God has always leveraged crisis moments.
Historically, God leveraged the Egyptian captivity to install a theocracy in the nation of Israel. God used the Babylonian exile to expedite Israel’s longing for the Messiah (and according to some historians, spark the synagogue worship system from which Jesus would later teach). And of course, God leveraged the greatest crisis in the history of mankind—the God-Man on the cross—for the salvation for sinners.
But while maximizing crisis for His purposes is nothing new for God, it may be for us as young adult leaders.
In this post, I share four thoughts for consideration as we’ve prepared for re-opening.
1. Pivot daringly.
Whether you’re a young adult leader who has wanted to have an on-campus presence at local universities or you’re a campus-based leader desiring a centralized gathering on the church property, this is your opportunity to draft a plan.
“But isn’t crisis the worst time to pivot?” It depends on the crisis, but it really depends on the leader’s ability to envision a better future.
If there’s a small or significant strategy change you’ve wanted to make, you may never have a better opportunity to do so. Be wise and draft a thoughtful proposal to your senior leader or elder board.
2. Accelerate key items.
Carey Nieuwhof has wisely said, “Crisis is an accelerator.”
If you’ve had a plan for months to make changes to your staff, your core leadership team, or your organizational goals – this may be the time to accelerate key items.
But how do you determine a key item? Key items are the moves that have been unaffected by the crisis. It’s something that would’ve eventually happened, crisis or not.
And remember, while most people don’t like the acceleration of plans, people can feel differently during a crisis.
3. Prepare for stages.
As you plan for the future, it may be helpful to prepare a strategy that allows for adjustable stages rather than one fixed ministry outlet. Multiple options are always better than one, right?
In my specific ministry context, I have drafted a system of ministry stages so that we’re able to adjust whether we have to meet online, in-person groups of 25, in-person groups of 100, or a hybrid.
This kind of planning will be more necessary for ministry contexts that are dependent on the re-opening of multiple contexts (i.e. church and university). This is also a great opportunity to develop our core leaders to think strategically with flexibility and conviction.
4. Streamline energy.
During this time, young adult ministries are thinking through multiple “must-dos.”
The temptation will be to create multiple different avenues of ministry during a time of constraint and limitation. But this may not be the best use of energy. It may limit momentum in every sphere and create frustration amongst leaders.
But what if rather than moving in 5 separate directions leaders thought strategically for ways to best streamline as many ministry items as possible to “kill as many birds with one stone”? For example, if there’s a way to transition incoming freshmen by transitioning new leaders to oversee their transition, that may be a wiser ministry move for all parties involved.
You don’t have to pretend to have it all figured it out.
Thankfully, our God does have it all figured out and He cares for our people infinitely more than we could ever. There will be things you and I will regret on the other side if we don’t step into them now. Let’s pray because it depends on Him and then let’s plan like it depends on us.
STEVE BANG LEE is a husband, father, and Pastor of College Ministry at Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Steve has ministered in Asian immigrant, Asian-American, and multi-ethnic church contexts and enjoys speaking, writing, strategizing, vision casting, and mobilizing teams.
Photo credit: Makarios Tang at https://unsplash.com/photos/lIWQbx3Lw8U