Leading in a Pandemic
We are about to begin the Advent Season. This is one of the best times of the church year.
Our leadership retreat with Susan Beaumont was excellent. She spent time with the Board, Elders, Deacons, and Staff. She is encouraging our church to “lean in” to this time and “reinvent” how we do church. We must keep moving forward responsibly, and let people choose what they are comfortable doing.
Beaumont was very clear that this pandemic will last for a while (well into 2021) and things will look different on the other side. Digital church is not going anywhere so we should probably invest more resources into that. We have many opportunities for small groups and connection. The pandemic has greatly altered church as we have known it but it gives us a chance to reach even more people with our message.
Beaumont encouraged us to “live in the tension” because that is healthy. She also encourages us as leaders to “manage polarities.” We must be somewhere between shutting down and opening everything up. A safe middle ground exists. This is also a time for the church to try new things and let go of things that have not worked well in the past.
Tony Jarvis, former headmaster of the Roxbury Latin School once said, “Whatever power a leader has is overshadowed by the second-guessing and criticism he or she receives for the decisions he makes. Leadership does not confer happiness.” He goes on to say, “At the heart of all leadership, at any age, is character; the courage to cling tenaciously to a vision, the grit to exhaust yourself in helping others share that vision, and the toughness to endure the blame for every difficulty along the way.” And in my own life, in ministry, in teaching, I have found this to be profoundly true.
Leadership has not been easy this year. Any decision you make in terms of what to do or not to do will be criticized. However, true leaders bring calm during difficult periods and not more chaos. There is something to be said about being cool, calm, and collected. Stress is real. People are on edge. Leadership matters.
Oswald Chambers wrote a classic book called SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP. In it, he asks a series of questions that we should wrestle with if we want to lead:
- How well do you maintain self-control when things go wrong?
- Do you think independently?
- How well do you handle criticism?
- Can you turn disappointment into creative new opportunities?
- Do you collaborate and work well with others?
- Are you a peacemaker?
- Do people trust you with difficult matters?
- Can you accept opposition to your viewpoint or decision without taking
- Are you tactful?
- Can you forgive?
- Are you optimistic?
- Do you have passion?
Here’s to bold and responsible leadership as we approach the Christmas season!
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