5 Actionable Practices For Faith Communities In Challenging Times

By David Miron, Clergy & Congregation Care Coordinator

As I listen to messages from many corners of the church, I often sense that the words shared come from a place of fear or worry. Messages frequently seem to revolve around thoughts that life is hard, we are grieving, how to comfort one another, etc.

And while these statements may often be true, they tend to focus inward on the “me and us.”

The Gallup organization, however, suggests a more helpful focus.

Their work, based on solid data gathered from studies of many crisis situations, offers good guidance for religious communities even though the article’s primary focus is the business community.

What people need from leadership

In fact, Gallup identified through extensive research that there are four universal needs people are looking for from their leaders:

  • Trust
  • Compassion
  • Stability
  • Hope

In the article describing these needs, Gallup recommends finding out from employees (or congregants) how well leadership is doing during challenging seasons. They even offer questions built around five practices that promote choosing life.

Reflection questions for the congregation

Consider the following questions for you and your congregation to help with reflection and growth.

  • Has the congregation developed a clear plan of action in response to its current circumstances?
  • Are congregants prepared well for their roles (emphasizing clarifying expectations, reviewing resources needed, readjusting roles as needed)?
  • Are congregants well informed in relation to the current circumstances?
  • Do congregants know that they matter and are cared for?
  • Are persons in leadership reinforcing best practices for staying healthy through example, expectations, and accountability?

Closing thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic and other challenging situations can be frustrating – but they may also help us. For, in the midst of the hardships and grief, we often realize that as humans, we are all in this together.

And we remember that we are not alone; God is with us, helping us to endure and stand strong, day by day.


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