So far this year has been anything but normal. With so much chaos surrounding us, it can be difficult to know how to plan for what’s next. Pastors are navigating more emotional, relational, technological, financial and structural decisions than ever before, and it isn’t clear if there’s an end in sight.
To help provide ministry leaders with encouragement during this time, I sat down with Jud Wilhite, who has been the Pastor of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas for over 17 years. The mission of Central Christian is focused on rescue through recovery programs and evangelism, which may seem like a challenging ministry during COVID-19. Like other churches, Central Christian closed their doors for in-person worship at the beginning of the pandemic, but they were anything but shut down.
The leaders and members of Central Christian sprang into action serving their community in any way possible, including feeding over 7 million pounds of food to over 570,000 families at their food bank. Now, Central Christian has once again opened their doors for in-person worship, while following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, and they continue striving to be the hands and feet of Jesus by serving their community.
Jud shared what God’s been laying on his heart throughout the pandemic, and how he has found peace and encouragement despite the uncertainty of 2020.
1. Lean Not On Your Own Understanding
There has not been a shortage of opinions on how church leaders should react during this pandemic. Half of your congregation may be pushing you toward reopening while the other half may be terrified of the possible repercussions of in-person worship. While there is no right or wrong answer about reopening, scripture offers some guidance on who to turn to when we are stuck at a crossroads.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” With so much uncertainty surrounding us, we can find comfort in the reality that if we turn our hearts toward Jesus and submit to what he is calling us to do, our paths will be aligned with his will for our lives
For Jud, this verse pushed him to make three practical changes in his life:
1. He stopped watching the news when he realized it was producing more harm than good for his mental health.
2. He became more intentional about social media and pulled back on how often he spent time online.
3. He spent more intentional time reading the Bible.
These three practical steps allowed Jud to focus his heart on what God had called him to, rather than what everyone around him was telling him to do. In the interview, Jud shares the relief he found from these small changes. What can you change in your life to refocus your heart on what Jesus is calling you to do?
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SOURCE: Christian Post, William Vanderbloemen