The first weekend I was in college, I went cruising with some other Freshman down the main street of Joplin with hundreds of other students. There were four of us in the car, and we saw some good-looking girls and decided to pull into a parking lot to talk to them. We were there for a couple of minutes, and a policeman pulled up and wrote us all tickets for loitering. He told us that they had been putting articles in the local paper all week, warning people of the coming crackdown. I did not know of many students who read the paper, and most of us had only been in town for a couple of days. The policeman’s response was, “Ignorance is no excuse.” I have never forgotten his words, and it only cost me $87 to learn them.
Throughout this pandemic, I have felt that line echoing in the back of my head. Every day I am faced with a new set of problems, and I want to move forward, but I simply do not know what to do. Then the voice says, “Ignorance is no excuse.” The words push me to keep reading, working, and trying to find solutions for the Church in this trying time. I must pause for a few minutes today and shout, “I do not have it figured out. I have no clear idea of what to do next. I am totally ignorant in this situation.”
Being a Church leader for so many years has given my insight into several things. I think I can help marriages, parents, people who want to grow in the faith, and those who want to overcome their past. Nothing, I mean nothing, has prepared me for this.
As I read through my social media groups, I am also convinced that no pastor, preacher, or Church leader knows what to do in the immediate future. Several parachurch leaders keep offering advice and making bold predictions, but they are guessing. No one knows what the future looks like for our Church, community, or world. This is true for me as a pastor and also for school and community leaders.
Why do I tell you all this? For two reasons that I hope you will consider. First, you are going to need to be extremely patient with your leaders over the coming months. We are trusting God and doing our best. Two, please pray for Christian leaders into the future. May God guide us with knowledge and wisdom as we move through uncharted waters. I know that ignorance is not an excuse, and I am not trying to make excuses, but we need God’s guiding hand and your grace as we move forward together.