October 22, 2020

Things Leaders CANNOT afford to PIVOT away from RIGHT NOW

by Lee Coate in Covid, culture, Leadership, Momentum

If there was one word to describe leadership is the year 2020 it would have to be…PIVOT.  

Pivot here. Pivot there. Pivot this way. Pivot that way. 

Leading through the current uncertainties and realities has forced effective leaders to be fluid with their strategies and often pivot at a head spinning pace. Our team has developed an imaginary drinking game each time someone says “pivot” in a meeting or conversation. We raise our imaginary glasses and smile before leaning into our newest change of direction.  

But here’s a crucial warning. You may now be addicted to pivoting. And that addiction could drive you to PIVOT (take drink) away from the critical priorities of our churches during this new phrase of covid. The initial  regathering phase will provide ample opportunities to inadvertently pull back from the ground gained and pivot away from critical priorities. 

You see there are crucial areas and ground gained during this difficult season that we MUST NOT pivot away from. Be careful you don’t pivot away from the exact things you should be grabbing onto and maintaining at this critical moment and next phase of covid leadership. 

Here’s the thing…Methods will continue to pivot. Key priorities should not. 

Heres the complete list. Over the next few days, we will post a bit more detail around each one individually.


> Pivot from Digital as Influential and Inescapable

> Pivot from Pastoring as a Priority

> Pivot from Presenting the Gospel Obsessively 

> Pivot from Caring for the Community Intentionally

> Pivot from the Flexibility your team needs for Max Efficiency 

> Pivot from the Innovation that continues to be so Necessary

> Pivot from Focused Intentionality on your Personal Emotional Health

Let’s Begin with Avoiding the Digital Pivot.

I know, I know. People have screen fatigue is the argument. Perhaps that is true but I would imagine if you could survey the average screen time of individuals, it is accelerating not declining.  So as you work through the challenges of limited strategic gatherings, if you ignore the ground gained through your covid digital pivot there will be a large missed opportunity and a long term miss. 

I received an email request a few weeks ago from a pastor looking for some collaboration on accelerating their online efforts. We coordinated a phone call the following week and he was excited about the potential and the conversation.

I received a follow up email the day before our scheduled Zoom call. It said the following:
“Lee, I appreciate your willingness to meet and discuss our strategy towards greater online influence. However, I was told yesterday that with our pending in-person regathering, that will be our highest priority and resourced appropriately. I was discouraged from putting too much effort into our online presence right now. So not wanting to waste your time, I’m going to cancel our scheduled call tomorrow. Perhaps at a future date the conversations will change. Appreciate it.

“Frustrated Team Member”

(Ok, I added that part to protect the innocent)

That’s a pivot that I would strongly encourage you to avoid.

Remember, when we are emphasizing digital, please know that it is much, much more than just merely your Sunday service online presence. That is now a minimal expectation. I’m not even sure THAT is the biggest win moving forward. Churches that appropriately leverage the power of digital in a wider fashion within their unique context will see the greatest expanded impact. 

So don’t pivot. 

Instead ask the vital questions around your current model, thinking, and resourcing toward digital:

  • Does your content have the appropriate and effective platforms to reach your desired audience? 
  • Are you still being innovative, intentional and strategic?  
  • Is your content shareable to expand your reach? Is your content engaging or just mostly talking head? 
  • Do your ministries (childrens, students, etc) have a viable digital presence and platform? 

It is also the perfect time to revisit the conversation around your Online Model.

Click HERE for a conversation around our model at Growmentum

The Online Model was developed to help churches determine their objective and subsequent strategy moving forward. In the midst of covid quarantine, everyone expressed enthusiasm for Online Church. Most insisted that their future would include an Online campus and intense presence.  However, as many have begun some form of in-person gathering, digital priority has already begun to drift and slip. So revisit your current and your desired model. Then from that conversation, do the following:

  • Reengergize your efforts
  • Refocus your team
  • Refresh your online experience

Just. Don’t. Pivot. 

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