A new poll was released by Gallup showing that Americans who were just beginning to feel optimistic that we were coming out of the pandemic, are now feeling the situation is worseninghttps://news.gallup.com/poll/353003/americans-optimism-covid-dashed-cases-surge.aspx.
As many church leaders were making plans for the fall, they are now feeling that dark cloud settling back over the horizon.
Memes are beginning to flood social media:
Emotions begin to tailspin and confusion begins to set in.
What do we do?
How do we lead in the midst of turbulence?
I believe there are three realities we need to focus on in times of turbulence:
1. Clarity of purpose.
We need to focus more on our purpose than our problems.
Our job is NOT to fix the government, enlighten the ignorant, or appease the belligerent.
Our job is to bring hope and healing to hearts and homes.
The church is called to:
- Gather in community
- Grow in maturity
- Give with generosity
- Go with intentionality
- All to the glory of God.
That mission hasn’t changed in 2,000 years in spite of plagues, persecution, or presiding authorities.
Our mission isn’t contingent upon buildings, benevolent governments, or ideal conditions.
In fact, the darker the night the more necessary the light.
2. Comfort with dissension.
Leading during COVID-19 is very similar to leading in Exodus.
Leaders always listen to their people, but they never lead according to popularity.
Often the popular opinion is exactly why courageous leadership is necessary.
Church leaders must be more influenced by the Bible than the news.
Church leaders lead by timeless truths more than temporary trends.
Church leaders make decisions by asking, “What would God think?” not, “What will people think?”
Tough decisions born out of deeply forged convictions will always produce fallout.
Church leaders will need to learn to be comfortable with controversy.
Every difficult decision will create some dissension.
People will question your motives, disagree with your methods, and even walk away from your ministry.
Remember, Jesus lost the crowds but won the world. Be like Jesus.
3. Controlling only what’s controllable.
Every day we are bombarded with information that leads to aggravation, frustration, and even desperation.
With each new development, church leaders need to take a step back and ask, “Is this something I can control or change?” Honestly, control is an illusion.
Don’t allow something you can’t control to control you.
Don’t allow uncontrollables to take control of your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes.
What I can’t control:
- The news media.
- Social media.
- Governmental decisions.
- What people think, feel, or say of me.
STOP trying to be a virologist, politician, physician, epidemiologist, health and safety expert, public relations officer, media influencer, scientist, statistician, people pleaser, prognosticator, and polymath (look it up).
TURN OFF THE MEDIA.
TURN UP THE TRUTH.
When uncontrollables begin to trigger you, instead let them remind you to let go and let God.
When the feelings of frustration flood over you, stop, take a breath, and say the Serenity prayer:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Now, more than ever, people need stability and strength, calm and consistency, loving and listening.
They need a pastor.
They need a shepherd.
They need you.