Up until the late 1600’s naturalists assumed that all swans were white. However, in 1697 the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlaminck discovered black swans in Australia. This unexpected event upended assumed paradigms and profoundly changed zoology.
Today, our English vocabulary has co-opted this to coin the phrase, ‘black swan event’ where something very unexpected happens that has huge ramifications. One can imagine how the terrorist’s attacks of 9/11/01 were a ‘black swan event.’ It would also seem that the Covid-19 pandemic is another one.
These events are unprecedented and human wisdom fails to be able to adequately address them because worldly wisdom is founded upon previous experience. When there is no prior experience to fall back upon (unprecedented), at best we draw from parallel experiences or insights to deal with a completely new situation.
But Kingdom leaders have a second and more reliable source of wisdom for leading in turbulent times – wisdom that comes from above, godly wisdom. Young and old alike may posses God’s wisdom, for it is a gift. James 1:5 promises that those who ask for it will receive it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (ESV) We desperately need this kind of wisdom now!
With the traditional forms of ministry being taken away (i.e. group gatherings large and small), new virtual gatherings (think online video conferences) are rapidly becoming the norm. Life-to-life discipling still continues but we now connect via our computer or phone screens instead of in person. The old mantra of ‘form follows function’ is proving true as new ministry forms are being adopted and adapted to meet our functional needs. It’s a very new day!
As our old ways are swept away by the raging torrent of rapidly changing events around us, we must look to Him for help and the ability to meet the demands of our new situation. These events have not taken Him by surprise. In fact, He is orchestrating all for His good purposes and for the advancement of the Kingdom among the peoples of the world.
The headlines and news leads shout woe and sadness. But God’s work is often unseen and quiet in the midst of the storm. We must keep our eyes steadfastly on Him as we navigate the storm.
… And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith… Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV