2020 will be recorded in the history books as a seismic moment in world events as the social, economic and political landscapes shifts rapidly, and who knows how lastingly, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite having watched the spread through China and into Europe and beyond, I and I think many others, were not fully prepared for how fast it was going to change our lives. Events and responses are shifting so quickly that advice and resources constantly need updating and were I to give you five top tips for leading during coronavirus’ I’d need to write five different ones after lunch.

This is a time of crisis that will have significant repercussions for many people, in loss of life, livelihood and liberty. Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). Right now, you may be in a time of weeping, as you see the consequences of a virus taking lives and spreading with rampant haste. We share in the grief and lament that millions across the world are experiencing.

As Christians we take a long view of history, it goes back to before the world was created in Genesis, and it will continue beyond the renewal of the world in Revelation. This present moment is only temporary, like trials and disasters that have gone before it. In the Bible, having faced great tragedy, Job reminded his friends of the thunder of [God’s] power” over all of creation (Job 26:5 – 13). Or in the words of the children’s song from VeggieTales, God is bigger than the bogeyman, he’s bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV”. God is bigger than COVID-19.

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Across the UK churches are responding to the emerging needs around us, from foodbanks facing unprecedented demand to shortage of resources and restrictions on operations. They are reorganising at lightning speed to serve those in greatest need. In communities neighbours are helping each other – at an appropriate social distance – and this week over half a million people volunteered to help the NHS

We have heard inspiring stories of churches serving communities. A colleague sent a story of an Italian atheist doctor who returned to Christ after watching a priest minister to dying patients. God is moving powerfully at this time, and we have a great opportunity to minister and witness to those around us. God does not like the coronavirus and the damage it is causing, and we should pray for it to end, but even in the most challenging of times we can see God at work.

This is a time of crisis that will have significant repercussions for many people, in loss of life, livelihood and liberty.

Supporting Christians on the frontlines

Our public leaders are right at the forefront of responding to this pandemic. On our Public Leader courses we have NHS strategists and GPs, disaster management staff and environmental policy workers, politicians and civil servants. They are under immense pressure and stress, responding to a situation that many of them, like us, could never have imagined. But they are also standing in the corridors of power, with unprecedented opportunities to listen to God’s voice and speak with those making world-changing decisions.

In our daily (virtual) team prayers, we pray for godly wisdom and insight for the politicians, NHS staff, scientists and others who are at the frontlines of fighting COVID-19. We pray for courage to speak with Spirit-filled conviction.

We also know business leaders, teachers and community leaders who have had to create a new way of doing their work overnight. For some, their frontline has suddenly become their front room. We are seeing leaders act with compassion for the wellbeing of the people they employ and serve relentlessly the vulnerable people who are now hidden out of sight in their homes. They are sacrificing their own health and resources in order to support those more at risk than themselves, in true Christ-like servant-heartedness.

And as we often say, public leaders aren’t just those with fancy titles and corner offices. Right now, there are many hidden heroes who are helping to ensure that we don’t fall into a complete state of chaos – transport workers who are enabling NHS staff to get where they need to go, supermarket stackers and Royal Mail staff getting essential supplies to those that need them, pharmacy workers providing life-saving prescriptions, and rubbish collectors keeping our streets clean. It has been reported that many of these people have limited access to sanitation supplies and protective gear.

Psalm 40 speaks of the mightiness of God, who is more powerful than any prince or nation – or any virus. It finishes with those mighty words of encouragement which I pray for all those leading their communities, organisations or churches during this time: Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Psalm 40: 30 – 31).

Let’s pray for our leaders.

  • We pray for creativity for all those having to throw out the rule book and re-invent the way they work. We ask for continuing resources and infrastructure to enable them to do their vital work.
  • We pray for the safety and good health of the hidden heroes who are keeping society running. And we give thanks for all those volunteering during this crisis to support those more vulnerable themselves, without looking for any reward.

Why don’t you send a message to any public leaders you know, to encourage and thank them for the work they are doing? And we would love to hear your story of coronavirus life, so that we can pray for you. You can email us at publicleadership@​eauk.​org or fill in this short form.