An article I’d like you to read this week.

These are incredible days of challenge aren’t they?  Last week was the first work-week that my job started significantly changing in response to COVID 19.  Was that true for you?  Last week was different than the week before.  News reports started having more bite, hitting closer to home with bigger implications.  “I don’t think we’re going to be able to finish this year of ministry on the trajectory we planned.”  By the end of the week things started looking different in my community too.  This morning we went to church and worshiped with about 45 other people (yes, we don’t attend a mega church, but no, the crowd is usually a little bigger than that).  We drove past empty churches on the way to our church.  It felt very strange!  “Was this morning the last time we’ll be at our church for a while?”

In the next few PBR posts I’m going to bring you an article that’s been circulating among my colleagues in Graduate Faculty Ministries entitled: Love in the Time of Coronavirus.  It’s lengthy.  I’ll talk about just one part of the article each time I post.  I’ll include the link to the article each time.  I’d like you to read it first because it’s helpful and well written!  But also because it’s a great reflection on where I feel our leadership needs to head in campus ministry.  Let it be a guide to your prayers for InterVarsity as well as a practical guide in your context.  Let me know what you think!

Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic – Crouch’s 4 questions:

  1. What is happening? An overview of the most important things for Christian leaders, anywhere in the United States, to know about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.
  2. What should we communicate? A list of the most helpful messages others can hear from us — and the most harmful messages as well.
  3. What decisions should we make? Recommendations for decisions about large gatherings, medium-size gatherings for Christian worship, and small groups meeting in households.
  4. What can we hope for? A few reflections on the genuine possibility that our decisions in the next few weeks could reshape the practice of Christian faith in our nation…

Formerly an editor at Christianity Today, formerly an InterVarsity staff member, and author of numerous books on Christianity and Culture, you’ll find Crouch incisive and practical if you’re not already a fan!  You can read a little about Andy Crouch here at the Praxis website.

“Praxis is a creative engine for redemptive entrepreneurship, supporting founders, funders, and innovators motivated by their faith to renew culture and love their neighbors.  Our community of practice operates through high-touch programs, robust content, and a global portfolio of redemptive business & nonprofit ventures.”

Love in the Time of Coronavirus, has helped me cut through a lot of unhelpful noise.  I’ve needed a place to land in terms of my attitude toward this crisis.  Andy’s challenge is helping me move forward into the real decisions facing my leadership.

A leader’s responsibility, as circumstances around us change, is to speak, live, and make decisions in such a way that the horizons of possibility move towards shalom, flourishing for everyone in our sphere of influence, especially the vulnerable.

I’m asking a lot of questions this week I wasn’t asking last week.  What is the pandemic going to do to my ministry this week?  How do I get in front of decisions with a better grip on what I’m doing?  Please pray for me.  Here are a few things needing fresh leadership:

  1. Major fund-raising needs I’m responding to this spring.  I began 2020 firmly committed to working on my budget.  How am going to accomplish my goals?
  2. Several appointments this week with potential ministry partners and possible financial supporters.  What do I do differently?
  3. A trip I have been planning for weeks to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio!  Do I cancel the trip when it’s taken me over a month to set everything up?
  4. I supervise 6 other staff in my territory.  What needs to be different in my leadership starting this week?
  5. All of our groups on campus have been shut down.  What does that mean for how we try to connect with students?  Are my staff prepared to sustain ministry to students and faculty without face to face contact?

I’ll keep you posted on what I’m learning and how I’m leading.  Let me know what you think of Andy’s article!

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