Dear American Pastor, Leader, Influencer,
Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the United States, and Sunday is coming.
That’s right. Sunday is coming, and so too are the people. The divided people, the hurting people, the celebrating people, the confused people. The people are coming, and they are all asking,
So what do you do? How do you respond? What should you say?
I pray I might be of service to you.
As a fellow Pastor I am wrestling with the same questions you are, for this Sunday I too will preach in an American church.
But I have the privilege of being somewhat more objective than you… because I didn’t vote.
I couldn’t. I’m an Australian Citizen. A missionary to America.
And sometimes, an outsiders’ voice is appreciated at such a time as this. (At least it was last time I blogged on the American Church, racking up more than 25,000 views- HERE.)
Truth be told, I believe it’s needed at such a time as this.
So, here goes. Allow me to offer my perspective on how to approach this next weekend, and week, with your church.
This weekend, more than any other, listen. Listen to your staff, listen to your family, listen to social media, listen to your church. Don’t talk before you listen, and once you do talk, share that you have listened.
I’ve been doing a lot of listening these past few days and this is what I have heard.
– People are confused by the division they see in the country, in the church, in their own families, and many, within themselves.
– People are hurting. Both those that “won” and those that “lost”. Statistically America as a nation is divided. When you are a family, such as the church is, this hurts everyone, or at least it should. If we are the body of Christ, and we are divided, no one won this weekend. (But we can come out victorious through all of this.)
– People are fighting. Online, offline, people are fighting. Hurting people hurt people, and that is certainly happening right now.
So listen. Do not be deaf to the hurt in your congregation. Do not assume. Don’t assume you know who voted for who. Don’t assume you know who is hurting and who is ok. Listen.
This is not the weekend to be right. This is not the weekend to judge. This is not even the weekend to teach (although this is often our default). No, this is the weekend to love.
When reflecting on what he needed to hear this Sunday, a friend of mine, who is reeling over the results of the election, said “I don’t need a theological band-aid right now.” He’s right. This is not what our congregations need this Sunday. Don’t just say, “it’s ok, God is on the throne, now let’s move on.” I know that theologically that may be sound, but it will not help this weekend. Try that sentence with a mother who has just lost her child, and prepare for the stare or the fist to the face. You may not be able to understand it, but you need to know it. This election hurt for people. It hurt a lot. Do not minimize people’s pain this weekend. Love them in their pain.
Lead people back to Jesus and each other. Take note of President Obama’s and President-Elect Trump’s words this week, post election. They are fighting for unity and so should you. If you do not lead this weekend, in reconciliation, in forgiveness, in repentance, in solidarity, in service and in love, someone else will. That someone is the enemy, and that someone wants to tear your church apart.
Do not let him.
Point people to Jesus. Lead people to the ultimate leader and King, and fight for the heart of your church.
I pray this Sunday is a rich time of reflection and reconciliation for your church. I pray also that I was of some service to you and this country through this short note. I love this country and I know you do to. Let’s walk together with Christ this Sunday, to heal America’s broken heart,
PS: I know it’s Friday, and you may be set for Sunday, but some things are worth changing. Listen, Love, Lead.
About the author:
Andrew Scarborough is an internationally recognized speaker, author and Pastor, originally from Melbourne, Australia. Andrew recently received his MA in Global Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. regularly ministers across North America, Asia, and Australia. Andrew currently lives with his wife and children in Irvine, California. Andrew currently leads The Hub Movement, a new missional church planting movement. When he isn’t church planting, you can find him BBQing with his neighbors, dating his wife, playing with his kids, or hunting down the perfect wave.