Those of you that know me, know that I’m a serious geek. I started a company (Faithlab!) that uses digital media and helps others do the same. I have 5 email addresses, run two servers and am the host of a weekly podcast. My cameras stay busy creating photos and videos. A vintage computer collection (including an early Newton!) is featured in my home office.
So you would expect that I would be the first to celebrate the way ministers and churches are embracing the creative use of the powerful media tools we have at our disposal — video, podcasts, websites, social media, live streaming. And I do. It’s wonderful to see churches beginning to think outside the box in terms of how we communicate.
But we have to be smart — and consider what is sustainable.
Church members, please know that the use of these tools takes time — LOTS of time. Especially if they are done well. That’s why most media firms charge hundreds of dollars per produced minute of video or audio. Sure, doing a video here and there is workable — but this pandemic is likely to keep things in flux for months. Doing daily or weekly production can drain even the most creative person.
Fellow church members, please realize that our ministers are also having additional pastoral care demands placed upon them. People are quite reasonably scared, worried about their jobs and incomes, concerned about relatives, and generally unsettled. Those prone to depression are also reaching out for care. Our ministers take these interactions seriously, but they are also emotionally draining and time-consuming.
Church leaders — laypersons in charge of personnel committees, deacons, church councils — please help protect your church staff in this season. We are facing a marathon, not a sprint. Give your ministers care. Give them time to be with their families. Help them preserve healthy expectations and boundaries. Ask them what they need.
We will need the leadership and care of our ministers for years to come. It’s up to church members to love and support them now so they will be here for our communities for the long term.
David Cassady is the president of the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky.
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