Leading through Covid

I’m delighted to share a guest post today from my friend, Courtney McBath, who is the Senior Pastor of Calvary Revival Church (CRC) in Norfolk, Virginia. He also serves as the leader and founder of Calvary Leadership Network, a group of pastors and leaders serving the church globally. He is a teacher, mentor, coach and a global pastor. In 1990 Courtney moved his family to Norfolk to start CRC which grew from 21 people to a membership of 7000 today.  

He’s a really smart guy who loves Jesus, his family, and pastors. He’s written a terrific new book called, 4C Leadership–Lessons Learned from the Covid Crisis. You can get it on Amazon or at his website. You’ll be blessed and challenged. So, let’s hear from Courtney.


Crises tend to be the training ground for leadership. Wars produce great presidents and prime ministers. Oppression becomes the breeding ground for liberators and activists. Troubled times seem to be the harvest season for greater leaders and leadership. 

This is not the least coincidental—adversity births greatness. People rise to their best when trouble comes; and as they arise, they begin to believe that anything is possible. The desperation produced by storms, disease, terrorism, war, and other tragedies produces leaders and leadership strategies. In times of peace—in the absence of traumatic circumstances—leadership principles are essential. But in times of adversity, these principles are beyond important: they carry life-and-death potential. 

As we globally face COVID-19, leaders and leadership are rising. We are understanding principles that we never realized—or at least ones we had not been forced to implement. At 60 years of age, I can say that I have never walked through anything like this. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were devastating, but they did not create shortage in medical supplies, sweeping international fear and death, ambivalence about food, and global lockdown. 

In 4C Leadership, I attempt to highlight the practical lessons that all of us are learning

Context becomes critical in crisis for a leader must know who he/she can lead, who is listening, and who might be willing to lend a hand. The book teaches you how to assess and leverage your context.

Collaboration is birthed by the shortages we hit during crisis. Leaders can unlock the potential of existing and new relationships that in one swoop can take you from loss to gain. 

Communication during extreme difficulty becomes a lifeline, not a performance. In crisis you discover that real communication is not speaking or writing well, it is effectively exchanging information within your context. 

Contingency thinking is no longer optional but required in crisis because inevitably the first plan won’t work. If you don’t have another plan, there is likely failure in your future!

The beauty of strategies born out of trouble is that application can always be found. Unfortunately, much of what we learn in peacetime just doesn’t apply in seasons of overwhelming adversity. The principles and strategies—the 4 Cs of leadership—that you learn here will not only give you tools to lead by, but they will remind you that, in the darkest times of your life, you learn what you could not learn otherwise. The book highlights the Chinese word for crisis, weyjin. This compound word literally means “danger and opportunity.” Crisis, while daunting and dangerous, can be harnessed for progress and opportunity. Fear will only see the danger, but faith will connect your opportunity!

I continue to pray for you as you navigate this season—that you will daily discern applications that are life-changing for you and for those you influence. That you will discern your Context, engage in Collaboration, enhance your Communication, and find options in Contingency thinking. 

–Courtney McBath

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