Religious leaders finding it increasingly difficult to lead during the pandemic

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Due to personal beliefs surrounding the pandemic, some religious leaders are struggling to find the correct way to lead the community.

“When you go to school to be a preacher, they don’t train you about handling issues related to a global pandemic,” Pastor Dave Miller said. “That was not one of the courses that I had.”

According to Lifeway Research, roughly 60% of pastors say they are considering leaving ministry due to the stress of the pandemic.

“I sort of feel like I had some idea what I was doing, I sort of had a handle on the job you know. All of a sudden now, we’re dealing with political issues. You know, the church, not just this church, but all churches have become very political.”

Dave Miller has been a pastor for 40 years. He said he’s never seen such a divide within congregations, and it’s been especially hard having people turn to him for advice with mask usage or whether or not to take the vaccine.

“I refuse to tell people, yes, do it or no, don’t. You can’t please everybody and figuring out what’s right is almost impossible. There’s not a verse in the bible about whether to wear a mask or not. “

Father Peter Cox is a priest at St. Thomas Orthodox Church. Recently he’s seen what he refers to as ‘church shopping’ where parishioners decide on whose service to attend based on what CDC guidelines they choose to enforce.

“Whereas, if you get into you know, those who don’t have such a hierarchical structure, and they make decisions at the congregational level, then that’s going to be a different story, and that would be far more stressful to me,” Father Peter Cox said. “If I had to sit here every day and wonder, should I loosen the policy? should I tighten it up?”

Pastor Miller says although the bible may not have all the answers, you can still find guidance.

“There are some things about it that do apply. One of them would be love your neighbor, rather than seeking what’s best for me what I want to do, defending my rights, we look for what’s best for you.”

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