8 Markers of Church Leaders Leading Well during COVID-19

I’ve done ministry in local churches and seminaries long enough now that I’m privileged to know a lot of church pastors and leaders. I continually watch and learn from many of them. In this current pandemic, here are some characteristics of leaders who seem to be leading well: 

  1. They reacted quickly to the COVID-19 crisis, and they even more quickly began to lead proactively. All of us had to react quickly (almost overnight, it seems) when this crisis began. These pastors, though, spent very little time only reacting. Instead, they’ve taken the initiative now to prepare their church for future days when we can gather again.
  2. They see this crisis as an opportunity, but they’re wise in how they lead through it. It would be easy to get frustrated and defeated given all that we’re facing these days, but these leaders refuse to go in that direction. Nor are they pushing for radical change just because they can right now. They recognize their responsibility to lead their church with faith and wisdom.
  3. They admit their need for God even as they work hard to lead their church. In some cases, they’re busier than they’ve been in some time—but they also recognize the necessity of prayer in leading the church through this situation. More than one honest pastor have admitted that this crisis has forced them to strengthen their prayer life.
  4. They push their church to think about the community around them even during a time of social distancing. I’ve been amazed to watch churches that had turned inwardly now reverse their focus when needs in their community become apparent. Their pastors are taking the lead to make sure their congregation knows those needs. And, these leaders are committed to considering the needs and safety of the community as their congregations regather.
  5. They’re both persistent and patient. They know they must lead forward, but they’re not rushing in an unwise way to get things back to normal. They are doing their homework as they prepare their congregations to gather again—because they want to make sure they do it well.
  6. They are effectively leading staff and laity to meet more often through electronic means. To be honest, many of us are growing weary with meetings. On the other hand, these pastors are using meetings wisely. Their meetings are concise and clear, encouraging and equipping, purposeful and productive.
  7. They’re willing to share what they’re learning and planning. Turfism loses its power when we’re all facing the same stuff. The pastors I know who are leading well through this crisis are readily and willingly helping other pastors and church leaders.
  8. They’re passionate about the invincibility of God’s church. They really do believe that the gates of hades cannot overpower it (Matt 16:18) – and they’re leading their churches to cling to that word.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – what are you seeing leaders do well? 


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