“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
While it took a week or two for churches to adjust to the realities of social distancing, most churches have adapted well and have developed plans for online worship services, virtual small groups, and multiple giving options. From my perspective, pastors have led their churches well during the initial days of this pandemic. But that isn’t the case for all churches.
While I’m grateful for the innovative and decisive leadership of so many pastors, the reality is that many churches are facing these challenging days without a pastor to lead them. For example, approximately 25% of the churches in my association do not have a pastor right now. While that percentage is probably higher than most, I’m sure there are churches in your community that have no shepherd to lead them through this crisis as well.
No one to record weekly sermons. No one to check on the sheep of his flock. No one to speak encouraging words during these discouraging days. No one to lead the church to make the urgent adjustments when they desperately need to do so.
Jesus had compassion on those sheep who did not have a shepherd. And we must do so as well. Here are three ways that you can show compassion for churches in your area who do not have a pastor to walk them through these trying times.
Pray For Them
These churches are particularly vulnerable to Satan’s attacks of discouragement and despair during these days. Pray that the Lord would remind them that although they are currently without a pastor, they are not without a shepherd. Jesus is their Chief Shepherd and they can draw strength from His presence. Pray that the church will find ways to stay connected to one another. Pray that they will be able to meet their financial obligations. Pray also that the Lord would give them an extended supply of patience as this pandemic will no doubt slow their efforts to find a new pastor. There’s so many ways to pray for your sister churches who are facing this pandemic without a pastor. Add them to your prayer list today.
Check On Them
Reach out to members of any church in your area that is without a pastor. Check and see how they’re holding up. Check and see if there’s any way you and your church can help. Check and see if there are specific needs the church may have. You have no idea how encouraged they might feel if another church simply called to check on them.
Partner With Them
One of the best ways to show love to our neighbors during this time is to help one another. Some churches without pastors may not have anyone to preach or produce online weekly services. They may not have anyone that knows how to coordinate virtual small groups. They may not have anyone who is helping them adjust their budget during these financially-lean days. If you or someone in your church can share some of your expertise with them, just do it! Maybe your church has multiple men who can preach other than the Senior Pastor. Why not offer one or more of these men to record sermons for the church without a pastor? Maybe your church has some tech-savvy people. Why not offer to help the church produce an online service for their members? Maybe your church has adjusted your budget during this crisis, so why not offer to help another church to do so? Now is the time when we need to partner together and share resources. How can you and your church help a church without a pastor?
Jesus had compassion for those sheep without a shepherd, and I believe you do as well. May that compassion lead to action!