We are on the downhill side of the pandemic. Several of the mandates, like wearing masks outside and the number of people gathering in public places, are being relaxed. Much of what we could not do over the past year is coming back. With that in mind, how are you leading or preparing to lead into this “new normal”?
Are you expecting things to go back to the way they were? Are you building upon some of the things you learned? Do you have a plan for bringing people back together into community? Things have changed. How are you leading your community out of the pandemic and into a new reality?
The Moment Things Changed
As you reflect upon these questions, let’s look at a moment in time when things changed and a new way of leading emerged. The moment of change is recorded in the bible as The Day of Pentecost found in the second chapter of The Acts of the Apostles.
On the Day of Pentecost, one hundred and twenty discouraged, self-absorbed, willful, frightened, powerless men and women were transformed into new people. They lived through an experience that brought about a new intellectual and emotional reality.
Through their experience, they began to communicate in ways that connected with people. In that connection, the people who were curious asked, “What does this mean?” As in all new experiences, the people who were cynical viewed the experience as nonsense.
An Opportunity to Lead
Both the curious questions and the cynical comments were received as an opportunity to lead people into a new reality. Simon Peter, taking advantage of the moment, began to give his account of what had happened, beginning with his experience of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and continuing through the presence of Jesus on that very day. He explained God’s offer of love (agape) and relationship (community) in Jesus. He clearly named current reality when he told them about people who had refused God’s invitation. Then he offered hope when he explained what could happen to those who would receive the invitation.
Many of the curious, when they experienced the leadership of Simon Peter asked, “What shall we do?” He was ready with clear direction. “It is time to change the way we have been looking at things. A new normal is here. God’s love is greater than we have ever imagined.” Then he gave clear directions for living into the new normal.
A New Way of Leading
In the midst of the change, a new way of leading emerged. The people who followed, were received in a new normal of love and relationship, They devoted themselves to learning new ways to live together in koinonia (community).
If you are saying that there is a world of difference between a COVID pandemic and the Day of Pentecost, you are correct. But just as the Day of Pentecost was an opportunity to love and live differently, the COVID pandemic provides the same opportunity.
Do you have a plan for bringing people back together into community? Even though some things have changed, other things have not changed. As you are leading your community out of the pandemic and into a new reality, keep in mind the following:
1. You are part of a learning community
Be persisted in learning new ways for a new day. Learn from the people around you. Learn from authors and teachers. Learning is at the heart leading.
2. You are nurturing community
The word “koinonia” means having in common or in fellowship. At the heart of fellowship or relationship is the love of God (agape). We know that love in and through Jesus. Jesus is our common bond and it is greater than anything or anyone else. It is the love of God we have experienced in Jesus who draws us into community and who loves us in and through each other.
3. You are in a community of prayer
Community life is lived out as unselfish and non-manipulative concern and caring for one another. It takes time to be together to listen to each other, care, and be for each other. Prayer together becomes the time of communication with God, who replenishes us, so we are unselfish in care and concern.
4. You are a worshipping community
In worship, we express outwardly the presence of God’s love living within us, as we affirm our love for one another. People are attracted to the joy of the community. They want to be with loving people.
A New Way of Living
The reality is you are on the downhill side of the pandemic. You will either slide into the way things were before or you will lead into a new way of living and loving.
You have an opportunity to lead into a new day. This opportunity never presented itself before and will be present only for a short period of time. So, what one thing will you do to change and be the leader people need and want for this new day?
Remember, who you are is how you lead. So, keep your purpose in mind. Love the people around you. Communicate clearly and directly. And when the time is right, invite people to join you on this journey into a post-pandemic reality. We have been created for this moment in time.
When you need and want assistance, remember that Sara Thomas and I are with you in your leadership journey. When we can be of encouragement or help, contact us at email@example.com. We are ready to assist you with insights and resources in becoming a courageous leader.
Check out LeaderCast. On the podcast this week, Sara and I have a conversation with April Casperson, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the West Ohio Conference. April shares grace-filled wisdom about community, relationships, and diversity. Her role is to help people work better across differences.
If you want to build community, or deepen community connections, join us for Episode 178. If you have not been a regular LeaderCast listener, you will want to start with this episode. LeaderCast is one resource you will want to have as you navigate the leadership challenges of 2021.