By Rev. John Tucker
There is a saying in sports that goes like this, “Don’t let one loss turn into two losses!” What this statement means is that a team needs to learn from a loss and not let it defeat their spirit and work ethic. If they do not learn from it, they will allow that loss to cascade into other losses. It makes a lot of sense.
I write this because I hope our churches won’t let COVID-19 lead to other church losses. Here is a list of the ways we could let COVID-19 beat us more than once:
- Loss of commitment because we cannot attend in-person worship.
- Loss of relationship because small groups cannot meet in person.
- Loss of pastoral support because the pastor is having to do a different job than the pastor did back in “normal” times.
- Loss of income because people are with-holding their giving because of other things listed here.
- Letting minor annoyances erupt into major conflict because we are all frustrated with how we are having to do church right now.
- Arguing over the church using PPP loan money.
- Resenting staff who are getting paid when they cannot do the jobs they were hired for.
- Resenting that staff had to be let go due to a lack of financial resources.
- Envying other denominations who are not being as careful as we are.
- Blaming the District Superintendent for everything that is going wrong (I am kidding about this one but if it helps, I’d rather you blame me than your pastor).
These are very trying times. The wildfires have wreaked havoc. Political anxiety is at an all-time high.
Take a breath. Pursue a spiritual discipline. Respond with love and patience. We need to be the people we are supposed to be because the world needs that right now. We need it too.
Rev. John Tucker serves as District Superintendent of the Crater Lake District in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.