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"One of the most important weapons we must have is perspective. How we see things determines how we do things," says Pastor Benny Ho. Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash.

“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. 

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15-17) 

The king of Aram was at war with Israel. Things were not going well for him at all. Whatever ambush he had set up against Israel failed miserably over and over again.

The intel that saved Israel came through the Prophet Elisha who received 100% accurate downloads from the One who knows all things and sees all things.

What we see affects how we feel. The servant saw the enemies. But Elisha saw the armies of God!

The king of Aram was angry. He sent a huge army to Dothan where Elisha was and surrounded the city. Can you imagine how furious the king must be to mobilise his forces to surround an entire city overnight just to seize one prophet?

The next morning, when Elisha’s servant saw the huge army with horses and chariots all around the city, his heart melted in fear! He rushed into the house shouting: “Oh no, my lord!  What shall we do?”

The man of God did not panic. Not at all! Instead he declared: “Don’t be afraid! Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

What we see affects how we feel. The servant saw the enemies. But Elisha saw the armies of God!

What the Prophet did next was interesting. Instead of giving the servant a pep-talk, a military plan, or a motivational speech, he spoke to God. Elisha prayed.    

What did he pray? “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” 

This is so critical because how we see things determines how we do things.

Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

This is an important lesson for leaders in a time of crisis.

How do we lead our people through COVID-19? 

One of the most important weapons we must have is perspective.

How we see things determines how we do things.  

We must lead with godly perspective. 

With self-isolation and social distancing happening globally, leaders can no longer lead through charisma or giftedness or strength of personality. 

This is the time for thought leadership with the mind of God.

This is the time for leaders to lead with discernment, clarity, wisdom and courage.

We must lead with godly perspective. 

What we see determines what we do.

How do we derive good perspective? 

1. Be committed to focus on people 

People are the core business of leadership.

People are the core business of leadership. People before programmes.

During a global health emergency like COVID-19, it is critical that leaders adopt a perspective of putting people first. 

We must prioritise their physical safety, emotional health and spiritual growth.

In short, people before programmes.

2. Be diligent to educate yourself 

Leaders need to understand what the real issues are. In order to lead with wisdom and discernment, we must be cognisant of what is going on. We must be well versed on the matters that matter. 

Before we circulate anything, we must filter the information through the biblical lens: Who God is and what God says.

Yet as we look for information to educate ourselves, we must make sure we go to the right sources.

This pandemic has generated a lot of noise in the media and online platforms. Not everything we hear and see can be trusted. Beware, every media outfit has its own bias. Politicians, too, have their own agenda. 

So, before we pass on what we heard or read, we should make it a point to verify the information. Consult official sources like the Communicable Disease Centre or the World Health Organization. 

And before we circulate anything, we must filter the information through the biblical lens: Who God is and what God says. Only then will we be able to help our people navigate this crisis wisely and fearlessly.  

3. Be sure to leverage on your team 

More than anything else, crisis has a way of strengthening camaraderie.

At a time like this, we need one another. This is a great opportunity for us to rally our teams and forge them into a lean, mean fighting machine.

This is the time to listen to one another, trust one another and collaborate with one another.

This is the time to listen to one another, trust one another and collaborate with one another.

As a team leader, I don’t have all the expertise. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know everything. I need my team members more than ever before.

I must let them know that. We must leverage our team’s skills and strengths. 

Like it or not, we will be severely tested. A key area is our ability to be flexible with our plans. Situations can change overnight. New restrictions come up faster than we can think. Whatever brilliant plans we make this week can become obsolete by next week.

If the team is not flexible and adaptable, we will end up at each other’s throats. We frustrate one another with our angst. 

So yes, we must plan. But we must hold on to our plans very loosely. When things change and our plans are rendered useless, have a good laugh. Get back to the drawing board. Start over.

If we are a closely-knit team, we will endure. We will overcome together!

4. Be deliberate in your communication 

Without physical face-to-face meetings, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the barrage of messages via email, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, and what have you.

The number of online meetings we have to conduct can wear us out. We can’t cope with the information overload. 

Without the physical gatherings in our weekend services and cell groups, there is a pent-up desire to communicate. And communicate we must. 

However, we must be more deliberate in our communications. It is not just about communicating more frequently, but communicating more wisely. 

It is critical for leaders to process information, formulate a communications plan, and act on it.

It is not just about communicating more frequently, but communicating more wisely. 

In a time of self-isolation and social distancing, people are not just looking for information, but they are looking for emotional connection. 

Having smaller meetings with our core leaders is a non-negotiable. It is more critical than just the online engagement we can do across a larger audience, our congregation. 

Of course, there is a place for inspiration and challenge to the masses. But ultimately, emotional connection can only be found in the gathering of the few. 

The right content communicated at the right time, in the right amount, and for the right purpose will help us lead our people well through this crisis.

5. Be authentic in your leadership 

We have never faced a COVID-19 pandemic before. So we are all learners in this journey of what it means to lead our people. It is important to be authentic.

In a crisis of this scale with its many unknowns, we must resolve to be totally honest with our people.

Tell them what we know and what we don’t know. Own up to the fact that we don’t know what to do. It is foolish to pretend and we end up having to retract the embarrassing gaffes later. 

In a crisis of this scale with its many unknowns, we must resolve to be totally honest with our people.

People are looking for authentic leaders they can trust in a time of crisis. They can see through the fog if we mean what we say and say what we mean.

We lead the people by first leading ourselves. We must do what we tell our people to do including pray constantly, wash our hands regularly, and maintain social distancing responsibly. 

They must be able to see that we are consistent and authentic. Our words, actions and decisions are all very telling.

6. Be looking for open doors to reach the lost 

One final perspective we desperately need is to rise above the crisis. See beyond the gloom and doom. Spot the divine open doors to reach the lost.

Are there opportunities to teach our people not just to love ourselves and our church, but to love the community and to serve our city? 

Like what has been done when some Singapore churches rallied to house Malaysians who had to cross the borders overnight so they can continue to work in Singapore to support their families. 

There are churches in Australia who are doing grocery shopping for the elderly to minimise their exposure to risk. There are individual Christians who are befriending their neighbours to offer help. Do they need toilet rolls? A meal? A prayer? 

The most important thing the leader can do is to turn the eyes of our people to God. 

There are helplines starting in local churches everywhere to offer a listening ear and a loving prayer. What a wonderful way to connect with the community heart-to-heart!

There are fresh prayer initiatives that are shifting the spiritual atmosphere over cities and nations. Christians are also forwarding their church livestream links to pre-believers so that these precious souls may hear a voice of hope in this time of fear and despair. Prayer coupled with the sharing of the Gospel will surely plunder hell and populate heaven!

This is a time for leaders to lead the charge in spotting open doors to get the Word of Life into our city. This is the time to take what the devil has meant for harm and turn it around for God’s redemptive purpose! 

Let me end by bringing our minds back to 2 Kings 6: 15 – 17. 

The thing that struck me in this whole narrative is that Elisha brought encouragement to his servant not by nice words or ego-strokes, but by asking God to give him the right perspective. “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” 

Indeed, true encouragement comes when our eyes are lifted to see God! 

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the most important thing the leader can do is to turn the eyes of our people to God. 

He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith.  He is the Answer to our every need. 

He is the perspective we need to lead our people through this crisis. 

Amen.

About the author

Pastor Benny Ho

Pastor Benny Ho is the Senior Pastor of Faith Community Church in Perth, Western Australia. He founded Arrows College and Arrows Resources, a teaching ministry to equip and disciple the nations, and is also the Mentor-Leader of a group of D-Net churches.