What’s Up with Pastor Todd 6-19-20
“If we let it fall apart, what could we do then?” In the early days of the COVID pandemic, I used the phrase “stay safe, stay together” to chart a course through what has been a difficult, scary time. I’m glad to say we’ve done that.
March 22 was our first livestream only worship service at FCCG. In those early days and weeks, we were in emergency mode–or at least church leadership was. Every day new information about the pandemic was coming out from state and local officials. As a church we had to learn quickly and adapt nimbly to keep everyone safe and everyone together. Folks were frightened and disoriented. We were looking for direction and trying to find our footing.
We adapted quickly. Many of us learned how to use Zoom. We adapted our worship service and upgraded our technology. We learned new routines of working from home, of checking in by phone, of making sure people were safe and supported. We started new programs: weekly Zoom Bible study, “Thank-Goodness-It’s-Zoom” virtual happy hour, online prayer group, daily online devotional. The Vitality Team has really shined in these past months (thanks Beth Lindsay, Ann W, Don S, Anne delC., Dick L, Kerri C, Heather D!) raising money for essential workers, organizing a cheer parade, delivering Easter cheer baskets, thanking postal workers, organizing mask making, organizing gardening supplies and cheer cards for the residents of Meadowbrook, and more. The one thing I love about this COVID time is that it has opened an opportunity to connect with new groups of people beyond our walls–people we have overlooked for too long.
Now we’re at a different place. Summer is upon us. Folks are getting restless. For some, perhaps, the novelty of worshipping from home has worn off. Zoom gatherings that were well attended at first have tapered off, so we’ve discontinued them for now. I hear complaints. The diversity of opinions about whether and how to continue our collaborations with South Church is wide. The weight of grief over what’s been lost over the past months and the worry over what is to come are significant. I’m finding that leading the church from a place of staying safe and staying together is actually becoming more challenging the deeper we move into this pandemic.
One of the things we learn in coaching training is the technique of asking “powerful questions.” Questions that point to the heart of the situation can sometimes shift perspective and remove obstacles to growth, life, happiness. It occurred to me that a powerful question for this moment might be “What if we let it fall apart? What could we do then?” We still need to stay safe. And I think we still want to stay together, but what if we took a breather? What if we relaxed the meeting schedule? What if we let go of our expectations of “going back to normal” and just did the things that brought us life, joy, and energy? What if we focussed on the work of the Vitality Team that is bringing blessing and joy to so many people?
The Re-Open Team–Lori F, Lisa R, and Sue M–will be beginning their work soon. I’m hoping in the coming weeks we can begin to define when, how, and under what circumstances we can begin some in-person gatherings. Until that time, what do you need to let go of? What do you need to embrace?