19th March 2020
Deb and I landed back in London on Friday morning after our recent three-and-a-half-week trip to southern Africa. It had felt increasingly strange being away from home as the Coronavirus crisis accelerated round the world, and we were glad to be back. I am sure you won’t be surprised to hear that it has been full on since our plane touched down.
We find ourselves in unprecedented times, the like of which has not been seen in this nation for several generations. Churches face particular challenges that could not have been imagined a few months ago. Here are a few thoughts I’ve had on how to lead in crisis:
1. Overcommunicate. Since we landed on Friday (and during the days before we left) I have been in constant contact with people through phone calls, WhatsApp and Zoom groups. The technology available to us these days is a massive blessing – let’s take advantage of it and maximise connection. Like many churches, our Sunday services will be online from now on, and we will be contacting everyone at King's with final details about this by the end of the week.
2. Keep it Simple. This is a situation which is developing rapidly. Focus on what the next step should be.
3. Make a Plan. Once the next step has been secured, stand back and consider the medium term. As we flew through the night last Thursday, I wrote a short paper for our elders, trustees and senior staff about the next six months at King’s, including the key principles we are going to adopt during this crisis season.
4. Rework the Financial Narrative. One area which needs immediate focus is the potential financial impact on the church. We are running a number of models. It’s important to keep an eye on cash flow.
5. Keep Calm and Trust God. I am expecting some demanding days ahead. Already at King’s, three of our pastors have had temperatures. A few days ago, I was told the 81-year-old grandfather of one of our core members had died from the virus. Behind every statistic on the news is a real person and a family coping with loss. We live in a rapidly changing world, but Jesus remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Though our circumstances may change, He is Lord and He reigns on high. We place our trust in One who is sovereign and who sees all things. Our confidence is in His provision.
You will find the latest information on how we are responding to the Coronavirus crisis at King's here.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.