By John Harding
If you have been wondering when you should thank your pastor for his faithfulness during this difficult season, here’s my recommendation: right now. Having faithful pastors at a time like this should not be taken lightly.
2020 has taken a toll on all of us. In some areas, sickness spread quickly in the spring; in other parts of the country, the virus is now infecting more people than ever. The economy has also been hit hard, and many have had to deal with furloughs and unemployment.
The Church has not been immune. And pastors have had to bear a particularly heavy burden as they care for their flock during these challenging times.
On top of all the external challenges, working within the Church has also been difficult. In the past, making changes to a Sunday service may have led to some discomfort and questions. Making changes during a pandemic has put leadership decisions under a microscope.
The long, hard days of ministry before COVID-19 have somehow become harder.
But times like this encourage me as I observe some of the faithful men in my life. This season reminds me of a great Matthew Henry quote: “perseverance is sure evidence of sincerity.”
While so much in the world is in upheaval, faithful pastors continue to preach the gospel and minister to those in their care. When death is on their doorsteps, they have proclaimed Jesus Christ crucified and raised — preaching as dying men to dying men. When cultures and ideologies have clashed, they have preached sound doctrine and the power of Christ that has unified believers no matter their backgrounds.
And at times, pastors have had to invoke their constitutional rights to continue preaching this message. Like the Apostle Paul, they have seen fit to use their earthly citizenship as a means to continue promoting heavenly citizenship.
Perhaps my favorite of these stories is that of Alliance Defending Freedom client, Pastor Arthur Scott.
In April, Pastor Scott preached to attendees of Temple Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, through the use of a low-power FM radio transmitter. Attendees drove to the church parking lot, kept their windows rolled up, and listened to the Good News preached over their car radios.
But as the attendees listened, police officers showed up to punish them. For listening to the service in their cars, attendees were ticketed $500.
Thankfully, Pastor Scott and numerous other pastors have seen victory when they’ve challenged unconstitutional government overreach. And praise God, the gospel continues to go out from these churches, even if that message is being shared in a different way than they had planned on January 1.
Standing with and helping pastors during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an honor. These challenging times have only emphasized how important it is for us here at ADF to continue pursuing our mission: keeping the legal doors open for the gospel.
There is no time like the present to thank a pastor who has remained firm in preaching the Word, and ministering to God’s people, through one of the most difficult seasons of our lifetimes. Will you join us in praising God for His goodness shown through these faithful servants?
John Harding serves as a communications specialist at Alliance Defending Freedom.