As we endure through and emerge from this pandemic, there are some practical steps leaders can implement so that their people are ready for a world that has changed forever. Pastors and spiritual leaders (elders, deacons, staff, volunteer leaders and so many others): Thank you for your love, sacrificial service, and tireless concern for your congregations and communities. These thoughts are intended to relieve burdens, not add to them! Here are four first steps in forging a new future.
Take care of yourselves. Self-care is not selfish; it is a vital starting point for having capacity to care for others. Nourishing intimacy with God, receiving healing in our hearts, physical exercise and rest, and relational wholeness are all part of being prepared for service. Jesus’ great invitation of Matthew 11:27-30 is an offer of pacing and rest we can embrace.
Keep going overboard with compassion, empathy, generosity, and personal connections. Regardless of class or culture, circumstances or locations, everyone feels anxious and everyone feels the impact of this moment. All persons have identity and value separate from work tasks.
Re-calibrate discipleship in terms of outcomes, not just programs. Leaders must present a clear and compelling picture of wholeness, in an atmosphere of grace and love. For example, remind community members that emotional, relational, and spiritual wholeness are bound together. Remind the sisters and brothers that their character is refined, and their callings are expressed in their daily work, offered as worship to God (Rom 12:1-2; Col 3:17-24). The Discipleship Dynamics Assessment (www.discipleshipdynamics.com) offers both a picture of completeness and a way of measuring progress.
And become a learner about economics and work. And be a listener to those in your community who are more expert in these areas. Perhaps some small groups focused on the different domains of society will help gather wisdom. Learning from business owners and workers, educational and medical professionals, artists and social workers can all help in our discipling. Fellow-leader, your new title in this season is, “CLO” – Chief Learning/Listening Officer. We pray for you in this season as you navigate some of the most unexpected days in your work.