I had another one of those dreams the other night, you know the kind where you’re driving a car, you step on the gas to accelerate, and it just won’t get moving. And for some crazy reason, the opposite is true in reverse! The car accelerates when I can’t see where I’m going. Is this a metaphor for leadership in the time of COVID-19? Do I need help? (likely)
I hope you’ve been sleeping well but chances are that during this troubling season, you too have felt powerless, steering left and right to avoid disaster. Like driving at night in a bad dream. If we could articulate what’s bothering us, it might be the question. “What now?”
As you and I wrestle with that question, consider these encouragements.
#1 Let Him bear you and your burden
Jesus has invited all of us weak and heavy laden to come to him for rest. The church is His vehicle, and He is the driver. Our main task as “under drivers” these days is to process our daily struggle with Him to receive His peace, joy and guidance.
#2 Don’t give in to fear
The road of leadership feels perilous. Pastors are being criticized for how they are handling the church lock down. Business owners are hurting. Depression, drug and substance abuse are all rapidly increasing. Neighbours are reporting neighbours for hosting friends. Who will be left in our churches when this season ends?
Fear takes our eyes off the Lord; it threatens to crash our faith and tempts us to pull over and quit. Let’s trust God to guide and empower us for each day’s journey. The Lord knows the road ahead, and with him we are going to see some amazing things if we do not give up.
#3 Embrace the tune up
Hardships, opposition, “grief in all kinds of trials” make us stronger and better in every way. The Lord is surely giving His church in Canada a “tune-up” in this season. Pastors and leaders are being tested as well. Will we stay faithful to the gospel when it’s not popular or in keeping with society’s values? Are we willing to equip and lead the church into a future where we are increasingly marginalized, and our gatherings restricted?
The church in the majority world is familiar with rough travel, but we in Canada are used to smoother roads, green lights and loaded vehicles. This is going to change.
#4 Look forward
We are all eager to return to corporate worship and to in-person fellowship hopefully sometime in the coming 6 months or so. Our people know that pattern well and I suspect there will be a surge of traffic and enthusiasm in our foyers. Some will not return but our preparation and invitation will set the tone, so gather your team and be ready. But more importantly, gather your leaders now to discern a deeper change.
We are in the middle of massive disruption of our society and our church patterns. Will you and your leaders be ready? Why not convene a group to consider the road ahead. Ask…
What have we learned through COVID that can help us be a faithful and thriving community that is not dependant and limited by buildings and programs?
What new paradigms for ministry have we learned during Covid and how can we maximize them for mission?
We have an unprecedented opportunity to “reset” our definition and expectation for maturity in Christ…. the cost of discipleship. What is the Lord asking us to leave behind? What is He asking us to prioritize?
What steps should we be taking now to prepare our church for the day when the government removes our charitable privileges, and we face active persecution for our faith?
These questions may not help you or me sleep any better, in fact, they may keep us up at night in a good way, and I hope they will help us move ahead on the road of faith with the Lord.
Written by Rob Theissen, conference minister for the British Columbia Conference of MB Churches. Driving at night was republished with permission from the author.