• Craig Hartzog

Lessons I Learned From The 2020 Pandemic

The thing that struck me most about living through a pandemic is that people’s lives still must go on. In spite of the pandemic, their needs are still present, and we are still called upon to minister and care for those needs. It didn’t matter if we had shut down worship services, Bible study, and other ministries. People still needed pastoral support, prayer, care, and help through some very difficult times in their lives, whether that meant fighting Covid-19 or not. People still experienced sickness and death in their families. There was an ever-growing sense of loneliness and isolation, especially with our seniors who were impacted and threatened the most by this pandemic. Yet most of them showed the same courage, strength of faith, and fortitude to face this situation as they have shown facing all the other obstacles in their lives.

A challenge for me in ministry was that I wasn’t able to go out and see our people and to be with them during the crises of their lives. In forty years of ministry, it has always been my practice to be with people who are facing surgeries, deaths, and even for a casual visit to check in with them. The pandemic made that practice impossible. You simply didn’t know when you may be exposed and if you would be exposing someone you are trying to care for. Therefore, we made it our practice not to go into homes. The hospitals were closed for visits, as well as the nursing homes. Our love for the people had to be shown and expressed in other ways. This primarily meant communicating with our people through phone calls. I spent most of the year calling on our people through the phone, and they were gracious and understanding. Most affirmed the phone call and appreciated being remembered and checked on. Our prayers continued for those who had specific shared needs. I had to discipline myself and stay focused on this primary method of ministry.

As we go forward I know that we will also be looking back and stand in amazement at how God has gotten us through this historic and challenging time. I pray that we have all learned to appreciate the gift of gathering as the church. I hope that as we are able to regather that we begin to experience an overwhelming sense of God’s presence and power. May we gather with a heart for God in worship, a heart for one another, and a heart for missions and outreach in our community and around the world. May this pandemic be a time of learning, growing, and maturing in our lives as believers. May this be a time to reflect on the great blessings we have enjoyed in this time we live, in spite of Covid-19, and express our appreciation, love, and commitment to God with a new fervency for Him, the gospel, and sharing our faith.

________________________________________________________________________________ This article is a part of our series called Vision 20/21. To check out the other articles in this series, look for the Vision 20/21 tab in our blog section.

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