By Ben Pfahlert
“There’s a really big temptation at the moment for trainers to zero in on their own work and let the trainee slide down the list of priorities. There’s a lot that we can do as trainers to thrive personally and to keep looking after our trainees. In fact, COVID gives us an opportunity to think into what the training relationship looks like: it’s not just doing jobs but walking with Christ together.” Greg Lee (Senior Pastor, Hunter Bible Church, Newcastle)
Greg is spot on.
How can we make the most of the training opportunity that COVID 19 provides?
After all, we believe that James was telling the truth in James 1:2-4, when he said that trials produce maturity.
There are three simple things you can do during COVID 19 to enhance your apprentice’s training experience:
- Continue to meet at the same regularity as prior to COVID 19 – you as a Pastor may be under a huge amount of pressure. You may be tempted to ditch the one to one sessions with your apprentice. Instead of doing that, why don’t you keep the meetings going (online if necessary) and set the agenda a little differently. Perhaps share with the apprentice a list of all the things you feel pressured by as a Pastor in this crisis. Let the apprentice in on what it is like to lead under strain. Let the apprentice know the plethora of demands on your time (e.g. the need to solve the church online tech problems, counselling the angry parents complaining about the fact that kids church wasn’t shut down 2 weeks ago, the communication required to work out whether to cancel the Church camp in 3 months’ time and the $3,500 penalty from the conference centre etc.) Let the apprentice inside your head. That is worth gold. They will have a better idea of what they’ll need to cope with when they are in charge, in a crisis, in the future. Let them pray for you! Enjoy the fact that a problem shared is a problem halved.
- Let them go places with you ‘online’ – allow them to join in the plethora of emergency meetings you are attending in cyber space. You may be attending numerous hastily organised Session / Parish Council / Council meetings. Ask those groups of people if your apprentice can attend the meeting as well as an “observer”. Let them backstage. Let them see for themselves that everyone is flying blind … everyone is confused.
- Ask 40,000 feet questions at the end of each month – glean the apprentice’s wisdom. Ask them what they’re noticing in the whole disaster. Ask questions like:
- “Which demographic of the church do you think is coping best with the crisis? Why?”
- “Which demographic is finding this crisis the hardest? Why?”
- “Do you think we read the scriptures more now than we did before the crisis? Why has that changed?
- “What acceptable sins have you noticed over the past weeks?”
(People may think the 4 square metre rule is silly and they blatantly disobey it).
- “Is our Christian Community more, or less outreach focused as a result of COVID 19?
Why do you think that is the case?”
Any crisis is a great training ground.
Make the most of it.