As the president of Venture Church Network, I would like to say thank you. It feels like pastors have been through more in the past 16 months than decades combined. I know everyone’s saying this, but take a step back and really think of all that’s happened recently.
Coronavirus deaths. Lockdown. Job loss.
Politics. The election. The capitol storm.
Black Lives Matter. Antifa. Riots.
Critical race theory. Transgender minors. Pronouns.
It seemed that no matter what pastors did, they were wrong. Families left congregations or stopped going to church altogether. You may have lost staff members or close friends, either because of the decisions you felt were best for your church family or Coronavirus itself. This has been an incredibly difficult time for pastors, and I don’t feel you’ve been thanked enough.
Thank you for standing firm in God’s word when the next day seemed so uncertain. Thank you for loving your congregation and staff. Thank you for replanning events. For putting a diminishing budget into the Lord’s hands. For the virtual versions of bible studies, Sunday school, youth camp, and VBS. For the hours of frustration as you tried to learn how to stream your services more efficiently. God has seen the time you’ve spent with mourning families who weren’t even able to be at their loved one’s death or funeral. No book, conference, or seminary prepared you for the moment the world turned upside down. It’s been humbling to say the least.
Perhaps you don’t feel like your story had a happy ending. Maybe your church or ministry didn’t make it. I want to say thank you, to you as well. Your story is not one of failure. Your story is not finished … the gospel reminds us of that. So, when we say that as a network we want to bear your burdens with you, support you, grieve with you, and celebrate with you, we mean it. Please reach out to your regional leadership if you haven’t already. We all need to be relationally connected because we know others are reaching out to you with their needs.
In spite of all that’s happening, your sheep need you now more than ever. And you may not realize it, but they are grateful. We sure are!
You are in our prayers!
David Whitaker, President