Pastor’s Corner (6/24/2021)
In his book Attitude 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know, John Maxwell talks about the importance of dealing with adversity. He described several key reasons to embrace adversity.
- Adversity creates resilience.
- Adversity develops maturity.
- Adversity pushes the envelope of accepted performance.
- Adversity provides greater opportunities.
- Adversity prompts innovation.
- Adversity brings unexpected benefits.
- Adversity motivates.
Although Maxwell was writing to encourage individuals as they develop as leaders, I was really struck by his discussion about adversity as we move away from the grip of COVID-19. While his words were addressed to the individual, I think there is an application for us as a community as well. We have made it through one of the most challenging times in human history. We have undoubtedly lost a lot individually and as a community. Over 600,000 people have now died from COVID in our nation alone. Many still struggle with adverse effects from the virus. We have lost valuable time with loved ones. The list goes on and on. As we move into the future, Maxwell’s words invite us to ponder how the adversity of this experience can make us stronger and more resilient. I invite you to join me during the next couple of months as we consider how adversity impacts us as individuals and as a community.
Maxwell’s reasons to embrace adversity struck me personally and as your pastor here at FCC. In a lot of recent literature there has been a great deal of discussion about the quality of “resilience.” The noun resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness, and the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape, or elasticity. All of us have been stretched and challenged over these past few months. As your pastor, I have been challenged in every aspect of my ministry. Sermon preparation has totally changed as I have adapted to presenting my sermons in written and oral formats. Adapting to video and live-streaming were not skills taught during my seminary training. Pastoral care had to shift from in-person visits to homes and hospitals to Zoom, phone calls, and notes only. Administration and congregational gatherings had to be done via Zoom. All the staff here at the church had to make adjustments and adapt during a rapidly changing time. All of us have had to adapt and change and we have been able to do so.
As a congregation we have demonstrated ample resilience. We were one of the first mainline Protestant congregations to resume in person worship last June. We pushed our way through Zoom meetings and hybrid gatherings. The Elders helped with pastoral care. People pitched in to see that things were done. We have a great deal to celebrate as we move forward. In addition to demonstrating resilience, we have also grown and stretch ourselves. We have all matured physically, mentally, and spiritually. Adversity need not bring us down, it can and has led us to a resilience and maturity we did not suspect we had.
I hope you will join me in celebrating the ways in which adversity has enabled us to be resilient and more mature. Guided by God we can move into the future confident that adversity can make us better and stronger.
In peace and love,