Joshua 1:9 ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I never expected Coronavirus to bring to the surface some of the issues that have arisen in our ministry setting. We had been living in an era of limited involvement by congregation members in our weekly services and very subtly and inadvertently we had become Pastor reliant especially on Sundays. The reasons include family conflict issues and generally an increase in pursuing materialistic needs.
This has happened quite naturally, although there is an awareness that this is the case. It probably explains the reason I’m in amongst the people every day and, with the help of God, doing what is possible to turn this around to some degree. It’s the men who need to be on board.
Along comes Covid19, prompting every congregation, including ours, to seek new, creative and technological ways to reach people, especially on Sundays. Well, that’s all ok, but it’s happened all too quickly, especially for someone like myself who understands the basics with no real need to step up to the next level… until now.
Live streaming on Facebook has been an effort involving 2-3 people, messaging on Facebook is required, tuning into YouTube helps, and finding and downloading the hymns and Gospel music for Sunday reaches into another relatively unknown area. All of this in a very shaky internet region!
Compounding all this is the requirement for us to be locked into our small town to remain safe from the dreaded virus. This means my basic technological equipment cannot be upgraded. In summary, a very steep learning curve and placing myself into the hands of numerous other people – I think I’m seriously out of control. This is unusual but probably a healthy even refreshing place to be.
As a result a new generation is stepping in because this little duck has needed HELP big time, and he’s not afraid to ask. Coleridge has willingly shown me You Tube. Learna has tutored us in the fine detail of live streaming. Keithean has directed the ‘production’. Pam has control of the ‘camera’. Kerry has assisted with the music. Jayson has been in the background, always ready to help. Cheryl is the music technician. Pearl, Esma, Estelle, Jemily, Cheryl, Lillian and Dora have all stepped in to distributing printed material. Heather is the production consultant who advises the quality of the production. And too many to number, the increase in people ‘tuning in’ to the end result. Any wonder I’m out of control, this flood of helpers has been the result of the dreaded Coronavirus, the catalyst for me to reach out for help and see a community come together in a new way. Only three of them were previously actively involved.
God has chosen to work in another mysterious way. He has been my greatest teacher, rising to the occasion in so many unexpected ways. It is exciting, challenging, fulfilling, frustrating, but most of all, has provided a major breakthrough to the next generation. This has also been very rewarding for all of those previously mentioned.
The encouragement we have received from dozens of Facebook viewers/listeners who have appreciated this in no small way has been the icing on the cake! We are getting a meaningful message to the followers not only from our beloved Hope Vale, but also far and wide, including other states. During the Lockdown we have made every effort to keep our essential service Op Shop open and with sufficient stock for the town. We are carefully following the Government directives to maintain our good health. With the help of two transport companies and our precious family members in Cairns who have willingly sourced our range of goods and delivered to pick up points for the transport companies, we have remained open for business.
Why is this so important? In a place where there is no similar business this has provided a form of ‘mental health therapy’, and for some, retail therapy.
God has been so good helping us to navigate our way through these rapidly changing times. Managing to keep the Op Shop open has continued to provide an income stream for our congregation that has resulted in four fold the regular Sunday offering. How good is our God!
And just to be sure, God has guaranteed that “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13 v 5. Knowing this means I will never be ‘seriously out of control.’ 😊
Respectfully submitted His ever willing servant.
20th May 2020