out to non-profits in your community to see how your church can come along side and serve your community with them.
Fourth, work with your government officials and follow their advice in relationship to meetings in groups. As Mark Dever notes in this
, they have more information than we do and they have more expertise in this area. The church is not being singled out. We are being asked to cooperate. Remember that government officials are there for our good (
). Pray for them and cooperate with them. We want to work with our government to prevent the spread of this virus. Think about how to leverage technology for preaching, teaching, and worship across all age levels, how to use video-conferencing to meet with ministry and leadership teams, and the value of a phone call or text message to connect with people pastorally.
Fifth, if you are facing discouragement during this time, connect to a fellow pastor or GLD staff member by phone, skype, or zoom to talk and pray together. Do not try to bear the burden of leading your congregation alone. We can support one another through words of encouragement and prayer. Thankfully, today we can meet together virtually to encourage one another and "stir one another to love and good deeds." (
Here are some resources for you and your leadership team.
- The Billy Graham Center, in partnership with the PEACE Plan, Pastor Rick Warren, and the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, have created an online collection of resources for pastors and church leaders called Coronavirus and the Church. Check out this website full of resources (and more being added daily) on how to make strategic decisions, care for your members, and love on your community at this time.
Please feel free to contact your GLD Superintendent and Church Planting staff members to think and pray through your church's response to this situation.