I commend you on coming through your first Sunday disruption regarding the coronavirus. Thank you for finding new and different ways to communicate and to connect with your congregation.
As you know, this disruption is not over. In fact, we are entering a new normal. For how long? Who knows. But when was the last time you and your spouse were working from home, while the kids were home from school? When was the last time you did not have extra-curricular activities, one, two, or three nights a week? The normal rhythms of life are being disrupted.
COVID-19 is a serious global pandemic. All necessary precautions should be taken. Thank you for stepping up to do your part in addressing this crisis. But just as you had to find new and different ways to communicate, you will now have to find new and different ways to lead your congregation and community.
What we Know
Here is what we know:
- Although COVID-19 is a new virus, we, as a human community, have successfully faced and overcome similar crises in the past.
- For example, the plague in London, the flu epidemic in 1917, the Poliovirus in the 1950’s, and HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. We have survived the atomic bomb, two world wars, a Cold War, wars in Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, global terrorism, 9/11, not to mention the assignation of a president, a civil rights leader and presidential candidate, natural disaster, cancer, STD’s, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, the list goes on.
We will face and overcome this serious virus as well. But you will need to step up and lead the people around you through the anxiety and confusion.
- Because COVID-19 is a new virus, it is frightening. We can’t control it. Precisely because it is new and we don’t know how to control it, we are being asked to take precautions, that for some seems drastic and unnecessary. Regardless of what you think or how you might feel about the situation and circumstances, we are in a time of great anxiety and stress.
It is in the midst of this anxiety and stress that you are needed to step up and to be a calming voice and presence.
Sara Thomas is trained to coach people during times like this. Reach out if you need someone to be in conversation with about your own anxiety, leadership, and navigating this disruption. Coaches don’t have an agenda, they hold space for you to discern what is needed. We’re here to help.
Things to Consider
Here are some things to consider:
Be the leader that you need and want.
- Model sensible human behavior. Sara Thomas in her blog, “If You Think It and You Feel It, Act on It” gives helpful direction for modeling positive and sensible actions in the midst of crisis and confusion.
Communicate with the people in your congregation.
- Since information sharing and communication on Sunday mornings is out for a few weeks, identify the ways you will connect with people in your congregation? Email, text, phone, Zoom? You have an opportunity to develop some new patterns of communication and new habits for connecting.
Lead by example
- You have the opportunity to use technology to pray, teach/preach, lead meetings, etc. It is only inconvenient because it is not your normal pattern. Make it your normal pattern so that you can continue to be the leader you need and want.
Live your life as a follower of Jesus
- There are people around you who are afraid. They need to know they are not alone and that someone cares for them. This crisis provides you the opportunity to point people to God’s love in Jesus. Be the presence of Jesus in every situation and circumstance. Watch for an email about a daily devotional that we’d love for you to contribute to and share with your congregation.
As a follower of Jesus…
- You already know that whatever happens, you will be okay because “nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus…” Offer such assurance and hope to the people God has entrusted to your care.
Again, thank you for your leadership. God is not done with you yet. In the midst of the crisis, you are being shaped as the person and the leader needed for these days. Step up and become who God is creating you to be.