As we move through the sixth month of pandemic strangeness in the church I suspect other pastors of small churches have experienced much of the same things I have. One being the predominance of time spent thinking about or attempting to disciple those in the church that have been outliers. Those that haven't engaged in online communication or meetings, or who have prefered to not re-gather as the church has been able to.
It struck me on Sunday when I was having a conversation with one of our leaders about state guidelines and what 50% capacity of our facility would look like. I made the comment that at this point I wasn't even sure what 100% of our church was. Simply because some families have been silent, others vocal about preferring to have John MacArthur as their pastor, or some other reason to not participate in the family life of the church.
Truth is, I have also spent a lot of time thinking about and encouraging those that are engaging and have actually exhibited tremendous growth in spiritual maturity and sacrifice for others. These are things I am determined to focus on more.
Also on Sunday I was greatly encouraged by one member who asked me for a recommendation for a book to study (along with Scripture) with a couple of dechurched friends. She had a burden for her friends given that they didn't have community and wanted to do what she could to encourage and show them Jesus. This busy mother with her own business was taking time to disciple people on top of the ways she serves the church. Her family is always making the effort to engage and participate in the life of the church. A real encouragement to me.
Then yesterday another member of the church emailed a group of guys about the baby shower most of our wives would be attending and how he wanted to get together and eat a good meal. But he also mentioned that most of us would have to be home with kids so he was going to bring the grilled meat and beverages to us. What a huge blessing and sacrifice from him to care for the body!
There is much to rejoice in these days in the life of the church. I am grateful for the flourishing of these partners in ministry and looking forward to more of it!