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Ignite Church  |  Greenville, NC  |  Non-Denominational  |  1,000-1,500

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Hope Fellowship  |  Maple Valley, WA  |  Baptist: SBC  |  350-500

The team DEVOURS everything Carey Nieuwhof writes! This post originally appeared here.

You need some good news—as a human and as a leader. We all do.

While 2020 was dominated by crisis, tragedy, division and disease (as this recap of the Top 10 posts of year shows), it wasn’t all bad news.

So here’s a post on 7 good things that came out of 2020, things you can easily carry into 2021.

I’d love for you share personal wins in the comments at the end of this post.

In the meantime, here are 7 good things you can carry into 2021.

1. Innovation Got Accelerated

From the very beginning of the pandemic you’ve known that crisis is an accelerator. A lot of trends (like working from home, online shopping and boosting your internet presence) that might have taken years to take place without a crisis accelerated overnight.

And along with it came innovation.

Disruption happens all the time, even without a global crisis.  Just ask the Kodak about camera phones and Instagram or music artists about Spotify and streaming.

With the move to streaming, video conferencing, distributed gatherings, micro-gatherings and organizations becoming location independent, there is likely more opportunity right now that there are obstacles.

If you’re open to change, so is everyone. COVID may have broken your model, but the innovation it demands can give new life to your mission.

If you’re looking for a framework that will help you embrace innovation, this will help.

2. People Rallied Around Small

Yes the big got bigger, but toward the end of 2020 there was a strong, people-fuelled rally around small. Small restaurants, shops and businesses.

And around local too.

Amazon’s algorithm may know you well, but it’s no substitute for the shop keeper, mechanic, grocer, restaurant owner or pastor who knows your name, your kids’ names and is invested directly in your community.

As intimidating as big might be, nobody should be able to out-local local organizations.

And for church leaders, just a reminder than nobody should be able to out-local the local church.

Your competitive advantage is not that you’re big and bullet proof, but that you’re human and you care. That still goes a long way.

3. The Resistance Around Change Crumbled

Change is always such a big leadership challenge. For years, my mantra has always been if you’re going to change, change big. (If you’re going to disrupt things, at least make it worth everyone’s stress.)

Of course that’s easier said than done, and most leaders struggle with change, as do even more of the people you lead.

But the good news about the current disruption is that everything broke, and now you only need to keep what’s still working.

You didn’t have to change. The pandemic did it for you.

On the other side, keep the things you would keep if you were starting over. Behave like a start up.

If people don’t like it, blame the pandemic.

Everything you wanted to change is suddenly changeable.

4. Justice Got Put Back On The National Agenda

The summer of 2020 was tragic for more than just COVID. The brutal death of George Floyd and many others brought racial injustice back to the forefront of the American and global consciousness.

As heartbreaking and cruel as those deaths were, some African American say they feel the most hope they’ve felt in their lifetime because of the conversations (and action) they sparked.

I was recently reading an account of Lyndon B. Johnson’s push to end segregation and Jim Crow laws in the US in the 1960s. It occurred to me (having been born in the 60s) that the world I was born into was only barely accepting of the fact that the colour of your skin shouldn’t be a barrier to use something as simple as a bathroom or drink from a water fountain. Almost everyone (I wish I could say everyone) would find that inconceivable and incomprehensible today. A mindset shifted in a cultural moment.

We’ve come a long way, and we have a long way to go.

While all the issues around race aren’t ‘solved’ by any stretch, I’m hoping and praying things will never quite be the same again. That justice is being advanced, and that what was acceptable in 2019 won’t be acceptable any longer in 2021 and beyond.

May it be so.

5. Many Leaders Focused On Giving, Not Getting

Almost everybody gives at Christmas or when there’s an acute crisis.

I’ve been encouraged, for example, by what Jud Wilhite and the crew at Central Church in Las Vegas Nevada have done, feeding over 700,000 people with over 8 million pounds of food in 2020.

In an era where virtual signalling is a thing, I’ve been encouraged to see what the Central crew has done all year long, when people are watching but mostly when people haven’t been.

If you need a little hope, watch this video and the stories.

And grab a tissue. I needed one.

As a company, we gave more than we ever have financially but also tried to give in other ways to leaders.

Over 12K people have taken my free How to Lead Through Crisis course (it’s still open and you’re invited), we did a free virtual summit, are currently giving away the 2021 Church Leader Tool Kit and doing a big Starbucks giveaway on social right now (follow along on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook).

If you’re going to err, err on the side of generosity.

6. The Hard Reset Ushered In Healthier Habits

Everybody’s life grinded to a halt in mid-March.

Yes, it created massive hardship, tension and tragically fuelled addictions in some people.

But my guess is that the hard reset ushered in some things you have come to appreciate too.

For example, a year without travel has turned out to be a gift. More time with my wife, with my family and more time to change my pace and enjoy the life I’ve been given.

I miss people, and moving forward I probably won’t travel at the level I used to so I can spend more time with the people around me.

Also was more active than I’ve ever been—cycling over 3K km (finally!) and taking up running.

If you look back over 2020, you probably have some refreshing family and personal rhythms you don’t want to quit either. So don’t.

7. People Valued Community Even More

One of the great ironies of 2020 is that you suddenly had time to gather with people—you just weren’t allowed to meet with them.

One of the deep appreciations I’ve had in 2020 is for family and friends that I now value more than ever.

Which also leads me to a key reason I want to travel less is because I want to hangout more with the people around me.

The daily FaceTimes and Zooms with people you care about will hopefully morph into longer meals, lingering nights and fun memories together.

For the church, community continues to evolve. It’s happening. It’s just happening less in a central facility than it was even a year ago—even for reopened churches.

When it comes to church, I hope it means you cling to the people who matter to you a little more tightly.

If one of your goals for the new year involves new ministry, it may be time to add another staff member to your team. We created to connect you with qualified candidates. You’ll save money (we’re much cheaper than the other guys!), we’re networked with ministry professionals in healthy churches (our team is made up of pastors and church planters), and your job posting will never expire until you fill the position. Find out more at