Archive for March 5, 2021

Getting Unstuck

Posted: March 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

This stream of consciousness led to other streams, that revealed another area where I’m blocked—the most troubling one by far. I feel that I am blocked creatively when it comes to ministry. I serve a church that loves me and I am incredibly blessed. They have embraced me and have supported everything I have ever wanted to try. I love my congregation. That being said, with the onset of COVID 19, we really decided to simplify what we have been doing in the worship setting. We’ve been doing most of the things the CDC recommended to keep everyone safe and once again the congregation has been very supportive. We shortened the service, to limit people moving around the room and I am realizing I have not changed up the worship order very much in months. I want to keep things fresh, but frankly I am at a loss on how to do that and, from a creative perspective, that is most unsettling. 

Part of the struggle here is deadlines. I used to have one. Sunday morning about 7:00 a.m. I had to have everything done and ready to be presented at the 10:00 a.m. service. Things have changed. When COVID 19 shut things down, we went virtual immediately. Because out internet service at our rural church is spotty at best, I realized we would be best served by a prerecorded service. Streaming was simply not a good option for us. Further, I became aware that some of our most faithful members were older and not regular internet users, if they used the internet at all. In an effort to serve them, I began writing my sermons as manuscripts that I could format into something I could mail to them each week. It was not an ideal solution, but at least I was able to serve them in some small way, and they not only appreciate the gesture, but they have been sharing these messages with their friends, even mailing them to people out of state. Needless to say this is a service I intend to continue. This has created a few extra deadlines. In order to have these mailed so they will arrive by Sunday, they have to mail by Wednesday. Further, if I want the online service to be ready by Sunday morning, I have to have the service recorded by Thursday evening because the sermon video alone takes six to eight hours to post to the internet. 

Further, visitation has been severely limited, mostly to phone calls, and outreach has been almost non-existent. I will say that we have had some growth as people have invited their friends to church, but the “Go” aspect of the Great Commission has been really hard to figure out, so as I start this book, my confession is I am feeling a little creatively stuck.

Don’t worry, I know there is a way out and no this is not a book about ministry in the age of COVID. My prayer is that will soon be a distant memory and I hope, no, I know, the principles I am exploring here are more “evergreen” than all that. The pandemic was no surprise to God and it will not stop the Gospel from going forward. The pandemic will also not be the last thing that will happen that will threaten to push the church into a creative corner. For me this is a “physician heal thyself” moment. If you came to me as an artist for coaching and started complaining that you were experiencing creative block. I would tell you, you can’t afford that. Inspiration is not some elusive thing we artists can afford to wait for. Rather we need to seek it out and chase it down. It’s the same way for the church. When we feel stuck, the good news is, we are not on our own. We can seek the Lord and He will help us. We can faithfully act on our callings, and use our God given gifts to serve others. What we can’t do is sit around and complain about being stuck. That is the opposite of faithfulness. Our mission is too important and the salvation of the world hangs in the balance. God has gifted you with creativity to fulfill His purposes in this world, chief of which for the church, is preparing the way for the Lord’s return. It’s time to get unstuck, and the first step toward that is prayer.