The pandemic is tiring! With another year of mask-wearing, home-schooling, ever-changing restrictions, passionate vaccination debates, growing case numbers, back-to-back Zoom meetings and ongoing lockdowns, it only makes sense that the height of Covid in 2021 caused depletion in people. Stephen Cole has noticed this. Stephen is one of BYM’s Regional Network volunteers. After checking in with 12 of our youth pastors mid-Covid, he started to note that a lot of them were feeling very tired. “As I was talking with Steve Dixon, I said: to me, honestly, a lot of it feels like a spiritual lethargy – not just that of the body,” Stephen says. Ways to combat this were discussed, and the Bible was read. It became obvious that it was time to go back to basics: “There’s strength in God,” Stephen explains, “And we call on his strength through prayer.”

So, a time of prayer was established for youth pastors across NSW/ACT. It runs each Friday on Zoom for about half an hour, starting by praying through a Psalm and ending with any petitionary or needs-based prayers. “It’s been nice to watch connections form and share the load with one another,” Stephen says. “Wisdom prevails in everyone…and that has resulted in a strengthening of people as they try to navigate Covid in their ministry.” And for Stephen personally, hearing other people pray has been a real highlight: “It’s their reflection of their circumstances to God, and allows me to see how they see things and how their faith understands the Lord – which is really beautiful. Hope inspires others to hope and it just spurs me on, and has been a major blessing out of the group.”

Carolyn Altman, our Prayer Coordinator, was encouraged to hear about Stephen’s prayer initiative. “When we’re going through challenging times it’s so important to talk to our Father God about it, who is just longing to hear from us, wanting to be our strength, to carry us through to the other side,” she says. “Something special happens when we pray together in God’s presence – even over Zoom! I love that Stephen realised the importance of going back to the basics of prayer and Bible reading – so simple, but as it’s been shown throughout the centuries – it works!”

Steve Dixon, Team Leader of our Youth and Young Adult Ministry, has also been encouraged. “I love this picture of pastors working together and being aware of what’s happening in different places in our Association,” he says. “For me, this is an expression of our Core 5 Values and is a critical part of how we support one another – particularly during such a tough time.”


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