leadership, crisis & trust

Leading Through Crisis

Adam Tarnow
Adam Tarnow Director of College Ministry
John McGee
John McGee Director of re|engage and Marriage Ministries

Leading Through Crisis

In this episode of the Church Leadership Podcast, John McGee and Adam Tarnow sit down to talk about what it looks like to lead well through crisis.

Podcast Link

Introduction (1:19)

“Leaders exists because problems exist.” – John McGee

John McGee recounts a family trip to Piza and what about it went wrong. What could be simply interpreted as bad luck or a ruined vacation, can actually be an incredible blessing. John and his family might have lost all of their stuff but leading well in the midst of this crisis resulted in a better vacation than ever.

4 Principles for Leading Through Crisis

  • God Is in Control (8:28)
  • It Will All Work Out (12:15)
  • Don’t Turn On Each Other (15:19)
  • Take the Next Wise Step (17:55)

God Is in Control (8:28)

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” – Job 42:2

Remember that God did not cease to be in control. This is the simplest of truths but will often be the first thing forgotten. So, strive to not forget it. Remind yourself of this often. It is also important to note that Job 42:2 is Job’s affirmation at the end of the crisis. We cannot always wait till hardship has passed before we turn to truth. Affirming that God is in control even in the middle of crisis, is what can transform your outlook and ability to lead well. Remember Psalm 127:1. Your labor apart from the Lord will not get you anywhere. Trust in Him.


It Will All Work Out (12:15)

“Great leaders de-amplify stress and poor leaders amplify stress.” – John McGee.

Even if things seem bleak, know it might even work out better. This truth can be an amazing gift to give yourself and others. When crisis hits, stop and breath. The fact you still have breath is evidence that whatever problems you may have had previously, ultimately did work out. The same will be true of your present circumstance. Rarely will you feel like it will all work out in the midst of hardship. That is the reason you must continually remind yourself of these things. And don’t only remind yourself of these first two principles in crisis. Train yourselves to repeat these promises all the time. Remind yourself of them often.


Don’t Turn On Each Other (15:19)

“If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.” – Proverbs 29:12

As soon as we become stressed or are in crisis, our first reaction will often be to lash out or find someone else to blame. Don’t let this happen. Remember Proverbs 29:12. Encourage each other rather than spewing hate. Hardship will often forge relationships even stronger than before. Your attitude as the leader will influence those you are leading. Resist becoming accusatory or angry.


Take the Next Wise Step (17:55)

You don’t have to immediately figure out exactly how to resolve the crisis or fix the problem. We will often think about the end game and ignore our present reality. But, it is rarely possible to understand complex scenarios in the moment. Just focus on the next wisest thing to do. Then focus on the next thing. Then the next. We will find ourselves out of crisis, not by solving the whole equation, but tackling it bit by bit. It will always be a good idea to pray. Now are you hungry? Need some sleep? Take it one wise step at a time.


Wrapping Up (20:25)

Things will often work out better in the end. Generally, difficult situations are the beginning chapters of really good stories. So persevere. Leading others well through times of crisis strengthens God’s church and furthers His kingdom. Remember God isn’t stressed out by our problems. He’s in control and asking you to trust Him.


Application Questions

What is your first reaction when crisis hits?

Are you currently experiencing a crisis? If so, how are you leading in it?

Who do you look to in times of hardship?

What promises do you most need to remind yourself of?

Is there anyone you have turned against in a time of crisis?

What does your next wise step look like right now?


Questions or comments? Email clp@watermark.org