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Leading in Times of Crisis

By New Churches Team

We are in the middle of a global pandemic. What this season has brought to mind is that in our lifetime there will likely be another pandemic. What can we learn now to prepare for the next pandemic? 

Flourishing During Crisis

In general, there is going to be a crisis. We’ve found ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, but local crises also occur. Most people aren’t prepared for crises, but they will face a crisis during their lifetime. So, how can we prepare for the next crisis? 

Well, in a sense we are still working through this crisis, but there are some things we know that can help us. In a crisis, our mission, our vision, and our values remain unchanged. What changes is our strategy and our structure. The end result of having a clear mission, vision, and values, and a strategy and structure that can adapt is that your ministry can flourish during the most difficult times. 

The Phases of a Crisis

There are phases in a crisis. In a book, Your It, created by the National Preparedness Institute at Harvard, they talk about this in terms of the basement, the workroom, and the laboratory. Early on in a crisis you have to go to the basement. You have to get there to survive. But you can’t stay in the basement. You have to move to the workroom. This is where everyone resets and gets into a new rhythm. But the best thinkers get into the laboratory. They think about what they need to do in the midst of the crisis to make them better in or after the crisis. Being a crisis leader isn’t something you will do a lot, but when it comes you will be a leader in a way you never have before, and it will impact your leadership for years to come. Your leadership now will determine how people follow you as a leader later.

Responding to Crisis

There are two kinds of crisis: incident crises and issue crises. Incident crises happen suddenly. The first phase to responding is ARCH: acknowledge and respond concisely with haste. You want to quickly communicate that you see something is happening and you are gathering the facts. If you are more naturally hesitant to lead, learn this process. The second phase is GAP: gather the facts, assess the damage, project the challenges. This is when you are getting out of the basement and taking the next steps.

Adapted from the New Churches Q&A Podcast Episode 531: Preparing for Crisis. Click here to listen to more to church planting, multisite, and multiplication tips.


New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.


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