In his Podcast, Andy Stanley talks about leading your organization in uncertain times. The principles he puts out in this talk can also be applied to any disciple who is living in relationship with those who are not Christ-followers.
In these situations we have a duty to lead. It is our responsibility to show the ways in which being a follower of Christ can provide hope and strength when things get rocky.
1. Clarity of purpose: In a business context this would mean reminding your employees about the central issue — the main objective. By keeping their focus on the company objective the leader will minimize the effects of the storms brewing. In a personal context we as Christ-followers have to remain faithful and strong in our own lives. Paul told Timothy we have not been given a spirit of fear, but rather a spirit of power. John notes that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. Peter walked on water as long as he didn’t lose his focus on Christ. During a crisis the disciple of Christ should be the one who is strong and fearless.
2. Flexibility of Plans: The leader of a business or organization must always be ready to make adjustments in plans to meet changing conditions and circumstances. On a personal level we should live our lives with enough “margin” (again, Andy Stanley’s word) or “space” to be able to react in a crisis. Is there enough margin in your finances to be able to give generously when a crisis arises? Is your calendar such that a friend in crisis isn’t abandoned because your are too busy? Do you have enough emotional and spiritual margin to “hold up” in a crisis? Peter tells us to be ready at all times to give an answer for hope that lives in us — he wrote that to a church in crisis. Could he mean more than just words of defense and witness, but also actions showing Christ is our “Living Hope”?
3. Transparency: Stanley says that business and organizational leaders should be as open and honest as possible with their followers in times of crisis. Followers need to know that their leaders know there is a problem, and that they are working on it. As individuals we should exemplify the spirit of power mentioned earlier, but also be willing to admit when we don’t have all the answers. As a minister I have often been asked, “Why?” in troubling times. Not always have I had a clear answer. Job was faced with many “Why” questions, but when he faced God looking for answers he was given instead a list of questions designed to show how powerful and majestic God really is. When teaching the disciples to pray Jesus starts off with “hallowed be thy name” — an emphasis on who God is. As disciples we can admit to not always knowing the “why”, as long as we clearly know the “who”.
Is there someone in our circle of influence who is looking to your leadership when times are tough?