Pre-pandemic, I wrote my article about recruiting lay leadership, “It Gets Harder Every Year.” And we thought we had problems then!
Here are some thoughts about recruitment during the pandemic and post-pandemic.
What we know:
People are staying home. Or, they are at least staying-in-place, which could mean with a relative or in a vacation home. Many people are not working. People who are working from home are enjoying more flexible schedules.
Children are not going to school and summer programs. Thus, parenting is 24/7. (The responsibility was always 24/7, but now those kids never seem to leave the house!)
People who have never been a part of a video conference call are now joining these calls. And liking it. Travel time is not an issue. Childcare is not an issue. And, time stewardship is often better on a call than a “real” meeting. Virtual calls can be more focused and shorter. Thus, virtual meeting attendance is better than meetings that require physical presence.
What we do not know is how these current situations will affect our churches and church’s ministries. However, I believe that this could be good news for those recruiting leadership for church programs and missions.
People say “no” because of the curse of awful meetings. If meetings are focused and brief, if meetings are easy and convenient to attend, if meetings can be done while I’m cooking dinner – sure, I’ll be there!
Another reason people say “no” is because they are overly burdened. The burden may be due to family commitments, job commitments, community volunteer commitments (including church!) and a variety of other ways that people are maxed out on their commitments of time. Commitment has often been measured by physical presence. Now, we are finding ways to meet many of those commitments “virtually” through a video conference call, by working from home, and even going back to the ancient technologies of a telephone call or a (gasp!) hand-written note expressing our love and concern.
Another burden these days is grief. When we are in grief – and who isn’t these days? – we often do not have the energy or creativity or enthusiasm to lead. There is no quick and easy solution for this, of course. Grief takes time, whether it is grief over the death of a loved one or grief over a job loss or not having a graduation service or canceling that long anticipated vacation trip. However, as we heal from grief, we can gain wisdom and compassion. Wisdom comes when we ponder what is most important and therefore how I am now willing to commit my time. We gain compassion for others now mired in grief, to give them time and space to experience the loss and to support them with kind words and actions.
We cannot know how long the pandemic will affect us or our church. However, this can be a period of wise reflection on the best use of our time and resources. This can be a time to gain empathy and compassion for the grieving and the needy. This can be a time when we learn how to be better stewards and to make better decisions – including when to say “no” and when to say “yes.”
These thoughts above are from Dr. Rick Jordan, our partner based out of Lewisville, North Carolina. He has been in various positions from the local church to state and national leadership roles.