Leading during crisis situations requires special skills that are designed to deal successfully with the formidable challenges of difficult times. John Kenneth Galbraith stated: “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: It was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time.”
Our world faces crises on many fronts and is crying out for leaders who will rise up and provide clarity in the midst of uncertainty. Amid these difficult realities, the church is uniquely positioned to lead—you are being called upon to lead!
Nehemiah was serving the Persian Empire when he received word that his brothers and sisters were facing grave situations after their return to Jerusalem. His immediate response and subsequent actions were so remarkable that he is often used as an example of extraordinary leadership. Nehemiah’s leadership clearly demonstrated that he was all of the following:
- Sensitive: When Nehemiah heard about the condition of his countrymen, he wept. But his compassion produced action, not just sympathy. He displayed a shepherd’s heart and, instead of running away from the crisis, he engaged it.
- Spiritual: Nehemiah immediately began to repent and intercede when he heard the news from his homeland. He believed in the power of God to intervene, but he also knew that he had to make things right before God. No amount of human ingenuity can effect a lasting change apart from God’s blessing and anointing.
- Submitted: Nehemiah was not just a man “in authority”; he was also a man “under authority.” As a result, he was able to lead with great trust and confidence. Leaders who trust others will find that others also trust them.
- Strategic: Nehemiah saw the big picture; he designed the necessary steps with appropriate timing and accurate assessment. He successfully addressed the crisis with purpose, principles, process and people.
- Solution-oriented: Some people are pessimists, some are realists and some are optimists! But whatever your basic orientation, you can develop solution-oriented leadership skills. You can commit to finding the answers and resolving the issues.
We are all well aware that our nation faces enormous challenges at this time. The economy is in shambles, and we have a national debt of approximately $1.42 trillion. We live in a highly addicted culture, with easy access to whatever “fix” is in demand.
Further, the church faces unprecedented difficulties. A recent forum identified same-sex marriage and the undermining of belief in the divinity of Christ as the two most pressing issues in evangelical churches today. Interest in Christianity has waned in recent years, even though an interest in spiritual things has increased.
As we consider the issues before us, and search for ways to turn challenges into ministry opportunities, we must conduct an honest evaluation of how we “do church,” including the ways we steward people and resources.
Current fiscal realities demand ongoing evaluation of our practices and decisions in light of our mission. The median age of our senior pastors is increasing at a fast pace, and we must purposefully pursue the relevancy of our movement in the future.
Some ministries, especially on the global front, have experienced increase, but others have declined; we must deal with the lack of numerical growth in the U.S. As we remain committed to streamlining our central office structures and processes, we are equally committed to maximizing support in the field.
I hope you will commit with me to being relentless in our efforts to release the potential within our movement to reach the lost, train devoted followers of Christ, and send them to multiply churches and ministries.
Our mission is inscribed on the cornerstone of Angeles Temple: “Dedicated unto the cause of inter-denominational and worldwide evangelism.” We are stronger and more effective when we link arms—so let’s do it!
By: Glenn Burris Jr., interim president of The Foursquare Church