Pastor Letter: June 10, 2020
Dear Buck Run Family:
In sixteen years of being your pastor, I thought I knew you. I thought I had seen every wonderful thing about you, and you had no more layers of greatness yet undiscovered. I thought I had peeled all the layers of the onion. Then the global pandemic we know as Covid-19 hit, and I realized that there were a lot of things I did not know. Though most of the things that I did not know were bad (things like how to conduct a funeral when I cannot embrace a grieving friend, how to preach to an empty sanctuary, how to add a staff member that no one gets to greet or welcome), what I learned about you, my precious church, was stunningly beautiful. I had no idea that even when we could not meet for months, you would stay so engaged and connected to one another. I did not know that, even when we could not pass an offering plate, you would be as faithful and committed to give as ever, overcoming any pandemic obstacle to bring your offering to the Lord.
I can’t thank you enough for your commitment. The night I posted the video saying our services were moving online, I told Scott Riessen to slash our budget. I did not know how badly this might affect our folks and their giving. I did not know how many would lose jobs or income, and so we immediately trimmed everything we could and decided to spend only for absolute necessities. Many of our staff sacrificed ministry dollars and even personal benefits to ensure that our missions support can be counted on by our missionaries.
We are not out of the woods yet. We do not know how deeply this will hit our church members’ primary employer, state government. We are going to continue a very conservative management strategy moving forward, but in the meantime, I must thank you for the way that you have trusted the Lord and given faithfully during this difficult time. In fact, this pastor of little faith did not foresee one amazing statistic: our giving right now is ahead of last year at this same point. I am simply stunned by God’s faithfulness through you. I want you to hear my thanks from the deepest part of my grateful heart that I can express. Thank you, precious church, for showing me that you really are like the Macedonians who “first gave themselves” and like the widow whose giving we heard about last Sunday.
I knew I had the greatest staff to work with, but I did not know they would be this good! They found creative, energetic, joyful ways to keep us serving the Lord, studying the Word, and living in community, even in our respective isolation. They have worked hard to follow government guidelines in order to bring us back safely and joyfully. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. In a couple of weeks, we will begin to phase child care and instruction back into our Sunday mornings, and that will require more cleaning and more intentional safeguards. I know I can count on you to do everything necessary to help us.
I look forward to the day when we don’t have to worry about masks and social distancing, but until then, I am just thankful we still have ways to stay in touch and to worship together. May Christ be glorified in all we do.
I’ll see you on the Lord’s Day!
Your grateful pastor,