There is no question that today’s world looks much different than it did a month ago. Or even a week ago. To say things have changed is an understatement.
COVID-19 has created a major world-wide crisis and we all are experiencing unexpected problems on multiple levels. It’s no secret that in times of crisis problems pop-up fast and furious. And the results of these problems run deep and long.
We all see the problems and the challenges before us, but let’s not get stuck here. As a leader (a person who has influence over others), now is the time to lead our way through and out of this by turning to look for the opportunities in the crisis.
The reality is this COVID-19 pandemic is bad – really bad! It’s going to get worse by every indication. No one wants to see people getting this sick and dying at the rate we see every day. If you listen to much news, and live in the negative, the despair will become all-consuming and you will lose hope. If you’re in a place to have influence over others, this is your unique opportunity to lead them from despair to hope.
Just how does a person of influence do this?
- During a crisis, first and foremost, a person with influence has to slow down and be empathetic with those you influence. The reality is, no matter how important you believe your job or ministry is, people are not thinking about your mission, business, or nonprofit. They are asking how will this COVID-19 impact me and for how long? Will I come down with the virus and if so what will I do? What will my family do? As a leader we must acknowledge these fears – they are real.
We live in a very privileged nation. Any one of the Y or Z generations really does not know what suffering is like. They have trouble understanding the ethics, discipline, and hardship of the crisis. This is a great opportunity to lead your children in a conversation about the realities of this and what they can learn from it.
This is the time for prayer. Prayer leads us and our families to be more compassionate and it improves our outlook on life (just to name two benefits of praying). Everyone on your team (non-profit or for-profit) should have a list of people to call, check up on, and ask if you can pray for them – I bet they say yes. People need to know you care before they care about what you care about. Now is the time to live this out.
Here is the hidden key to being empathetic – you must be totally honest, no hidden agenda. People can sense if you are faking it, if you have an agenda. Once they sense or perceive an agenda, you no longer have influence.
Heart for Lebanon’s Spiritual Formation Team is fully operational in Lebanon. Though we cannot do large gatherings, our teams are visiting the camps to encourage the refugee communities. They are making on average 75 calls daily with a team of 58 to follow up on the families we serve and to pray with them. We also send daily devotional videos made by our Team – it’s a new opportunity.
- Over Communicate – but not endless talking. The truth is, in a crisis you cannot over communicate with your family or your team! In a crisis such as this, things change fast and you need to communicate your “why” often. When people know what you’re doing, and the “why,” they will follow at an unbelievable pace. Those you are influencing will be energized and become positive, rise above the despair, and have hope.
- Plan on getting somethings wrong. In times of crisis, like this world-wide COVID-19 crisis, there is no road map, no proven polices and procedures. The facts are changing quickly, and even with your best intentions based on your current knowledge, you will get a few things wrong. Admit it when it happens, adapt and move forward. No one really expects, in unchartered waters, you will get it right 100% of the time. However, keep in mind, we are leading with God right by our side. While we do not understand why God allowed this pandemic to happen, what we do KNOW is, HE and He alone is in control. HE loves us and always finishes what He has started. Another reason your “Why” is so important.
- Become laser-focused on your mission/purpose. If you have not done so yet, now is a great time to find your true purpose. Dust off what has weighed us down and run the race set before us like never before.
At Heart for Lebanon we are laser-focused on Making Disciples – it’s our mission. One of our projects we use to build relationships is our sewing ministry. This ministry helps refugee ladies practically and helps them grow spiritually. Today, these ladies are sewing face masks which are in very low supply in Lebanon. The production line at our Hope Ministry Center in the Bekaa, had an original goal to make 5,000 masks in 20 days. However, when the ladies knew our “WHY” they are now making, on average, over 215 masks every day.
I am convinced God never wants us to waste a crisis. Now is the time to lead those under your influence into new and exciting areas of growth you never dreamed possible.
Please let us know how we can help you lead through this time of COVID-19 crisis.