The Covid-19 Pandemic is both a national and international crisis. The health and economic impact is potentially unprecedented. Pastors are besieged with questions they themselves do not have answers for. What is a leader to do in times like these?
None of us have ever lived through an international shutdown of non-essential businesses before. We have never seen a time where schools, churches, and most everyday types of businesses were closed. We have never had social distancing rules for six feet of separation before. Many around us are out of work, out of money, and afraid. This is uncharted territory.
Pastors and leaders do not have all of the answers. Nobody does, but that is okay. The Covid-19 Pandemic is teaching us so much. What an opportunity to learn! Leaders must face this crisis as it unfolds just like everyone else. Pastors should use this as an unprecedented opportunity to get better at everything they do and learn from everything they experience.
Jesus Is Our Role Model
Never once in His lifetime on earth did He panic. He never became anxious over anything. He was focused on His mission of truth. Through prayer and submission to the Spirit He calmly maneuvered through every crisis. This must be the way that every leader today handles this crisis. We must face each circumstance calmly and with absolute spiritual resolve and confidence. We must not be soon shaken.
Consider the day that Jesus received word that his friend Lazarus was sick. Jesus simply did not panic, nor did he chunk aside what He was doing and rush to his friend’s sickbed. He loved Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary. The expected thing to do was for Him to rush to them immediately. Instead he tarried a few days. When He did arrive at Lazarus’ house, they told Him that his friend had already been dead for four days. Had Jesus arrived before Lazarus died, He would no doubt have healed him. Instead He did an even greater miracle by raising him from the dead after four days in the tomb.
If you stay calm and find your peace in the Holy Ghost, God will use you in a greater capacity if you do not panic in emotional distress like everyone around you might be doing. That is what leaders must do in a crisis.
Look For Things To Learn
The Covid-19 Crisis is unfolding in layers like an onion. Something new seems to be revealed every day. If a leader observes in prayerful silence, he has an opportunity to learn. A leader cannot afford to be caught up in the moment and react based on emotions. If he watches and listens more than he speaks he can be wiser when his opportunity to speak arises.
Much of what is heard and being written on social media forums is purely opinionated emotional reactions from people who are manifesting their cluelessness in writing. We must not be influenced or motivated by such. Those things can lead to anger, anxiety, contention, and all manner of ungodly feelings and attitudes. Do not allow yourself to go there as a leader.
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 that we should, “Study to be quiet, and do your own business.”
A lot can be learned by prayerful observation in these early stages of the pandemic. The following is a very short list as merely a sampling, and there is no particular order:
- The church is weaker than everyone thought. More people seem to have had relationships with their building, pastor, or church family than with their Holy Ghost experience.
- The model we have used to fund everything (offerings only) puts everything we do at risk. Many are feeling trapped as a result.
- The lack of a financial cushion coupled with high mortgages and such put many churches in immediate peril.
- Churches everywhere now know that we must use multiple avenues to reach our communities, and not just large corporate gatherings. In today’s world ANY model can fail us overnight. Even now, if the Internet was to shut down (and it could), our online ministries would end immediately.
- In other ways the Church is stronger and more resilient than many anticipated. It’s ability to respond by the leading of the Holy Spirit is astounding. The true Church will not be diminished by crisis but empowered.
I will stop the list right there, but I promise you I could list scores more lessons learned like 1-5 above, and each different than the other.
What is my point?
This is the Pathway to the Future
At perhaps its darkest moment, God opened a door to the future for Israel. To go there every one of them had to pass through the open waters of the Red Sea. Right now, every church is going through a similar passageway. If you know anything about God, you can easily see this crisis is the pathway to our future.
This is our ‘go forth from Jerusalem’ moment. This is an open door to our most fruitful hour in modern church history.
This is the stretch the envelope time where we develop as leaders and learn to use every talent and resource for the expansion of God’s Kingdom.
Many among us have become criers overnight. We should be not be so. We should be more visionary than ever.