Back in January, a few months before COVID hit, our church invested a fair amount of time and energy (and finances) into an online spiritual assessment, designed to help our people take ownership of their Life with Jesus. It was a great experience across our church family, and led to people having a conversation with Jesus about how they were doing, and then a conversation with a trusted friend for support and encouragement to grow.
As an added bonus from the assessment, we were able to aggregate the data and get a real-time, accurate snapshot of the health of our congregation. Invaluable information as we were heading into ministry planning. We had some opportunities to grow, as individuals and as a church family.
And then in March, COVID hit. We were tempted to ignore what we had just learned about the health of our congregation, because of the effects of the lockdown. Our context had changed. We were heading toward a new normal.
But the things that were true about our church pre-COVID, the strengths and the blind spots, are still true now, in our new normal. And I suspect they may have just been exaggerated. Sure, I have had my share of conversations with folks in our church family who have said the lockdown drew them closer, made their marriage or family stronger. Those people were probably headed toward health anyways. I have had far more conversations with folks whose stories illustrate that the chaos of the lockdown has brought out into the open issues that were already present.
That’s not a bad thing. It can actually be a good thing, if we lean in and grow.
Lead Through the Lockdown
The 2nd law of thermodynamics basically states that systems tend to migrate toward increased entropy (chaos), unless we act on the system with an outside force. There is an equivalent leadership principle at work as we lead our churches post-COVID (especially for those of us who are going straight into ministry planning as the lockdown begins to lift in our region). Effective leadership means leading with clarity and conviction, especially as we come out of the lockdown.
Not an Excuse
Don’t let COVID be your excuse to not lead. Think about the initiatives you had set in motion in your church before the lockdown came. Do they need to shift? Maybe. Probably. The lockdown may have made the path harder. But don’t just forget the vision or ignore where you were heading. Use your leadership in this post-COVID season to influence your church toward a form of “positive entropy.” Bring clarity. Learn from the lockdown. And lead toward your long-term future.