Chris Hodges, Lead Pastor, Church of the Highlands
Dino Rizzo, Executive Director, ARC
Leading with Calmness
How you see it is how you do it. Your perspective will determine your response to any crisis. If you see this crisis as an opportunity then you will lead people with hope. God does His best work in a crisis. Before this pandemic, people were self-sufficient. Now they are realizing they are not in control and need help. God can use that.
Communication During Crisis
The first thing to do in a crisis is to solidify communications flow. People do not need to know that you know everything. They just want to know that you are aware. Letting them know what you are doing next and what you don’t know yet will bring them security. You don’t want to communicate without anything to say. Take time to prepare for intentional communication. What do people need to hear?
Let people know ahead of time that you pan to take communion. Mention it on communication before the service, and mention it at the beginning of the service. Giving them a heads up will allow them to prepare for that moment. You can use what you have in your home. The elements themselves are not what is holy. It is remembering Christ’s sacrifice that is holy.
It helps to memorize 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 for when you practice communion. Talk about the body of the Lord. It is what he gave so we can be saved. We are not in a religion. We are in a relationship. Taking the body reminds us that we are Christians. The blood is where the power is. The blood is what he provides for us on the Cross.
Psalm 103 gives us the five-fold benefits of the Cross. They are salvation, healing, deliverance, transformation, and blessing.
- Salvation – If you are guilty or trapped in shame then you can be free. God forgives you of all sin.
- Healing – God heals every disease. This is not just physical sickness. It includes everywhere that you are dis-eased. It applies to emotional and mental healing as well.
- Deliverance – God redeems your life and gives you purpose. He pulls you out of the pit.
- Transformation – He puts a crown on your head. He gives you a new nature.
- Blessing – He satisfies your desires with good things.
Good Friday is about the Cross. This makes it a great time to take communion. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is our passover. Church of the Highlands will have a service that is 40 minutes. This experience will include worship, prayer, and have communion.
Easter is about the resurrection. We need to speak to people’s desperation, but also about hope. If God can raise Jesus from the dead, then wouldn’t He give us all good things (Romans 8:32)? Followers of Jesus were desparte after his death. In the middle of that despair the resurrection brought them hope. God’s solution has never been an earthly one; it is eternal. His plan is us in Heaven with Him.
With everything else changing, keeping things the same for your service presentation can help people feel like they are “back at church.” One tweak to consider making if to go ten minutes shorter than you normally would.
Keep it simple. Don’t ask people to do too much. If you give them too many things to engage they will end up not doing the most important things. If you take a yearly survey at Easter, then simplify it. If you ask people to share a hashtag then keep in mind what else you are asking them to do as well.
Let people know what their money is doing. Don’t just talk about what is not doing – the needs. Share the stories of their giving at work and how it is making a difference.
What we are going through should change us. If it doesn’t change you then you missed an opportunity to grow. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 shows us that something should change inside of in a crisis. 1. Humble ourselves 2. Pray 3. Seek his face (become more like Jesus) 4. Turn (make changes)
And finally, don’t do ministry alone. You may be going through a hard time, but you do not have to do it by yourself. We are all walking through this together. Make sure to reach out and connect when you have a need.