Peddling Uphill

Most of us, during COVID, are like the biker who gets off the seat to peddle when approaching the top of the hill.

Do you feel the burn?

Have you ever ridden to the top of a hill only to see another one in front of you? That is a sinking feeling, and that is what we are facing in the church world right now.

Our normal was disrupted mid-March with the coronavirus, and it’s never going back. We peddled up that hill, thinking that if we could get to re-entry, we could re-connect with the familiar of church the way we knew it. Now we know it won’t be the same.

In what ways will the future for the American church be different?

We are starting to understand that the “re-entry” hill is looming ahead. It’s ominous.

Gloo’s Pastor Poll initially revealed Pastors said they were doing “good” or “very good” handling the quarantine.  That assessment stayed stable through the first six weeks or so that data was gathered, and then the answers began to shift.

Now the majority of Pastors are answering, I’m doing “good” or “okay.”

I’ve been asking these questions of you for the last several weeks, thanks for weighing in again, if you are a pastor.

If you are not a pastor but participate in your local church, please check-in, as well.

Re-entry brings a new set of questions to the table. Do we wear masks? How do you provide for children? What if more people come than are allowed? What if less come than we expect?

If the dates for opening keep changing how do we not confuse our communication? Do we put as much effort into online as we have in the last eight weeks? Or do we shift our priority back to in-person gatherings? Are we able to do a both/and?

What do we do about staff whose’ job description doesn’t fit today’s ability to minister? Will the giving come back?

What pastor, or staff, is up to the many questions that come their way in this ever-changing environment? No wonder we are tired.

What do we do?

Gear down, that’s what a biker does.

The higher gears are for speed. The lower gears are for torque; it helps your endurance.

What does it look like for you to gear down?

For me, it means to remember that God is present and available, but I need to create space and time to meet with Him. The scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God.” The busier my life is, the more noise around me, the harder it is for me to connect with God and hear from Him. I have to slow the pace and quiet my soul to commune with God.

I have a friend, Mindy Caliguire, who is an author who writes about spiritual formation and soul care. She likes to say, “rest is a weapon.” We work best when we work from rest rather than working so hard that we rest because we have no other choice.

Spiritual tools to win look like God’s word, your journal, blocked time on your calendar, and a set-aside place to meet with God.

Jesus made prayer a priority. He often prayed late at night or early in the day. He created space to be alone with his “Abba.” We would translate that word, “daddy.” Don’t miss the intimacy implied.

Do you know what happens if you don’t gear down? You have to get off the bike and walk. While that is better than rolling backward down the hill, it’s not ideal.

I’m cheering for you and believing that you will find the benefit in a time like this where other distractions are minimized. I’m praying you will gear down and live at a pace that reveals you know God is in control, so you don’t have to be.

I’m praying we hear from God and learn what He wants us to discern in this unique moment.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear what God is saying to the church.” Revelation 3:22