Home Life & Faithinspirational Leading through the trauma of covid: Part three in a four-part series

Leading through the trauma of covid: Part three in a four-part series

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Today we’re going to discuss how leaders can lead their congregations and communities through the trauma of COVID into a healthier place.

In previous articles, I’ve written about the collective, personal and vicarious trauma many have experienced due to the pandemic. We also took a look at how past traumas and triggers affect how we understand, experience and respond to stressors. Lastly, we unpacked how heightened stressors have influenced our fight, flight and freeze responses and what we can do in response.

In today’s article, we’ll look at a challenge that created pandemic stress and how we can help those we lead process well to move into the future in a psycho-
logically and relationally healthy way.


For leaders everywhere, workload increased dramatically during the pandemic. Not only were there new demands (e.g. learning new technologies), but we needed to adjust to new situations (e.g. working from home) and deal with escalating conflicts.

Our communities also experienced an increased workload. Research shows that people worked longer hours, had more meetings, and took on more tasks during the pandemic. Beyond work, families needed to adjust to having children at home and being more involved in their schooling, leaving most people exhausted at some level.

1. Rest // Now is a time for rest. As leaders, many of us want to jump right back into the vision we hold so dearly. The time for marching will come. But now is a time for rest.

As a leader, how can you set aside time to rest? And how can you share your story of rest with others? Can you take extra time off to rejuvenate? Are there sports or creative outlets you’d like to engage in? Will journal what you’ve experienced and reevaluate which parts of your role are most important?

By engaging in rest yourself and modelling its value for others, you offer much-needed permission to rest.

2. Mission, vision and values // In order to move into post-traumatic growth, we must ask the question, “what is enough?” One way to engage this question collectively is to train on your mission, vision and values and invite your community to discuss top objectives and release less effective initiatives. This will create buy-in and help to define the next steps.

3. Prioritize // On the same note, this is a perfect time to reflect upon the programs and services you offer. First, determine which activities have the highest impact
and which do not. Then, make priorities based on the highest impact initiatives.

Prioritizing the few highest impact activities and eliminating, delegating or automating others allows for simplicity so we can get back to our discipleship goals.

In addition, with fewer high-impact goals, staff and volunteers will become more focused and less stretched.

Next month we’ll look at five more challenges and practical ways to lead our communities well into the future.

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