By the Rev. Dr. Rick Vance
As many areas of the world are planning a restart after the Covid-19 social (physical) isolation, the church and its ministry is faced with a reality of changing how we have done ministry in the past. As we face this new reality, I challenge you to ask yourself: Am I acting out of an abundance of caution or fear?
Caution, (a careful attention of probable effects of an act) frees a person or ministry to act in an unfamiliar environment, where fear, (a strong, unpleasant emotion caused by actual or perceived danger tends to stop, cage, inhibit or paralyze a person or ministry.
As we have faced the potentially harmful environment, in which we now do ministry, I have seen people ministering both with caution and with fear. The difference in the ministry’s results seem to be the based on how they faced the challenges.
Rather than allow the current uncertainty to be a problem, we must respond to uncertainty with assurance that God is and has been in our midst.
Being fearless does not equate to a lack of caution. In a recent article, Seth J. Gillihan suggests that “fearlessness is perfectly compatible with caution. When we begin to release our fears and remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” (2 Tim. 1:7) we are freed to live in the vision of allowing ourselves and others to thrive through Christ.
In other words, using caution will free us to look for new ways to reach out and disciple others.
As we continue this journey, I will leave you with three statements Gillihan included in his article.
1. You don’t have ultimate control over what happens.
2. Caution doesn’t mean nonstop vigilance.
3. Life is about facing problems.
Thank you for all the great ministry that I have heard is happening in your annual conferences and local churches. We are here to be a resource during these amazing days of ministry.
The Rev. Dr. Rick Vance, director of the Center for Men’s Ministries
General Commission on UM Men