3 Encouragements as You Lead Your Church During This Challenging Season

Posted by Aaron Buer on July 30, 2020

Are you feeling frustrated right now?

Maybe it’s just me. This season has been incredibly frustrating to me.

I’m tired, and it feels like I’m not winning.  

So, what’s causing the frustrations?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and depending on how you are gifted and wired, this pandemic could be messing with you.

It’s definitely messing with me.  

Perhaps you’re a visionary leader.

You have the gift of planning for the future.

This is where we need to go! This is the future!

You can get people excited about a preferred future.  

Right now, it’s almost impossible to predict the future. I can’t even clearly predict next week!

If you’re a visionary leader, you likely are struggling right now, and you may be feeling frustrated.  

Maybe you’re a people person.

You come alive in groups. You get energy from people, and they find joy in your presence.

Well, you probably already know where this is going.

It’s not possible to hang out with groups of people in person right now, and it can be hard to emotionally connect with people when everyone is wearing masks.

Maybe this is why you’re feeling frustrated.

Or, are you gifted with hospitality?

Hosting parties and putting on events is  your jam.

You enjoy creating an experience for people that makes them feel great.

With events mostly online right now, you may be feeling like your skills and expertise are in hibernation.

Maybe this is why you’re feeling frustrated.  

Perhaps, like me, you thrive on affirmation.

You’re not a narcissist, but you need feedback and encouragement.

Pre-COVID, after preaching a sermon, the people’s reactions in the atrium was how I gauged how well the sermon connected with people.

These days, I preach into a camera and then just sort of wonder.

Maybe this is why you’re feeling frustrated.  

Maybe you thrive on doing things correctly.

You’re a bit of a perfectionist.

You thrive on process and systems and doing the right thing.

In this season, with all the rules constantly changing, and everyone’s emotions so heightened, it’s impossible to do everything correctly and keep everyone happy.

Maybe this is why you’re feeling frustrated. 

I guess what I’m saying, is that in this season, many of us aren’t able to fully use our gifts.

We’re not able to do what we always did, and well, it’s incredibly frustrating.

If you’re like me, you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing most of the time, which isn’t fun.

Because of this, there’s a potential for apathy, burn out, or bitterness.  

Could I share a few thoughts about staying healthy in this season? I have three encouragements for you:

Give Yourself Grace

I like winning, and I like doing things right the first time.

We are in uncharted territory. There is no playbook for all the decisions we have to make and pivots we need to pursue.

We simply won’t get it right every time. How could we?

The rules keep changing, and the future is uncertain.  

In this season, the goal isn’t perfection.

It’s to do the best we can with the information we have.

Could I encourage you? Give yourself grace.

From one flawed leader to another, you won’t get it 100% perfect right now, and that’s okay.

Granting yourself grace will keep you healthy and sane.  

Pursue Healthy Habits

This season is an emotional rollercoaster.

When I’m stressed or down, I’m tempted to veg out.

The temptation is to say, “Leadership is so hard right now! I deserve to watch 20 hours of Netflix. I deserve to play video games all day and all night.” 

veg-out There’s a difference between rest that restores and rest that depletes.

It’s possible to “rest” in a way that actually drains you more.  

This is the most emotionally demanding season of leadership I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve become very aware of the need to pursue rest that actually restores.

I don’t know what this is for you, but for me, it’s connecting with good friends one-on-one, dates with my wife, and long bike rides in rural areas.

Stay Connected to Jesus

I’m reminded that the church has traditionally thrived in difficult seasons.

Pressure and stress often produce growth.

Perhaps it’s because in times like this we are forced to rely on God instead of models of ministry, specific personalities, or buildings. 

I’m reminded of John 15, 

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

It’s not about what we bring.

It’s actually about staying connected to the One who brings everything through us.  

Many of my prayers in this season go like this, 

“If you don’t move,…this is doomed!”  

“If you don’t speak…this sermon is gonna be worthless!”  

“If you don’t guide us…we are going to mess everything up!”  

There’s a desperation to my prayers because I’m more aware of how inadequate I am.

I think this is actually how it’s supposed to be.  

Wrap Up

I don’t enjoy leading during a pandemic. I’m ready for this thing to be over.

And yet, I realize  that in my weakness, God has been strong.

He continues to provide, to move, and to use me.  

If you’re feeling discouraged right now, I get it.

Give yourself grace, pursue healthy habits, and stay connected to Jesus.

I think he’s up to something in the midst of this difficult season.   

Topics: Advice

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