Recommended Reading: Leading Beyond the Blizzard
We are cyclical, rhythmic people. The four seasons of God’s natural world envelop us in periods of growth, abundance, decline, and barrenness, and growth again. As Anglicans we experience God’s goodness together through the liturgical seasons, soaking in the present season but also waiting in anticipation for the next. It is appropriate and helpful, therefore, for us to understand this pandemic — and our response in it — through nature and the seasons we know and expect, and the hope we can anticipate beyond them.
In an article from the Praxis Journal that Archbishop Foley Beach recommends all should read, we are implored to view the COVID-19 pandemic not as a current storm or blizzard to hunker down and “get through”, but instead recognize this as the beginning of a small Ice Age — an extended season that will last many months or longer, with far-reaching effects for our churches and parishioners. And the sooner we take this viewpoint the better: If the winter is relatively mild, our organizations will be stronger for having done the difficult work of restructuring to continue to serve in crisis, which will certainly not be the last crisis we experience; if the winter is long, we will be ready and able to serve through it.
“From today onward, most leaders must recognize that the business they were in no longer exists. This applies not just to for-profit businesses, but to nonprofits, and even in certain important respects to churches.”
The authors explain that while our church or non-profit vision remains the same, how we will accomplish that vision will necessarily be different: “The rest of your deck — the part that describes the strategies, tactics, financial models, and partners you can mobilize — is functionally different… You have to build a fundamentally new deck that reflects the new realities of the community you serve, and the tools that are available to you today.”
The authors encourage us that Christians are uniquely positioned to weather and lead during this extended season, because we possess both realism — making space for present grief and lament — and unparalleled hope: building upon the trust we have in our relationships and in the confidence that the Triune God is good.
“The reality is that God has called us to a time like this, given us a mission and a community to serve alongside, and we still have the most important resource, which is trust in the context of love. Everything depends on how quickly and thoroughly we move to build on that resource, starting today.”
Praxis Labs is a non-profit which describes itself as a “creative engine for redemptive entrepreneurship,” supporting those motivated by their faith to renew culture and love their neighbors. Archbishop Foley encourages all our church leaders to read this article from their Praxis Journal:
Leading Beyond the Blizzard: Why Every Organization is Now a Startup.