One of the most frequently asked questions these days, by many church and missional
leaders, is related to the future. A future that somehow, we wish can bring us back the
past that we have lost due to COVID 19. Several pastors have chosen to close all their
face to face meetings till the end of 2020 and some others are fighting legally against
the local government that has forced them to close their buildings. There are also many
pastors that are indecisive and desperately looking day by day for this situation to be
over and return and do things as they used to do.
As a church leader, I am also asking the same questions. How can I lead effectively and
take wise decisions in times like these?
3 kinds of leaders
As I was looking at a refugee walking on the streets and asking people about direction, I
realized that the journey for most of the church leaders during this pandemic might look
very similar to that of a refugee.
The refugee is trying to build a new future because the life he used to have is not an
option anymore. He is continually making decisions for an unknown future, just like many
church leaders today, who are forced to make decisions toward an unknown future.
Many are just hoping that the situation will be fixed so that they will return home to
continue life as usual, just as a war refugee who longs for the day to return home.
There are many church leaders that see the need to change with the refugee hat. Most
of them are not necessarily looking for the change, but they are forced to do it because
of what is happening with the pandemic. But as soon as things get back to normal, they
would gladly turn to do things as they did in the past.
The explorer mindset in the contrary is looking for new effective ways to do things differently
that will open new unknown opportunities and they usually experience lots of innovation.
There are many leaders of tech companies that are constantly changing, not because
they are forced to change but because this is who they are. They flourish in ambiguity
and unpredictable situations. They are not happy about the challenges, but they are
excited about the opportunities these challenges bring. So, they move forward with
The third leadership mindset I wanted to address is what I call Sheckelton’s leadership.
As an explorer in a journey to cross Antarctica his ship got stuck in the ice. For days, his
crew camped on floating ice. That was not what they wanted but Shackleton as a great
leader reversed the situation. Instead of sinking in despair, he helped his crew how to think: He asked the question: What would we do differently if we would choose to be in this situation?
Just this question changed completely the perspective of his crew and when asked later
all of them said that this exploration journey was the best of their life even though most
of them risking their lives.
As we are living in times like these, leading churches, and missional organizations in
times of disruption maybe it would help ask the Shackleton’s question:
What would we do differently if we would choose to be in this situation?
I would love to hear some of your answers. God bless!