One of the realities of the coronavirus situation is that ministry has become far more complex and complicated. Our traditional ministry paradigms have vanished for this season. We don't see people we normally see on a regular basis, it requires far more effort to stay connected with constituents and all of that is complicated by staff who are working at home in many cases.
Supervisors and leaders need to consider these factors as they lead in this complicated environment.
1. You may need to change your ministry priorities. Extraordinary times often require extraordinary responses. What was important two weeks ago may not be important in this season. Establish your very top priorities and ask how you can engage your staff to meet the need. Don't simply try to do everything you were doing without asking whether it is ministry critical in this environment.
2. You may need to change what some staff are doing. In this season, department distinctions and job descriptions are secondary to accomplishing the highest priorities of the ministry. For instance, if you determine that all folks 65 or older need a personal call to check on their welfare, you may need to reasign people from other departments to help you. Production teams may well need additional help as they work overtime to ensure that the online experience is all that it can be. Consider telling your staff that during this time they may well be asked to help with something that is outside of their normal purview. This is a good time to break down departmental barriers.
3. It is wise to stay in close touch with your staff or supervisors. Not everyone will easily transition from what they were doing to what they need to do now. Ensure that your supervisors are fully in line with what the church needs in this season and ensure that they are not only communicating the same to their staff but are helping their staff figure out what the need to be doing in this time. Some staff will easily adjust, some will feel like the world has gone from order to chaos and will need help.
4. Give staff clear expectations of what you expect in this season. Those who are working from home need to understand that this is not a vacation but that their work venue has changed. If anything, you need their involvement to increase rather than decrease. Clarity around expectations is crucial. That includes staying safe!
5. Ask staff to find ways to involve their volunteers. My belief is that volunteers are staff. They want to be involved which is why they volunteer in the first place. Ask what role they can play in the current environment and deploy them.
6. Remember that your staff have the same fears and concerns of others. They need encouragement, reassurance, extra emotional support and reminders that Jesus has this! We owe it to minister to them even as we minister to the congregation. Their spiritual temperature, faith and well being will spill over to the congregation at large.
7. Learn from what other ministries are doing. Everyone is trying to figure this out and we can cut our own learning curve by taking best practices from others and applying them to your own context. Large churches often can lead the way because they have the technology and staff to make it happen. Grab some ideas but don't think you need to match their standards. They have people.
These are complicated time. Don't continue as is but lead well in a changed environment.