For Such A Time As This
You have everything you need to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Your relationships, experiences, and education, both formal and informal, are coming together to equip you for such a time as this. Although you might feel ill-equipped, it is your time to step up and out in leading people through this, never-before crisis the world is facing.
Truthfully, that’s the problem.
You have never faced anything like this before. Your normal routines, how you approach your family, your work, your church, and your community have changed drastically.
Everything Changed, Instantly
If you still have employment, you are working from home. The schools are closed, the children are home, and you don’t know whether to even let them go outside for fresh air. The church as suspended services. The only contact you have with others is at the grocery store, where you can’t find what you need. The situation is so surreal. You can’t help but asking, “Is this really happening?” Yet, there is another part of you that feels you must protect yourself and your family.
When you listen to the press conferences and updates, you are glad there are people making decisions. You just wish it were different decisions being made. In your quiet moments, you are asking yourself, “How long will this continue?” Or, “I wonder if we will go back to life as we knew it before the virus?”
Draw on the Resources You Have
Although I have never faced this kind of crisis, I know the feeling of not knowing exactly what to do. On the morning of September 11, 2001, I had to mobilize staff to lead a congregation and, ultimately, a community in making sense of terrorist attacks. As I was trying to make sense of the tragedy, I had to help people grieve, address rising anxiety, and interpret reality in the swirl of misinformation and fear.
I responded the only way I knew how. I had to draw upon the resources I had to address the moment. Because of 9/11, I found that I had more strength and resources than I had been using. I discovered I was equipped to lead through the anxiety and uncertainty because of the relationships, experiences, and education that had shaped my life up to that point.
I am sure you have been equipped to lead for such a time as this. You are living in a new normal. How will step into and lead amid this time of anxiety and uncertainty?
Take One Step
Over the next few days, make one of the following opportunities a part of your work:
Reflect upon what makes you who you are.
- Who are the people who have impacted your life? What experiences and/or events have shaped your thinking, feeling, and living? What have you learned from relationships, experiences, and education that equips you for this moment?
Claim what you have to offer.
- In the midst of the limitations you are now facing (working at home, sheltering in place, suspended worship), what do you have to offer? This is your time to be creative. You have had ideas that you have wanted to implement but you haven’t for one reason or another. Is now the time to use those ideas to create something new?
What are your strengths?
- How do your strengths complement the strengths of family members? How do their strengths complement yours? Now, more than any other time, you can strengthen family relationships and offer the same to the people God has entrusted to you.
Learn to use technology and social media.
- It is strange that what connects us with people around the world has disconnected us from the people closest to us. Learn to use technology to reach out and make a connection with the people you lead and serve. If nothing more than a phone call, text, or email, you are staying connected. Take a risk and use Zoom or Skype to connect with people you are accustomed to seeing on a regular basis. Record or live stream worship or bible study. Maybe you can experiment with one or two forms of technology or social media and discuss these questions/opportunities.
Stay present in the moment.
- You are your best when you are present. If you spend too much time in the past upon what you have lost or what you should have done, you lose yourself in regret. If you spend too much time longing for the future, wishing for something different, you lose yourself in worry. Stay in the moment and take one step at a time. Offer to walk with others who are lost in regret and worry. Assist them in staying in the moment and stepping into a new day with hope and courage.
You Have Everything You Need
Now, decide which one of these opportunities you will address first. Be intentional. Invite someone, either a member of the family or a colleague, to journey with you. Make the time to master that one before moving to another.
By the time you have completed the list, you will discover the strengths and resources that you didn’t know you had. Those strengths and resources are exactly what is needed to navigate the anxiety and uncertainly of these days.
You have everything you need to lead for such a time as this.
Know that you can reach out to Sara Thomas or to me (Tim Bias) for assistance or direction. Here are a few things that you might find helpful. Again, expect to hear from us regularly as we navigate this season on ministry.
Sign Up for the Daily Devotional, “God is With Us”