March and April of 2020 have been two of the most unusual months in our history. Uncertainties and challenges from every angle. Yet, it has been a time of unusual opportunity. My focus during these two months, other than a time of personal reflection and evaluation, ministry initiatives both locally and globally to help those in serious need, and finishing my new book, available in another 4-6 weeks, has been in leadership coaching within local businesses and area ministries. During this time I have recognized the four-fold pattern experienced by persons and organizations:
Daze What’s happening? Adjust What needs to be done now? Implement Make decisions and monitor effectiveness.
Fail – Survive – or Thrive - I have witnessed each of these, depending mostly on the mindset and then communication and execution of the things that matter most. My coaching model that would involve a Seven-Step Plan (that works for any person or organization that has the mindset to engage) and Seven Things That Every Team Needs During a Crisis, provides a way to thrive even in amid unexpected disruption. Here are two examples, one ministry and one business, that have done exceptionally well by using this leadership model during this crisis period. One church initiated leadership coaching when their pastor moved out-of-state last fall. Three pivotal staff members took the courageous step to pursue individual and team coaching. Implementing principles of leadership coaching for personal and professional growth, they developed a mindset that would help them overcome the challenges presented by the unexpected Covid-19 crisis. This week we evaluated the results:
“Drive up” worship averaged 77% of their attendance from the last “normal” Sunday in early March. This does not count those who streamed the services online.
They exceeded their budget requirements by 140% and their expenses by 204%. That’s a WOW!
Developed a plan to progressively re-open by “Step-In” (inside worship), “Drive-In” (in vehicle, on site) and “Tune-In” (by FM radio and live stream).
Developed a detailed plan for “Re-Open Sunday” when everyone will worship inside the church again, with a strong re-start to ministry for the summer and fall months.
Developed a broad plan and strategy for the remaining 2020 year. This all during an interim time in addition to the Covid-19 challenges.
This church’s leadership chose a mindset that enabled them to move forward, to learn and “thrive” even during a time of Covid-19 restraints and uncertainties. To be proactive in working towards a strong comeback. This church has balanced “faith and facts” as well as any church I know and truly better than most. Instead of looking to the government for money, they looked to God and God’s people. It is my experience that any time the church gets a shekel from the government it’s only a matter of time before the church gets a shackle from the government.
The defining difference: mindset and leadership! The following business saw similar success. The leadership coaching relationship with this business has been a most rewarding experience. The owner is a Christian and the company was founded on Christian values. Their leadership team went through the same four-fold pattern described above. They chose a forward mindset. The results during the month of April:
5.4% growth in sales over April of last year
15% growth in net profit
Innovated a third drive-thru
Pursuing plans to open a second location
Reached out to provide for those in the community
Remains focused on personal and professional growth that empowers their own quality of life and increases business opportunities
We celebrate such “wins” and should! What examples they are to their respective communities and beyond. But there is no “free-ride stimulus package.” Such positive outcomes require clear vision, mission, and strategy. It requires faith and hard work. The pay-off is self-respect and the ability to serve others. Most importantly, to honor Christ and fulfill their stated mission.
The threat of Covid-19 is not over. Not only the threat of the virus itself, but the implications of the choices we have made during this time. Choices such as whether we spent or invested our time during this quarantine. The consequences from the choices made by the federal, state, and local government regarding Covid-19 management, federal expenditures, control exerted over businesses and churches and most importantly the moral and ethical principles in which these choices have been made and are being made have serious and uncertain ramifications. This is to say that as we move forward in life, business and ministry, our mindset, our forward thinking and most importantly our faith and moral principle will make the defining difference.
In the end, we who are followers of Christ, believe that all the national and global
movements are moving us toward the fulfillment of what that one document teaches, (the Bible) the one document that, no virus, no government, and no man, no matter how powerful, has been able to destroy. The church will gather one way or another, and will scatter (or be scattered), but will, either way, like those early believers, spread the good news of the Gospel in a bad news world.
This is an unusual time. It is a time of uncertainty. It is equally a time of unique opportunity. As scripture reminds us;
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is”(Ephesians5:14-17,NIV).
We have a mission, even with much loss we find ourselves with resources far beyond the average person in other countries, and we have the promises of a faithful God. Now, let’s choose themindsetof faith, adventure and resolve and move forward with anticipation to a brighter future.
We can make this a positive disruption by wise choices that lead to renewed vision, increased skills, and outcomes never thought possible.