Pandemic division causing pastors to leave ministry, pastoral mentor says

“I know of pastors who are quitting just over the stress of this issue and what it’s causing in their churches, and I know churches splitting over whether you should wear a mask or not . . .  COVID has impacted every pastor to some degree. Usually it has brought more challenges and more difficulty.” - BPNews

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AndyE's picture

I really have no idea what to do when people I know, from church or school or wherever, post completely off-base things regarding the virus, vaccines, the election, etc.  I really want to encourage a different way of thinking but for the most part I just mind my own business...but sometimes I feel like I not being the right type of friend by just letting it go.

dgszweda's picture

AndyE wrote:

I really have no idea what to do when people I know, from church or school or wherever, post completely off-base things regarding the virus, vaccines, the election, etc.  I really want to encourage a different way of thinking but for the most part I just mind my own business...but sometimes I feel like I not being the right type of friend by just letting it go.

It is amazing how divisive these issues have become, especially within the evangelical world and within our own churches.  I feel that it has exposed some serious issues.  I have gotten to the point that I know longer talk to certain of my Christian friends.  Why can we rally around abortion as a sanctity of life issue that we are all aligned on, but we don't view COVID deaths as a sanctity of life issue and we begin to politicize it.  These are things that should not be politicized for the church.

Bert Perry's picture

My church has lost a pastor and a couple of deacons to this.  One of the big things in the conflicts that led to their departure is a hardening of positions--one side is "we've got to carry on ministry as if there were no epidemic", and the other is "we've got to do every little thing public health officials recommend and require."  Add to the first some of the conspiracy theories out there, and you've got a recipe for strife.  I'm trying to help brothers and sisters in our church come to  common ground, and it's a struggle--first of all with my own thoughts!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

T Howard's picture

Brian Croft wrote:
"I know of pastors who are quitting just over the stress of this issue and what it’s causing in their churches, and I know churches splitting over whether you should wear a mask or not,” Croft said. “COVID has impacted every pastor to some degree. Usually it has brought more challenges and more difficulty.”

If you're quitting the ministry over the stress this issue is causing, you're a hireling. Go sell used cars and stop pretending to be a pastor.

What is going on with men in pastoral ministry today? They experience conflict, difficulty, stress, or hurt and they run away from God's flock.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

T Howard wrote:

If you're quitting the ministry over the stress this issue is causing, you're a hireling. Go sell used cars and stop pretending to be a pastor.

What is going on with men in pastoral ministry today? They experience conflict, difficulty, stress, or hurt and they run away from God's flock.

Pastors have to be able to take the heat and actually lead when things get difficult, I agree.

However, when the approach to something like Covid (which is not a biblical doctrine) is "my way or the highway," they can expect the congregation to leave or rebel if they take an extreme position and aren't prepared to moderate their view.  I agree with Bert that a good approach has to be different from the extremes of "this is nothing" and "no matter what government says, it's right," the latter of which is not much different from all the contradictory popes and councils cited by Luther, given the way this has played out over the past year, with changing and contradictory advice.

As a deacon, I serve as one of the "leadership team" of our church as advisors to the elders/pastors, and walking a line through this pandemic hasn't been easy.  Like probably most churches, we have members of both above listed extremes, and we've had to craft policies that walk a line between those extremes, and we have had to make some changes along the way, due to changing circumstances as well as changing government policies and laws.  Although this has been more difficult and stressful than a "normal" year, I don't see it as something that is "too hard for us," or that we should give up.  The church is Christ's bride, and is worthy of just about any effort we can put into it.

Dave Barnhart