My Dear Pastor,
I hope this letter finds you wherever you are. I trust that you are well. For me, I am trying all possible means to remain well. But it is not as easy as I thought it would be. I have spent more time on social media than ever before. The loneliness and anxiety I am battling has left me without comforters, apart from Facebook and WhatsApp. But most of what I find merely induces more panic and fear. The whole world is scared and uncertain about the future. Many uninformed people are sharing Bible quotes in ways that do not make sense. At the same time, others suggest that God has lost control. Frightening. Realising that social media was not helping me, I turned to my Bible. But what I discovered shocked me even more.
The loneliness and anxiety I am battling has left me without comforters, apart from Facebook and WhatsApp
How do I Approach the Word?
It is not that the Word of God is not powerful or sufficient to address us in this time. What unsettled me was the realisation that you, my shepherd, have not provided me with the tools necessary to approach this Word, in your absence. In addition only now have I discovered that we have been seeing you more and hearing from you more than seeing or hearing from God. This has crippled my spiritual life and showed me how unprepared I am to stand firm, when I am alone.
And that has left me wondering who to hold accountable but you, dear Pastor. After all, I think it is your responsibility to feed the flock of God. For you are tasked with caring for God’s sheep. And the only nourishing pasture for feeding them is the Word of God. If yes, I guess the response to this should be a personal check-up, or maybe even a rebuke. Do you think that, as the years of ministry passed by and you engaged in many other roles, the devil might have lured you into pulpit mediocracy? Maybe you were tempted into relaxing and lowering the standard of your teaching and preaching. Might not the combination of familiarity and busyness have resulted in freewheeling?
You have not provided me with the tools necessary to approach this Word, in your absence
Dear Pastor, Why Aren’t I Fed?
I have seen and admired the strength of some brothers and sisters in this situation. When I ask them the basis of their strength, they just lift up their Bibles, thanking God for their pastor. That has caused me to think that their secret is nothing more than what their pastor faithfully opens up for them: the whole truth of Scripture. And the fact that I have not got this from you, is the reason why I have remained stunted and immature, despite being a Christian for many years. That is why I humbly ask you, my dear pastor: would you please consider that the next time you stand at the pulpit you do it differently? For what we need is the undiluted Word of God. Not snippets. Not verses snatched from their context. But detailed, careful attention to the biblical text.
What we need is the undiluted Word of God. Not snippets. Not verses snatched from their context. But detailed, careful attention to the biblical text
Please Tell me More about Jesus
I do not know how long this lockdown will last. Though I pray the time is short. But, maybe, this situation is a blessing in disguise. Would you consider, over the course of this lockdown, how you might restructure your approach to preaching? Maybe consider lightening up on the stories and replacing them with those in the Bible. Would you also consider pointing me to God, who is the author of the Bible? I need to see and hear more of Jesus Christ. I am desperate to learn more of what he did for me on the cross, why his resurrection matters, and what he is doing now that he has ascended.
My dear Pastor, you have always happily shared your life experiences from the pulpit, or whenever I came for counselling and Bible study. These have certainly been a help to me. I have been encouraged and strengthened by them. And thank you very much for your willingness to share them. However, I have greatly struggled to stand during this time. For I cannot remember you sharing any experience which is related to COVID-19. Thus I have found myself running to the Bible. I am not in any way suggesting that your life experiences are not helpful or impactful. Of course they are. All I am saying is that, sometimes, they might not be good enough to sustain Christians through what life throws at us.
Consider lightening up on the stories and replacing them with those in the Bible. Would you also consider pointing me to God?
Prepared to Withstand
Clearly you did not have any experience in COVID-19. And that is why you hardly had anything to share with me in preparation for this situation. Yet God’s Word is good and sufficient at all times, in all situations. I know that we serve a God of history. Therefore, I am sure that He has something for me in His Word in this crisis, in my loneliness and confusion. And this is why I hope you will open and preach it faithfully, when we fellowship again.
I believe that when you do this, it will become a true and trusted anchor for me whenever you are not with me. In addition, when you purpose to do this, I have confidence that it will become a beacon of hope in times when your voice cannot be heard. Lastly, when you faithfully preach Jesus Christ, the way He is presented in Scripture, you can be sure that I will stand firm even when the earth shakes like never before. When I fall you can be assured that I will get up, because I have a firm foundation to stand on and God’s supporting presence.
When the time comes, grab the opportunity to feed God’s flock well. They need more of God, and less of you
Therefore, may God help you, my dear Pastor, to use this period of lockdown profitably. May He cause and empower you to grapple with His Word during this time, so that by the help of the Holy Spirit, you will intentionally and prayerfully commit to faithfully preaching God’s Word. On your return to the pulpit, I plead you to major in biblical truth. When the time comes, grab the opportunity to feed God’s flock well. They need more of God, and less of you.
Your committed and hungry Christian.