On Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards extended the stay at home order until May 15. The governor’s order is based on current data and in consultation with epidemiologists and other health professionals.
I fully recognize that many of you want to return to in-person worship, but in the best interest of the people we serve, I ask that you not return to in-person worship until at least the end of May.
A team led by Dr. Van Stinson, including pastors, medical experts, and others, is being assembled to create a plan for return to our places of worship in a responsible manner.
I am reminded each and every day that the church is not the building but the people. The “people” are our greatest concern.
From the moment this pandemic began to affect how we minister and share the Gospel, I have continually been amazed by the creativity and extraordinary innovation with which you and your churches have embraced online worship.
You continue to find imaginative and productive ways to reach people for Jesus, whether it is proclaiming the Gospel with your iPhone or praying with individual members over the telephone.
I celebrate you and your extraordinary ministry. I know that the last month has been exhilarating but also exhausting as you have adapted to new ways of worship.
The learning curve has been steep. Instead of creeping up the rickety roller coaster, it has been traveling at lightning speed. Your efforts and willingness to give of yourself have not gone unnoticed.
The preparation for this new way of worship is hard work and exhausting. Zoom Fatigue is a new phenomenon. I trust that you and your District Superintendent will continue to be in conversation about what you are learning and any needs you may have.
The transitions in the days ahead will be important and will need your leadership. Please care for yourself. Take the necessary time off to refuel and reflect.
Know that I pray for you daily that God may continue to give you a spirit not of fear but of power and love and of sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) I also add a few things to the list – I pray that God will give you strength, humility, patience, compassion, grace, faith, and things you may not even know you need.
Thank you for bringing the Gospel to a world so desperately in need of the Good News.