Pastor Problems During Covid

Pastor Problems During Covid is a pastor’s view of some of the problems and lessons learned during the Covid experience.

Attendance, Internet Services, and Unfaithfulness

Perhaps here I am alone as a pastor with these problems, but I think not. The truth to be told, I have fought with my people for years and years over maintaining a regular church attendance.

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (KJV)

I see clearly a biblical mandate from God for a regular church attendance. I find it very contrary to what I understand of God and the redeemed for a person to claim to be saved, yet reject outright, shun and avoid, or have trouble being faithful to weekly gather with the brethren and identify as one of the redeemed. The one contradicts the other to me.

So in Covid, what has happened? What my people tended to do (some not all of them) is to avoid church. So we used the Internet (Zoom) to have our services. Satan took advantage of the situation if not outright planned it, so that church people stayed away from church. Having Zoom available to them, a few don’t do computers nor non-land line phones. Okay. That accounts for 1%. But others say they did not like to attend via a computer or phone. Granted, neither do I. So what? They still have this obligation to attend.

As a pastor, I did not understand how serious this spiritual deficiency was until Covid. Some promised to return to our church when we started having in building services. Hello? We have been having in building services and Internet at the same time services for 5 months now and they still haven’t shown up even though we have called them and told them.

What we missed before Covid

What God taught me through Covid is the real need to exhort one another. Besides the standard elements of “church”, and I will delineate them here. Prayer. Prayer for one another according to requests. Praise to God for what God has done good in our lives (and bad also). The teaching of God’s Word. Worship. I define worship as a study of the character of God through exposition of Scriptures, and then worshiping God through assimilating this godly character into our lives. Fellowship. The Lord’s Supper.

Besides the standard elements of “church”, I think there is a real need for “care one for another.” You do not esteem how high a value there is on another person (not your spouse) asking how you are and actually listening to what you say and praying for you. That is very difficult to achieve through a typical Internet service. We did do it for a while, but that interaction between our people in the first part of our service was very difficult to curtail to a reasonable amount of time (under a half hour), and we had to cut it out. Between the regular service elements and that, our preliminaries took well over an hour, and then the sermon.

Tithes and Offerings

Maybe just people in Mexico are guilty of this, but we rent a place for services, and our people wanted me to turn it back over to the landlord and take the stuff out. We didn’t need to pay rent through Covid. We should save that money. Well, the fact that somebody else could have rented it, or the landlord could raise the rent excessively when we tried to reenter the building, or just where would you store all our chairs and furniture here in Mexico (there are no public rental facilities, and that would cost near to what we were paying in rent). I suppose I could clear my house of all my furniture into one room and put the stuff there. That would have been acceptable to them probably.

But a church has expenses, and that means that somebody has to pay those expenses, and God’s way is God’s people giving sacrificially to do so. I know most of our people were essentially laid off at the beginning of this. We made up packages of dry good foods and also cash which we gave many times through Covid. But even that didn’t approach what was needed. The year after Covid, our people are still paying their personal bills, and our offerings are “scarce.”

This explains why our people are so poor, because they put God last in their line of bills to pay. Sorry, but that is surely the way it appears to me.

During Covid, we set up our treasurer to receive bank transfers for tithes and offerings. It would seem though that as stubborn as our people are to give during an in house church service, likewise they are stubborn to use that bank transfer.

The Mischief during an Internet Service

Through the time we had our services only online, I managed to find out the “mischief” that some were doing. They log into Zoom and cut off the audio and the video. Besides the point of “coming to church” in their PJs or shorts or other inappropriate clothing, they leave it on and just leave. They go take a shower, or go to the market, or cook, or who knows. But we talk to them before the service starts and during and after the service, they won’t respond nor turn on their video again. One woman had her daughter enter with her phone. Then they went on a bus and she had to turn the camera out to see what they saw out the bus window. Great. Others in the church were watching this. A regular drama.

More General Lessons from Covid (Pastor Problems During Covid)

I think what we are seeing is the reality of our people, they just are not committed to the Lord. But I cannot blame them too much, because they are a product of the church and the preaching of the pastor, me! The worst cases are people who just do not even come to the church very often even before Covid. But both the understanding of their Christian obligation to congregate (which is much more intensive than just attending), and to participate is greatly lacking. I have preached on these issues, but apparently they need to be preached on some more.

I have also learned that some people use the problem of Covid to just totally separate from our church. If they were going to some other church, I could accept that somewhat, but they are not going anywhere. That is discouraging.

I have also learned about Pastor problems during Covid that preaching via the Internet is very difficult without seeing the facing of the people I am talking to. Some many want to blank out the video so nobody can see them.

Pastor Problems During Covid

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