COVID-19 Pastor Update 11

Pastors & Leaderships,

Last week during my COVID-19 check-in meeting with denominational leaders, I was introduced to a “business world” acronym that some of you already know, but which I’ve found helpful as I think forward about continuing COVID-19 developments. The acronym, “VUCA,” is a tool that identifies factors effecting stress and challenge in strategic planning. Here’s a quick summary:

Volatility—the rate and speed of change at any given time;

Uncertainty—the lack of predictability and level of surprise concerning coming events;

Complexity—the number of interconnected and sometimes conflicting elements involved in decisions;

Ambiguity—the “fuzziness” of different interpretations of facts and situations that leads to confusion and disagreement.

The more these elements impact a decision, the more stressful and challenging that decision becomes. Given that, consider what we have been and continue to deal with as ministry leaders in the midst of the COVID-19 reality:

V-We’ve been forced to change much of what we knew as familiar about our church services and ministry processes just a few months ago.

U-It’s difficult to know what is going to happen with the virus, the economy, social interaction, and life patterns in general in the months to come.

C-Our decisions concerning closing, reopening, and sustaining our ministries involve everything from health considerations to finances to constitutional rights to missional impact to legal issues to programming preferences and more, all mutually interdependent.

A-The potential for disagreements over each person’s particular understanding of the “facts” of the COVID-19 situation is fertile ground for potential conflict and relational damage.

Roll those together, and is it any wonder that some of us might feel “stressed” as we move through this pandemic? May I suggest that none of us were trained or equipped to manage this. Instead, we are freshly invited to take our questions and our burdens to our Heavenly Father and place them in His inbox: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV). When it comes to dealing with the voices around us, grace is our call: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6, ESV). May God grant you His peace and His grace as you lead through this “VUCA-filled” time.

Jeff Kephart

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