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There are Three Sides to a Coin

Three Sides to a Coin

I had a conversation with two of my daughters in which we were discussing the sides of a coin.  In the discussion I mentioned I would choose the third side of the coin.  My daughters were puzzled and claimed there are only two sides to a coin.  I pointed out that the edge of the coin counts as a side too; we just dismiss it as an option. 

During the season of COVID I have struggled with the incredible polarization we have seen in both our culture at large and the church.  Both sides have been vocal and consumed much of my time early in COVID.  As I spent more and more time dealing with divergent responses to the pandemic, I almost believed there were just two sides to the issue.  However, at one point I realized that it was time for me to take stock and contact people who had not reached out to share their view.  At this point I realized that there is a much larger third group in our church – the third side to our proverbial coin.

By looking at COVID in the church as a two-sided issue, I had almost missed the much larger picture of what ministry in COVID meant.  When I invested in this ‘third side’ I began to discern my role as a pastor in a pandemic.  This is what I’ve been learning in this season: 


1)    People are questioning.

The breadth of information is overwhelming.  People see the extremes, hear the media, and encounter much information in conversations.  People are questioning whom to trust and where to turn for truth.  Social media has turned news into ‘snippets’ unable to communicate depth and nuance.  It is helpful for us to think about the words of Jesus found in scripture: “I am the way and the truth and the life”  (John 14:6).

As a pastor my job is to help point people to the Truth. 

 

2)    People are lonely.

People have realized they need community and want more than digital encounters. Some shirked rules to find community in person and others have waited patiently.  A concept almost everyone has in common is the recognition of how social we are and how much we value community.  

As a pastor my job is to help people recognize the family they have in the Body of Christ.

 

3)    People are grieving.

Much has been lost in COVID – hopes, dreams, experiences, and milestone events in our own lives and the lives of our families.  Many have seen their vocation and work transformed; others have experienced health issues or loss of loved ones.  There is much to grieve personally.  I’ve come to recognize how poorly we grieve as a culture.

As a pastor my job is to help people grieve well and turn to the comfort that is found in the Triune God.

 

So are there three sides to a coin?  Yes, I believe there are, and if we look and listen carefully, God will help us respond appropriately to all three sides.


Mike Engbers is the Lead Pastor at Parliament Community Church in Regina, SK.  He has valued the ministry opportunities COVID has brought and has valued seeing God at work in our world.  His hobbies include movie watching, reading books, and wood working.  

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