What are the Biblical principles that will underpin your church or charity’s decision-making through this challenging time? In what ways might the challenges bring you closer to God and each other? In this article we think through some of these questions, as well as pointing you to substantial further guidance in the area of meeting and decision-making during the coronavirus crisis.
We recommend reading this article in conjunction with our accompanying advice note on when charity trustees can’t meet, and the up to date government advice for charities during COVID-19:
Seek wisdom with humility
This is perhaps an unprecedented time, in which huge amounts of guidance are being produced and sought in many walks of life. As your partners in the gospel, we want to support and guide you with high quality advice, hence our advice sheet linked to this article.
However, as much as we can support you, your own situation will always throw up unique challenges and questions you will have to wrestle with and decide upon.
The question is, do we struggle through this in our own strength and knowledge, or do we seek the Lord and submit ourselves to his guidance? In times of pressure it is often tempting to ‘just get on and do it’, or receive advice – from government, colleagues, even ourselves – without much reflection. Let us in these times remember that we have a God who is not simply wise beyond all understanding but loves to give wisdom to those who humbly ask for it. As James writes:
‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given to him’. (James 1:5)
It isn’t a fault to admit we don’t have all the answers. It’s a weakness of our age that we think we do. Let’s stand out from the crowd, acknowledge our need, and seek God’s wisdom with humility.
Lead with integrity
In 1 Timothy 3, Timothy calls being an ‘overseer’ of a church a ‘noble task’ and goes on in the following verses to describe the character requirements to occupy such a role.
It’s quite a list and might make many of us in leadership or trustee positions feel unqualified to occupy such posts. Yet, while remembering that God is fully aware of our imperfections, and gracious when we fail, these verses are also a reminder of the great responsibility to be ‘above reproach’ (v2) in such positions; in other words, to lead well and with godly integrity.
So, for meetings and decisions, we should:
- Check governing documents – these were created for the good of your church and organisation and it’s important to work within them as trustees or leaders
- Keep good documentation – especially at this time it’s really important to be clear and transparent in the discussions you are having and decisions you are making
- Communicate well – for your own board or team, it’s important everyone understands, agrees to or has the opportunity to discuss decisions being made
Make decisions sacrificially
There are likely to be difficult decisions ahead, and as well as wisdom and integrity we are going to need a sense of Christ’s sacrificial love if we are going to make them. These might be small sacrifices like making do with a crackly phone or video call rather than a face to face meeting, or it might be cancelling larger meetings or conferences. Making these decisions is so hard because it hurts those who have invested so much into them.
At such a time we need to remember Christ who came to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:28) and endured suffering so that many would be saved. We need to remember that we are shepherds and stewards, called to oversee the well-being of what has been entrusted to us as leaders, and that in this we will have to make hard decisions which may grieve people, including ourselves.
It’s possible that such sacrifices may even produce good things, such as time for you to rest, reflect on aspects of your walk with God, or work on projects you haven’t had time for yet. Pray that God will help you make the most of this time.
If we are seeking God’s wisdom, leading with integrity, and seeking to love those we have been given to care for, we can be assured that God – whose ways are beyond our understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9) – is working together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
Things will look different over the coming weeks and perhaps months, but God is unchanging in his faithfulness and love towards us, and in his purposes and plans for us.