Updated: Mar 4
BY ARIELLE LAWSON | St. Pete UG Communications
A global pandemic, an increase in unemployment, injustice, the loss of loved ones. No one was prepared for the crisis that hit our lives last year, and many of us are still experiencing the effects today. In times of crisis, we are often lost on how to react, and as faith-based leaders, our communities often turn to us first in times of distress.
In Sept. 2020, Cision PR Newswire discovered that 58% of workers reported burnout, a 13% increase from the earlier days of the pandemic. There is no doubt missionary leaders experienced burnout also.
When everyone is experiencing a crisis, it can be quite overwhelming navigating how to take care of yourself and the communities you serve. However, we have developed seven helpful tips for your and your community during these unprecedented times.
#1 Create space for you and your community to grieve.
It’s impossible to prepare for a crisis, so when one hits, many are struck with shock and emotional pain. As a leader, it’s important to acknowledge what’s happening in both our personal lives and the lives of others. Take the time to process, reach out to those in your community, and actively practice empathy and transparency.
#2 Lead by example.
We all need support when a crisis comes our way. You can use this time to support those around you. Extend a helping hand by preparing a meal for a friend, giving someone a call, or donating funds or essential items to those in need. Ask your community what they are currently struggling with, and offer help in the areas that you can.
#3 Engage in scripture contextually.
Consuming scriptural text that relates to the current atmosphere of the world can be very helpful in times of high stress. Share scripture that you find uplifting with those in your community and encourage them to do the same. Together, you can support one another through biblical study. Find a study that fits your community’s needs or create your own reflection.
#4 Press into your own personal time to Sabbath before recommending it to others.
As a leader, it’s easy to focus on the needs of those around you and forget about your own. However, it is important to remember to care for yourself also. Be sure to establish healthy boundaries and spend alone time with God to nourish yourself with spiritual healing and rest.
#5 Be flexible and creative.
As mentioned before, it is hard to prepare for a crisis. Give yourself some leeway and don’t feel forced to adhere to a strict schedule at all times. It can be quite disappointing when things don’t go as planned, and this can take away from the true purpose of our work. Allow for flexibility in your schedule and engage in new ways of leading. Ask others for creative ideas you may be able to implement in your own leadership roles.
#6 Use grounding techniques to stabilize your leadership anxiety.
Acknowledge when you are feeling overwhelmed. Take the time to be alone and practice mindfulness. Notice and celebrate all that you are proud of and thankful for in your community.
#7 Release the pressure to be a perfect leader.
No one is perfect. Grant yourself grace and remember that you are doing the best you can. Establish your goals, track your progress, and celebrate both the small and big wins.
#8 Call on your community, using the opportunity to disciple others.
Encourage others to engage and serve with you. Speak out on injustice and don’t be afraid to lean on your community. Remember that there is strength in numbers.
At St. Pete Underground, we understand the pressures that come with being a leader during times of crisis. We hope these tips offered some insight and assistance. Remember that you always have the support of the Underground along the way!
Download our 8 Tips for Responding to Crisis below and check back here next week as we continue our March Resource Space blog series. You can find these tips available to download and other helpful resources we’ll be featuring on our website.