On a prayer walk today I was struck by a line that came up in a leadership forum I was honoured to speak at yesterday. The line was “Beware Fatigue!” – and it resonated with some of the leaders present.
So far 2020 has been an incredibly unusual time for everyone, but I want to speak to those who do what I do: Lead a church.
As soon as we entered lockdown, church leaders had to begin thinking about changing almost EVERYTHING, as multiple departments closed, public settings shut down and most endured the huge discovery curve of taking many ministries, groups and services online. Adrenaline pumped, and it was actually a tad exciting (apart from those touched by grief or real anxiety in the moment).
But 12 weeks into lockdown and the adrenaline has subsided (anyone else?!), and for some, fatigue, or even exhaustion, has visited your life. That’s normal and even to be expected. But it also has certain dangers that we must avoid.
The caution I sense for some Church leaders is simply this: July, August and September 2020 are going to be a time of tough decision making, as we begin to consider and attempt “in-person” services once again. It will be a summer of considered research, long team meetings and experiments in services, some of which we hope will work well, and others that may fail. Summer may be very taxing and tiring indeed.
In fact, the brain power, energy and leadership required in this summer season may be even more taxing than March and April, and so if you feel you need to rest – NOW IS THE TIME.
You see, fatigued me just wants church to go back to normal! Fatigued me is so tired of making decisions with so little proven reference points. EVERYTHING is new! It’s exhausting. Fatigue will cause you to be irritated at your team, rush decisions, dictate decisions just to get things over with, or even freeze and procrastinate, unable to make a decision at all. Oh, I’ve been there!
But think it through: This July you will almost certainly be starting to consider:
- What the government advice will be for church services – you may only get 5 days notice if past announcements are anything to go by. We may not know the numbers allowed to gather at one time or the social distancing requirements until just before. You’re going to have to be nimble!
- How to return to safe “in-person” services in your venue if you have one, or working through how to hire a space/s (8 in our case!), or whether to risk the British summer and head outdoors?
- Whether to drop the digital ministry advancement made in this time (Which I think would be a disastrous shame for many) or whether to invest further in online presence – including technical staff and online pastors.
- What to do when you find you’re putting on volunteer intensive in-person services, but half your members feel it’s too soon, feel vulnerable or have simply got used to that Sunday morning lie-in!
- What things need to change, what needs to stop, and what do you want to take with you into this new season.
- How to step forward into a new era of opportunity, rather than step back into what was. Many feel this has been a deeply prophetic time, full of a sense of “reset” and preparation – Fatigue won’t be able to grasp this opportunity or enter this new era. An energised you will!
Refreshed you will be able to flex with the new season. Your mind will be willing to percolate new information, your emotions will be energised enough to care for your team, your body will get you out of bed, ready to face another day of new opportunities. For most of us, when we are rested we are optimists, when we’re exhausted, we’re pessimists. You need to give your church and team a rested you.
So, I wanted to give my fellow church leaders a prod – Make sure you’re rested. This summer is going to be intense when it comes to making decisions, energising your team and experimenting with new ministry opportunities. Don’t feel guilty in taking a rest – a rested leader, is a better leader.
AND HERE’S HOW I MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP YOU FURTHER: The next 2 nights, 8pm on YouTube and Facebook I’m going to be talking about what is God saying about moving out of lockdown. I’ll be considering the prophetic and practical trends currently reshaping our world through this pandemic season, and how we can adjust our lives, teams, churches and ministries to flex with the changes. What’s the biggest mistake you could make right now as a leader? How can you turn the pandemic into a launch pad for greater Kingdom impact?
In this mini-series, broadcasting from Friday 19th June 2020 on YouTube and Facebook, I will lead and inspire you to embrace the “New Normal” and get ready for life and ministry after lockdown. How to prepare your team, what kind of leader you need to be, how church can return to “in-person” services, what divine opportunities ought not to be ignored, and how to evaluate, redesign and reshape your church for the new era ahead.
Join us Friday 19th & Saturday 20th June at 8pm on
YouTube https://www.youtube.com/jarrodlcoopertv and