How Can We Lead During A Pandemic?

todd shupe

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save” (Psalm 146 NIV).

I enjoy participating in several men’s groups throughout the week.  Before COVID-19 these groups would meet in person at a local church, restaurant, or somebody’s house and we would read and discuss Scripture or a devotional, share our concerns and prayer requests, and enjoy fellowship with each other. 

These meetings are now on Zoom.  Although I prefer in person meetings, I am grateful for these opportunities on Zoom to spend time with my friends.  One recurrent issue that I have encountered when talking with men in group meetings or one on one is – how am I supposed to lead during this pandemic? 

These men have long been the spiritual leader in their house.  Their family looks to them for advice, leadership, and direction.  These guys have embraced this role.  Now, they are uncertain how to lead.  Their questions are:  How can I lead if I don’t know where I am going?  How can I answer questions from my family if I don’t have any answers?  How can I project calmness when I am anxious and worried? 

To be honest, I have not had very good answers to these questions.  I have many of the same questions and more.  After much thought and prayer and talking with some close friends, I hope the following may be helpful to men that are struggling with this situation. 

 

It is ok to feel uneasy during these times. 

If the disciples were nervous during a storm on the Sea of Galilee, I think it is understandable for us to be a little uneasy in our storms of life.  I think many of us have a false perception of a man based on Hollywood.  I love movies that have a strong, silent man as the hero.  He might be a cowboy working alone on the range, the last gladiator, or a street savvy boxer, etc.  These men are tough and can handle anything that comes along by themselves.   These guys are physically strong and sometimes mentally strong but without the vertical and horizonal axes of the Cross, they are spiritually bankrupt.   The vertical axis represents our relationship with God, and the horizontal axis denotes our relationship with each other.

 

Your leadership is not based upon your ability.

As we learn more about Christ and grow closer to Him, we begin to desire more of the things that He does.  We can lead more like Him when we filter our decisions through His truth, which is the only truth.  Moses and the prophets of the Old Testament were selected by God to provide His leadership to the Jewish people.  Their leadership was good and pleasing to God based on one condition:  Did they listen to God and follow His direction.  Moses, Jacob, David and others were at times obedient to God and as such enjoyed His consolations.  At other times, they were rebellious and did not have His favor.  We can also provide good leadership to our families but can only do so if we are yoked and obedient to Christ.  The Bible is full of examples in which God uses an ordinary person to do the extraordinary.  Remember King David was the youngest of eight sons.  However, the Prophet Isaiah knew that, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit (Isaiah 11:1).  We don’t have any control over this pandemic, but we can take comfort in the assurance that God does.  We can lead our family in prayer to “cast all of our anxiety on Him” (1 Peter 5:7).

 

Diet and exercise are important.

Many self-help books talk about the need for proper diet and exercise to maintain good physical and mental health, particularly during times of adversity.  However, we tend to be less aware of the importance of diet and exercise for our spiritual health.  Our spiritual health is a manifestation of how we feed ourselves spiritually.  We can strengthen our spiritual health through prayer, study, fellowship with other Christians, service, tithing, witness, and other means of grace.  1 Peter 2:2 teaches, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”  We can model and gently encourage proper diet and exercise for our family.

God places others in your life.

Yes, God places other people in your lives.  We should all have a few close friends that we can turn to for good advice.  If you are blessed to have a wife, you can honor her by sharing your feelings and worries with her.  God will use her to speak truth to you just as He uses you to speak to her.  Listen carefully and with discernment, and you may be blessed to hear the still small Voice of God. 

 

Prayer:  We want to be good leaders during times of uncertainty.  We question our ability to lead when we don’t know where we are going.  Help us to realize that is far more comforting for us to know You rather than to know anything else.  We cast our anxiety upon you because we know you care for us.  Amen. 

 

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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