Our team is committed to bringing you resources to help you be the best leader possible during this time of crisis. For the next few weeks, Sutton Turner, Vanderbloemen’s COO, and Pastor Dave Bruskas, Campus Pastor at The Village Church in Fort Worth, TX, will hold a short conversation to provide encouragement to pastors and church leaders. They will walk through how to apply the Bible to our current situation as we face the impacts of COVID-19.
During this global crisis, churches are decentralized and are faced with learning how to lead their teams and staff effectively virtually. Although churches have this new reality, it is still possible for the leaders of the church to help foster leadership growth and development. Today, Pastor Dave addresses the challenges that are presented in leading others after Easter while also sharing biblical principles on how to lead others well during COVID-19.
Common Stages of Emotions Leaders Experience After Easter
- Disappointment. The realization that the things planned didn’t go well or as you hoped can bring negative emotions. Pastors spend a lot of time planning for the flow and impact of Easter service, but if those plans aren’t executed as hoped, disappointment can begin to set in. Especially this year when we were unable to even meet for service or share this holiday with our congregation, it’s normal to feel deflated.
- Discontentment. Pastors can’t become introspective and try to relate their less-than-desirable outcome of a service to their calling from God. Discontentment can make you question your God-given calling about being in the right role at your church.
- Disillusionment. The overarching thought that the God we worship isn’t who He says He is can become overpowering after a letdown. Disillusionment is overwhelming and can be the catalyst to hasty decision-making, due to the outcome of Easter going as planned.
If you are finding yourself walking through any of these emotions or thoughts, know that it’s helpful to stop and take a moment to process. Be intentional about stopping at the place of disappointment and take some time to grieve, mourn, or express your thoughts. Even though things didn’t go the way you planned, it’s helpful to give it to the Lord, trust that he loves you and that he will meet you in that place of disappointment. In fact, understanding that God is in control of the entire world facing this virus, not just your Easter service, might help you gain some perspective.
Try and refrain from walking through the stages of discontentment and disillusionment too quickly. Allow yourself to spend time reflecting in each stage to determine where you’re finding your worth, and what idols might be taking God’s place of giving you security in life. If you’re considering a long-term decision, such as resigning, take time to truly consider that decision and wisely invite others into that conversation. It can be dangerous to make high-impact decisions during emotional time. Most importantly, be honest with the Lord about where you are and trust him in the midst of this challenging and uncertain time.
2 Opportunities Presented After Easter
- Assess broadly. You have the opportunity to asses the condition of your ministry. You can examine if people are growing and you can also notice if the fruit of your labor is beginning to take root. Try to figure out what’s working for your church and leadership, and where you might try. something new when services restart.
- Invest deeply into those you love and serve. Remember that we are still in the middle of a crisis and you are still surrounded by your church community, even though it’s virtually. Take time to invest in those relationships and be encouraged through them. Sometimes the best way to feel uplifted is by helping others. Think of one person you can serve each day, even if it’s just a phone call to check in.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 (ESV)
‘Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.’
This scripture reminds us as Christian leaders going through a crisis, your church is a family:
- People need to be encouraged and, at times, people need to be corrected.
- Even when going through conflict or disagreements, treat people with respect, love, and honor just like you would your own family members. This goes a long way especially during this global pandemic when those around you are possibly facing many different challenges.
Build culture through personal relationships.
- In COVID-19, be intentional in the relationships that God has provided for you. In turn, you get to set the narrative of love and genuine relationships within your community.
Dave mentions how the rhythm of life is disrupted for those within the church community and this is a prominent time for church leaders to prioritize their community, love them well, and deepen those relationships around you. Things leaders would typically have to invest their time in are different and now there’s more time to interact and engage with others.
3 Common Trends Churches are Facing During COVID-19
1. Conversations are actually becoming longer virtually.
2. Leaders are prioritizing people versus tasks.
3. Churches are seeing an increase in engagement with online church services.
Ways to Prepare Your Staff and Church for Those Seeking Community After COVID-19
- Prepare to gather again by loving those around you that are in your community.
- Make sure your staff is filled spiritually, mentally, and physically so they are energized and connected when we can gather again.
- Make sure you have a clear path for new members to join your community. Create pathways for them to join and fellowship with your church. Take this time to share videos of yourself and others online, so outsiders still feel like they can get to know you and your culture even now.
- Develop and encourage new leaders during this time.
As leaders, you may feel the pressure of needing to have it all figured out, and in turn, you may tend to sweep your emotions under the rug. However, be encouraged that it’s okay to stop and take a second to care for yourself. Know that you’re not alone, and trust in the redemptive work of the Lord in challenging times like these. One of the best ways to build trust is letting people see you vulnerable. While you might not open up to your whole congregation, find a few trusted leaders or friends with whom you. can share how your struggles. Your openness with them will encourage them to do the same with you, building stronger bonds. Be reminded that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords sees every good thing and the seeds you sow will not go unnoticed.