If there’s one word that I find more irritating than covid right now, it’s the word pivot. Everybody’s pivoting. They’re pivoting from offline to online and physical to virtual, and all other kinds of pivots. It’s all the same thing, really.
Before this whole crisis where pivot became the most popular word next to covid, I always just thought of pivot as a basketball move, but now it’s something that businesses and churches and people or are all doing.
Today I’m going to share with you part of a larger interview I did with Stuart McKnight of theologynow.ca. We covered a lot of ground in the interview and this little segment had to do with the question I asked him about a theology of crisis, specifically a theology of Covid and how we handle it and respond to it theologically. I think you’ll find this useful and stimulating and you’ll see that it applies not just to Corvid. So jump in and have a listen.
There’s an old saying that says, if your only tool is a hammer, you’re going to see every problem as a nail. What is your hammer? What is your nail? What is your default setting when you’re in crisis or under stress?
Some kinds of personality and leadership tests seek to discern in part what your default operating mechanism is. When you go under stress, do you operate differently than you normally do? There’s a lot of pretty good leaders who are good leaders in normal times, but under stress they become tyrants and really controlling and non-collaborative, which is their default setting. Other people kind of withdraw and get quiet.
When it comes to crisis, whether it’s a national/international crisis like the Covid-19, whether it’s in business or in church or a family crisis, the same kind of thing happens. But it’s not necessarily just about our personality; it’s about our skill set. As leaders, we have some skills. We have some things that we’re really good at, which are different for each one of us, that when things go sideways, we might fall back on those skills, whether or not that skill is what is needed at the time. It’s our hammer. It’s our default hammer.
I want to take a look at the 8020 of disruptive, crisis leadership. Or maybe it’s better stated “the 8020 of leading in disruption and crisis”. 8020 Pastors and Priority Pastor are about crafting a focused, sustainable life and ministry.
When it comes to disruption and crisis, if you’re a leader and you want to maintain this focus, stability, and sustainability, the 8020, is very clearly in my mind, self leadership. It’s about taking care of yourself and putting on your own oxygen mask first, as the flight attendant says before take-off. This can be a little bit counter to our pastoral bias towards self-sacrifice, rightly or wrongly.
I’m about to engage with a new church in a transitional coaching role. One of the things out of the gate we’ll be doing is assessment and the history of the church is a big part of that. I’ve started making requests for the documentation I need and I thought I’d just pass on the process I follow to get to the bottom of a church history.
I know I’ve talked about this before, but I want to share more of a process with you here. In a transitional role it’s not just about the celebratory church history, but about the real history of the church. Here’s a process to work through to get a grip on the history of your church, whether you’re in a new situation or have been in one for a while.