In the midst of what is now being called by the World Health Organization as a global pandemic, we asked one pastor how his church is leading his church well through the COVID-19 fears and uncertainties. I am glad to welcome Mitch Kim today. Mitch is senior pastor of Wellspring Alliance Church in Wheaton, IL. My hope is that you will find some good takeaways in what Wellspring is doing.
Ed: Give us an inside scoop on what it’s like to be a pastor in the midst of the increasing spread of COVID-19 both globally and also here in North America.
Mitch: We are used to having our lives under control in North America, but a small bug is humbling the most powerful nations of the world. People are scared. Hand sanitizer can ’t be found, toilet paper and cleaning supplies are being rationed at stores, and Spam is out. And I love Spam. It is easy to seek an illusion of control by searching incessantly for more information on the internet. COVID-19 has exposed our illusion of control, and the loss of control sparks fear.
Ed: What measures has Wellspring taken to care for those in your congregation?
Mitch: First, we call for a posture of faith not fear. As our illusion of control is exposed, then we need to walk in faith-filled surrender before the One who is in control. Practically, faith does not entail foolishness, and we have encouraged common precautions like hand washing, cleaning, and protocols to protect the vulnerable as recommended by the CDC.
In addition, we have identified and modified common practices in the church that could spread the virus quickly:
- Instead of shaking hands, we are bowing, elbow tapping, or waving. We demonstrated this with humor on Sunday.
- Instead of passing an offering plate, we have a box in the back of the sanctuary and are encouraging more of our congregation to do online giving.
- Instead of taking the bread for communion from a common plate, we will have gloved servers place the bread in the hands of our people.
- For those who are sick or concerned about getting sick, we have a live-streaming option to worship online.
- Since the elderly who are most vulnerable may also be the least likely to know how to access this option, we are developing a calling chain to check in with them and see if they need help in this regard.
- Also for those in senior living facilities, we are working to see if we could set up a small group gathering to worship together with the livestream.
Ed: Addressing this pandemic takes both wisdom and faith. What does it look like to walk in faith in the midst of such a global health threat?
Mitch: As this virus brings the world to its knees, we as a church minister from our knees. Being humbled is a place where we can receive and release grace. Last night we spent an evening in prayer, praying for medical personnel, our community, and ourselves. We are learning from our international workers from around the word, hearing from our international workers in Wuhan, China as well as another who lived through the Ebola crisis.
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Source: Christianity Today