Leadership is a funny thing. Often it requires little more than looking at a situation from a different angle. Good leaders do this well.
When dealing with “crisis” moments we can either let them beat us up, or we can mine them for the gems hidden within. Leaders act. Others react. If you take control in the crisis you set yourself apart as a leader.
Find the Benefits
Most of our crises hold potential benefits. To find them, we just need to look a little harder than everyone else…
I spent an hour talking with a young pastor this morning. His church just lost their lease on a movie theater. The need to get out very quickly. Coincidentally they found a bargain on a building in the small town where they worship. The crisis of the move creates a fund-raising opportunity. People give more generously when faced with a common threat.
But that isn’t what bothered my friend. His problem is that he must organize a hasty move into a public school. He was worried about building teams to set everything in place for portable church services.
This is a minor crisis. Panic is a common reaction. But, it conceals an opportunity.
When Pulpit Announcements Actually Work
You can plea from the pulpit for help and normally see very little response from your people. Under normal circumstances, face-to-face recruiting works best. But inject a little crisis and your members will respond to a general call for assistance. So far so good.
But crises change people. When threatened, people usually rise to the emergency. Be it a flood, a power outage or an automobile accident, bystanders get involved. In church, this means that folks who normally qualify as spectators will rise to the occasion. Wise leadership finds ways to hang onto these new volunteers after the crisis passes. My point is that the difficulty helps identify people who may have resisted serving in the past.
I’ve been at this for a long time. We’ve been forced to clear out of a building with short notice. A power outage twice left us worshipping in the dark. Part of the roof of our converted bowling alley, in California, collapsed during a rainstorm while we held service. Several times we constructed buildings with volunteer labor (an intended crisis that brought loads of new volunteers to our team). Whenever we plant a church we create two crises: A. Lots of vacancies in the mother church. B. Tons of things to learn and do in the church plant. We even found a way to turn potential church splits into healthy church plants (refuse to fight and keep loving them).
Find a Need and Fill It
My young friend came into the conversation burdened by a perceived need to build a team that could cover every detail. He left determined to gather just a few leaders. He will assign each oversight of a portion of the job. After that, they will be on their own to work with whoever responds to the call from the pulpit. Of course, they will also recruit people personally. A lot of what they will do is challenge people to “find a need and fill it.”
Chaos will visit this church for a few weeks. But a wise leader finds opportunity in chaos! Think of this—many people got rich by betting against the stock market in 2000 and 2007. They acted while others reacted.
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