Paul Kuzma on Pastoring in a Pandemic, Part 1

A historic number of pastors flood today’s Internet bandwidth in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic. It’s a new way to pastor, and that means a new kind of pastoral stress.

Whether we’re in an area limiting public gatherings or in one sheltering in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, U.S. pastors have been working hard the last two weeks to figure out how to speak effectively to our flock when we can’t speak in person to our flock. Many now wear new hats – Virtual/Online Tech Expert and Media Presenter Specialist, for starters – piled on top of the dozens of our congregations’ existing expectations.

Was this on your resume before now? It sure wasn’t on mine, and I’m a Bible college graduate with more than 30 years’ experience of local church pastoral ministry who now counsels pastors. Coronavirus is changing the game; no single Bible college class or lesson could come close to preparing American pastors to shepherd in such a time.

This includes media classes, mind you. And this includes you, whether you’re leery of Facebook or can stream live to YouTube in your sleep.

Much of today’s stress is indeed technical in nature (how can I livestream my sermon
effectively?). We shelter against an outbreak that for most is still theoretical in nature (will anyone in my congregation get COVID-19?). So far, it’s the economic fallout that is anything but theoretical; giving is down 40 percent in some churches, and that’s enough to make many pastors wonder how long they’ll be in a job. However, ultimately, pastoring in pandemic is not a technical skill to be mastered.

From what I’ve seen so far, pastoring in pandemic has meant an explosion of creativity
beyond several years’ worth of combined Christmas and Easter worthiness. The spiritual, mental, emotional and physical energy expended over the last two weeks by the pastors I counsel far exceeds any mere holiday season – and so does their new stress level.

It’s not all bad stress. The creative juices can be a good stress, as long as the level and
prolonged nature of it is well-monitored. With healthy coping mechanisms in place, stress can actually help pastors grow and mature in their own Christ-likeness.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Paul Kuzma

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