Message from Daniel R Jackson 

Columbia, Maryland … Pastors, I want to express appreciation to each of you for what you are doing to support people in your communities through this stressful unprecedented pandemic.

COVID-19 has impacted every church in the North American Division including yours. The North American Division and the General Conference are abiding by the directions of governments to protect the health and safety of citizens. We have gone virtual and we ask you to do the same.

This is a moral and ethical issue.  Social distancing, shelter in place, and bans on public gatherings are not religious freedom issues, rather they are public health issues.  It doesn’t exercise common sense when some churches put people’s health and life at risk by continuing to violate government health orders. We need to do all we can to participate in the protection of the health and safety of those around us including ourselves.

Yet in the fog of this crisis loom great ministry opportunities. I am simply thrilled at the creativity and agility of our pastors as you and your congregations are discovering how to meet the needs of your community.  You are leaving notes on the doors of your neighbors asking if they need help. You have opened up food distribution centers. I believe in future days your congregations will find even more safe, innovative, and compassionate ways to be the virtual hands and feet of Jesus.

Please know that I am praying that God will bless you. These are difficult times and you know the saying ‘that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.’ And God will bless your leadership as you place your hand in His and continue to innovate for the cause.

Daniel L. Jackson is President of the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt from a live presentation that Dan Jackson gave to pastors during the March 27 ‘Ministry in a Pandemic’ virtual conference. It was first published in Best Practices in Adventist Ministry. You can view the entire presentation here.