As we navigate through these COVID days, we’re inundated with facts, figures, and data points. Much of it interesting, if it weren’t so disruptive and disconcerting. One of the things we learn is that data can be incomplete—and in its incomplete-ness, can be misleading.
Here is an example. Our staff has been touching base with everyone in the congregation. And, by the way, what a blessing that has been for the staff! In our calls, we are trying to discover the needs of our congregation; ways we as a church can come alongside. Here is what we have found. Our congregation feels blessed, and in many ways have indeed been blessed. And based on the size of our congregation, we have uncovered very few acute needs. Amen!
Those calls are an important data point,…but just one data point, which likely paints a distorted picture.
This past week 283 live-streamed our service. One hundred and eighty individuals then participated in our online survey. Though perhaps not as reliable as Facebook facts ;-), there is something we can glean from Sunday’s survey. Specifically, when asked if people find themselves—during the COVID time—gainfully employed, 28% answered that they were underemployed or unemployed during these times.
People don’t necessarily wear their hearts on their sleeves, and even when casually asked they may not ask for prayer or share their needs or hardships. Comparatively, we are all better off than some others we may know. Yet needs and hurts still exist. This is a greater reality now than just a couple of months ago.
So here is the point: the staff of the church doesn’t and won’t ever know all the needs of a congregation this large. The church is you… and it’s me. We are called to live in community. Needs are always best met at their most local and personal level—that is yet another justification for our mission statement. Authentic relationships, functioning in genuine communities, allowing us—as the body of Christ—to reflect Christ more vividly and effectively in moments of need and hardship.
Here is the encouragement. Keep reaching out. Engage others. Ask questions. Listen well. Keep investing in the lives of others. And be a blessing to those God has placed in your path. Many need encouragement during this time and it is a great joy seeing our congregation rallying around each other and those in their spheres of influence.