By Kathy McBroom
This year is a not a year we will soon forget. Speaking for educators, our lives have changed drastically. Those close relationships that we built with kids are now so different.
We’ve gone from watching students learn our educational concepts while being in a classroom with a teacher each day to struggling with the inconsistency of being in class, or at home and online or a combination of both with limited support. The consistency of having students every day close by is gone, and a lot is lost in that.
My husband, a pastor, has also struggled. He became pastor at Point Pleasant Baptist church in Springville in January. Just as we were starting to build relationships with our new church family, everything had to shut down. Now, we still are living church life differently, trying to stay connected and discover new ways to minister.
Many of us have lost loved ones because of or related in some way to COVID. I hate this new way of doing things. At my school I wear a mask all day. I know many others are required to do the same, and many like me struggle with headaches and nasal issues due to the constant wearing of a mask.
I will wear a mask because of our county’s mandate to do so and follow all the guidelines of safe distancing, but who would have ever thought that going to Walmart and seeing people unmasked would cause frustration to rise within me?
So, goodbye 2020. Hello 2021. Let’s commit to whatever it takes to love on people regardless of what comes. Let me brainstorm here for some ways that we can attempt ministry while social distancing and remaining safe.
(1) Conduct an online Bible study. Form a group, use a book and set your time to be online together.
(2) Let’s say that you are not tech savvy and care nothing about going online. How else can you stay connected? My church friends and I have an ongoing text chat, just checking in on each other and being sure that we are praying.
(3) Postage has gotten expensive, but cards and letters are always a great way to stay connected. Touch base with our most at risk friends and loved ones, sending your phone number, offering to help during these crazy times.
(4) Walk around your neighborhood and pray for your neighbors. No rules against being outside, and prayerwalking is a great way to claim your community for Christ.
(5) A friend had an awesome idea: write each church family’s name on a popsicle stick, place it in a basket or a jar, and take one out each day. Pray for that family. Focus on how you could minister to them.
(6) In all of these ways to connect with people, offer to run errands for our most vulnerable. When you’ve been called into quarantine or recovering from this virus, food and supplies can be difficult to obtain. Sometimes friends will be reluctant to accept help, so drop some things off on a doorstep anyway.
Focus on the positives from 2020 as we navigate 2021. Don’t let the enemy convince you that huge miracles and blessings are not still happening all around us. For us, we have had one marriage, moved, bought a house, became part of a fabulous church and had our first grandbaby.
Our joy has never been in anything other than Jesus. Many are more aware of the value of life and health, and how our days are truly numbered. But for us believers, may I ask, is this new? It shouldn’t be. We should have always had in mind these huge blessings.
Let us live sharing the peace of Jesus as much as we can.
— McBroom, a teacher, lives in Springville where her husband, Robert, serves as pastor of Point Pleasant Baptist Church.