Through Lenses and Lights to Hearts Afar
Here are some personal heart-felt thoughts about what it is like for me to Pastor and Preach in our current circumstances. I am so thankful for Wayne Hills Baptist Church and the grace you extend to me each week to lead and teach you.
It is 9:30 am—It is Sunday morning and I am preparing to speak to my church family and many more in less than an hour. The past weeks have changed the way I pastor the flock of God entrusted to me. The biblical calling to preach the Word, shepherd the flock, and equip the saints has not changed, but how I do these activities have changed. My circumstances are unprecedented, and I am still uncomfortable with the adjustments. I know that I am sharing the Word with hundreds each week. I know that my church is reaching more than those gathered in the chairs on a given Sunday. I know more people are hearing the gospel and are being called to respond to it. And yet, my head and my heart seem to disagree. My head knows I am still leading and shepherding them from afar. My heart aches for the gathering of the body for worship, prayer, and preaching.
It is 9:50 am—There are ten minutes left before I address the local body of believers that I call my church family. The worship team and AV team gather to commit the service to the Lord. They are such incredible people to work with each week. I shuffle my service notes and review my introduction to the sermon one last time. Then it is lights, camera, and action. I get the thumbs up from the AV leader, and there I stand in front of 300 chairs, two cameras, and oodles of bright lights. I miss my congregation, the greeting times, and the touch between an under-shepherd and his sheep.
It is 10:00 am—I do my best to welcome the congregation from afar and invite them to continue to serve, pray, and give to the vision and mission of Wayne Hills.
It is 11:15 am—The worship service is over. I preached a message that feels like it took twice as long to write and much less time to deliver. I am relieved to be finished with the message. I have preached the Word, shared the gospel, and called the church and others listening in to respond to the Word. I know God's Word does not return void.
It is 11:00 pm—I am restless on my pillow when God's still small voice impresses comfort and peace to me. I am reminded that God's Word has gone out, and his Spirit is alive in the hearts of his people to unite them and empower them. He can work mightily through camera lenses to light hearts afar with the unifying power of the Gospel. I acknowledge that God is working in a new way to further his kingdom according to his Sovereign wisdom.
Pastor Jamie McClanahan
Wayne Hills Baptist Church