June 29, 2020

The First Five | June 29, 2020

by Lee Coate in The First Five

Five Things Leaders WISH they had done before Covid hit

Here are the things that we experienced and observed that now in hindsight is informing our future leadership:

1. I WISH I HAD BUILT STRONGER COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS AND PARTNERSHIPS

  • If your church did not have active partners in the community that you were working alongside prior to Covid, it was nearly impossible to spark those relationships in the midst of the crisis. 
  • Preemptive, intentional partnerships that had already developed trust and credibility allowed for a rapid response to the growing needs in our communities. Churches that failed to be positioned alongside these frontline partners missed an opportunity to “be the church” in a crucial moment.

2. I WISH WE HAD BEEN MORE PROACTIVE WITH TECHNOLOGY AND ITS ADVANTAGES

  • For many churches, the arrival of Covid exposed where technology had been lacking or ignored. Beginning with the ability to bring worship gathers into living rooms and locations everywhere, churches that had lagged behind found themselves scrambling to catch up. A tremendous amount of energy was expended initially to make this happen. 
  • Additionally, areas like online giving and social media that were undeveloped or underutilized were illuminated as Covid hit. As leaders, we have the responsibility to not be caught lagging or lax when it comes to advancing technology that will be instrumental in advancing our mission in the future. 

3. I WISH MY TEAM HAD BEEN HEALTHIER IN ADVANCE OF THE CRISIS

  • It is popular and easy to talk team building and even portray an image of team unity and wholeness, but in daily urgency, it often lays low on the priority list. 
  • When this crisis arrived, the gaps in health and the presence of dysfunction within staff teams, leaders and even high capacity volunteers was on full display. Teams that had done the consistent hard work, were rewarded with resiliency and effort without hesitation. Others were forced to expend energy to rally and unify the team at a time when it was in short supply. 

4. I WISH OUR CHURCH WAS MORE PURPOSE BASED THAN PERSONALITY OR PLACE BASED

  • With the loss of a building destination and physical gatherings, any deficit in a church’s sense of clear mission and purpose left many floundering to mobilize and motivate their people.
  • When a healthy church rallies around (mission, vision, values), it provides an anchor during a crisis. However, a “personality” merely provides a voice and a “place” only provides a point of contact. A crisis forces a church to lean back into its primary reason for existence and many may find themselves lacking clarity here. 

5. I WISH WE HAD PREEMPTIVELY DEVELOPED ONLINE STEPS, ASSIMILATION AND PROCESSES BEYOND JUST CREATING ONLINE CONTENT

  • The difference between an online presence and an online church is the existence of engagement that moves beyond just consuming. The struggle for so many has been the hard work of building systems to connect the disconnected, especially those who are discovering our churches for the first time through our online environments. 
  • For many, the pivot to fully online did not translate to greater connection. Developing systems to move people purposefully and intentionally towards greater connection with Christ and the church has proven challenging.

With that… let’s turn our wish list into an action list. As we move into this season of re-launching, it is crucial that our leadership effort extends beyond the urgent into learning from our hindsight reflections towards a more impactful future in the new normal.

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