“No one person has all the knowledge or the complete skill set to manage the complexity and the relentlessness of a crisis.”
– from The Prepared Leader p. 54
I try to read and listen to a variety of topics. I’m a big fan of Brené Brown and her podcasts on
leadership (Dare to Lead) and on simply being more human (Unlocking Us). In my reading and
listening, I’m trying to center voices unlike my own. What does that mean? I try to listen to
voices that are not white middle-aged men. So I try to listen to and read the voices of women,
people of different ethnic backgrounds, and people who are not white. Why? Because there is so
much to learn when we listen to voices that are different than our own.
The quote above comes from a book that I heard about on one of Brené’s podcasts. The
authors are black women who both took over some high-profile roles in the midst of the
pandemic. Erika H. James is the dean of Wharton School, the first woman and the first person
of color to be appointed dean in Wharton’s 141-year history. Lynn Perry Wooten is the ninth
president of Simmons University and the first African American to lead the institution. (Both
author statements from the back of the book cover.)
I’m still working my way through this book but what I appreciate about their writing is the
acknowledgment that we need to learn from one crisis to be prepared for the next crisis. We
need to take the time to learn from COVID so that we are more resilient for the next crisis. We
need to gather this learning soon from the pandemic so that we can learn and grow for
whatever crisis may come. As I reflect on the pandemic, one area we could improve on as a
congregation is our communication with people who don’t have email and social media. It is
easy to take for granted that everyone just has one or both of those forms of communication.
But that isn’t true.
Hopefully, this one example may lead you to think of other examples. If something specific
comes to mind, please share those thoughts with the leadership of the congregation. Together
we can become more resilient, and we can honor this congregation that God has given us to
steward. We too can listen and learn from a diverse set of voices so that we build on the
foundation that God has made for us in Christ Jesus. Let us learn together.