I recently did a short teaching on how pastors and churches can stay encouraged during this Coronavirus crisis. Here are some simple reminders I shared that I hope are helpful for you.
How to stay encouraged ourselves
#1. We need to think on Godly things.
Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Remember who God is and think on Him! He is perfectly faithful, sovereign, wise, and loving.
Meditate on God's Word regularly.
Limit your media intake.
Practice thankfulness. There is so much to be thankful for.
Think about and rest in the goodness of the Gospel...God's deep, unchanging love and mercy toward you through Christ.
#2. We need to spend time outside in God’s creation…it points us to Him.
Psalm 124:8 - Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Reminds us of our smallness and His bigness.
Reminds us that God is alive.
Reminds us of God's provision and care.
#3. We need to fill our minds with music and teaching that stirs our affections for the Lord.
Romans 12:2 - Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Now is not the time to fill your mind with trash. - Leads to discouragement and depression...steals your joy in the Lord.
Have worship music playing in your home constantly.
Listen to solid teaching, don't waste time with teaching and podcasts that disturb your soul right now.
Ask yourself regularly, "What are those things that stir my affections for God?" - Give yourself to those things.
#4. We need to have edifying conversations with others that point us to Christ and to the truth!
Ephesians 4:29 - Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
We need community in this time. Intentionally spend time talking with those that build you up and edify you.
Limit times talking with and texting those who pull you away from God and the things of God. Be honest about this.
Lead your home to be a place where Jesus and the Word are being talked about regularly.
#5. We need to pray.
Philippians 4:4-7 - Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
How to help your people stay encouraged
***Remember, you can’t do everything in this time, so focus on the most important things.
***The importance of “intentionality” and “consistency” in your leadership and shepherding in this time.
Four shepherding priorities to help your church get through this season in a healthy way:
#1. Intentional, consistent communication with your leaders.
Your leaders must lead together in this time…clarity and unity is huge.
Set regular meeting times to talk through issues and challenges.
Use email and zoom calls strategically.
Show one another much grace.
Encourage each other relentlessly!
#2. Intentional, consistent communication with your congregation.
Our people want to know what is happening…keep them in the loop.
Use email and zoom calls strategically.
Develop a weekly schedule for congregational communication.
Create a game-plan for how to best use social media.
#3. Intentional, consistent encouragement and care for each individual member of your congregation.
Our people need extra love and care in this time from their pastors.
Develop a shepherding strategy for this season.
With your elders (or other leaders) try to contact every person by phone or text every two weeks just to check in and encourage them.
#4. Intentional, consistent prayer and feeding to encourage your flock.
Acts 6 - The Word and prayer is the pastor’s #1 calling...even in times of crisis.
Encourage your people to make your Sunday morning online worship gathering a priority.
Have online studies for your people to be part of throughout the week.
Schedule regular prayer meetings for your congregation to be part of.
Create a prayer calendar to help you make sure you and your elders/leaders are praying for your people by name regularly.
Have clear pathways for people in your flock to 1) share prayer concerns and 2) to pray for one another.