Leading from the upper room!

Tuesday, 1 September 2020 Leading from the upper room! Mal Watts, SIM Australia’s National Director, reflects on the impacts of COVID-19 and working remotely during this past season.
 My morning commute is now reduced to the walk up our stairs and into the spare bedroom that looks out on our street and the bush valley below. As pleasant as the view is, I am very much a person who enjoys the interaction with others and, I miss leading while present with a team. So, it has been quite a change to sit alone each day in my upper room connected electronically to the world. It has really challenged me to think through how I lead and translate that into a different method and process for this time.
Some things I do have stayed the same, while others have had to adapt to this new format. In SIM Australia, we see people coming and going all the time and yet, now, everyone is in a holding pattern all around the world. There have been constant decisions and thought processes around how we need to respond and care for people in this pandemic. It was like a whole new job, and yet we had to keep working on other tasks as well. When conferences, meetings and events were cancelled, I really started to wonder what this time was going to look like. However, a number of these things have continued, all be it from the seclusion of my upper room. I guess that fact, being isolated, has often had me wondering: am I the only leader struggling with what to tackle next, how to connect with people and what is the best decision at this time? Yet, God has opened up opportunities to communicate with people I might not have otherwise met. Sitting in online forums, attending virtual conferences and going to SIMConnect on my laptop all from my upper room have been unique occasions created in this time. 
It is also very much the case that God can teach us something when we are both in a challenging place and when our routine has been changed. We can often think about that idea of the upper room as that quieter place, away from the hustle and bustle, where we can meet Jesus. Certainly, that was the experience of the disciples in that last supper, and in many ways, I have met Jesus in a new way while sitting and working in my upper room. I have been thinking about what it means to be a leader, in God’s work, as I have been reading through 1 Samuel. I really feel that God has been able to teach me about being obedient to Him and trusting Him completely in challenging situations. Particularly as I have seen the ministry of SIM not only continue, but develop out of this time of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
I look forward so much to being able to again commune with people at church and in our SIM office. I might not miss my time in this little upper room, but I will take with me the lessons that God has taught me from this place. Combining what I have learned now, with what we did before, to see people come to know Jesus around the world through cross-cultural mission service.  

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