Leading out of Lockdown

There is light at the end of the tunnel!

Around the world, people in their millions are being vaccinated and governments are beginning to plan for life in a post-pandemic world. As leaders we too should be in the process of starting to plan for this.

What do our priorities need to be? How can we ensure a positive, healthy restart to the various aspects of church life? Here are some of the key considerations we need to plan for:

‘There is no ‘going back’ – there can only be ‘going forward’.

‘When are we getting back to normal? Is a question that is often asked and it is an understandable one. The Israelites remembered the good aspects of life back in slavery in Egypt, and centuries later they remembered their life back in Jerusalem as they fond themselves in exile in Babylon. It is human nature to look back with longing, no matter how much we moaned about life back then when we were actually there! But the truth is, things will be different in the post-pandemic world. The landscape has changed.

Many companies are planning to retain at least a certain level of working from home. This will have profound implications for ongoing loneliness and isolation.

Whilst mental health had become a more acceptable subject to talk about before the pandemic, there will be a large-scale increase of those who struggle with mental health issues. Many people of all ages have experienced a negative impact on their mental health and this particularly includes children who have experienced months from their friends and school routines. There is a looming mental health crisis that makes just ‘getting back to normal’ highly unlikely. 

recent news headline read as follows:

‘Psychics report a boom since coronavirus as the bereaved seek solace in spiritualism’.

It is also true that the move to online religious worship has encouraged an increase in people exploring faith, including (but not exclusively) Christianity. Many have explored Christianity through the medium of online church services and have come to faith.


What strategies could you engage to reinforce this message?

We need to envision people for mission and service again.

The rise of online services has been really helpful in terms of keeping people connected and providing a window for visitors. However, it has also encouraged a sense of passivity that we need to address.

Whereas before people would get up, get ready, get in the car or walk to church, where they would be exclusive towards the service in their time and concentration, now people can ‘be at church’ whilst still being in bed, they can go through the service whilst having breakfast, they can listen to a sermon while dong housework, preparing lunch or whatever. Or at the quick change of a website address, they can tune into another church to hear a different sermon.

In this sense, church has become little different to a Netflix box set! If you have sat through a Zoom small group meeting you will also appreciate the passive nature of this. The church meeting or group meeting ends with the words, ‘Good bye!’ and a click on the ‘leave meeting’ button.

We need to focus on encouraging people away from this passive, consumer mentality and back to a focus of mission and service.


What strategies could you engage to reinforce this message?

We need to acknowledge what has been lost, allow people to grieve, but encourage people to focus forward to a new start.

At this current moment in the UK just over 122,700 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19. Worldwide this figure stands at 2.53 million.

Many people are grieving the loss of a loved one. Many others have experienced different kinds of loss – the loss of employment, the loss of human interaction, the on-going effects of ‘long covid’ etc. As mentioned above, the impact on the mental health of our nation (children and adults alike) is hard to exaggerate and there is likely to be a tidal wave of mental health needs in the coming months and years.

We cannot pretend that things are just getting ‘back to normal’ as lockdown restrictions ease. Neither can we afford to allow others – or ourselves – to become stuck in the place of grief or fear.

In February’s issue of Leadership News we looked at how God is calling us to a fresh focus on Ephesians 3:20 “Now all glory to Him, who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than all we can ask or imagine” and this challenge from the Holy Spirit is a vital one to weave into the life of those whom we are leading. However, it would be a great mistake to not give space for people to process their grief and come to terms with all that has been lost, in order to be free to begin to embrace the ‘exceeding, abundant’ new things that He has got in store for us.


What strategies could you engage to reinforce this message? 


Kingfisher Family celebrates its 30th birthday