What is a crisis leader?
According to Elmer L. Towns, a crisis leader is one who “Rises to the challenge of the darkest hour and brings hope and enthusiasm to his followers to pay the price, endure the pain, and pass through the crisis to the victory side.”
A crisis leader does not allow the situation to control them – they rise above it. We become validated as effective crisis leaders, based only on the trial itself. When the dust settles, how did I, as a leader, perform under pressure?
We see leadership in crisis everywhere. Such as in the spiritually dysfunctional family, in a failing business venture or church endeavor, and in micro-decisions such as in personal finances or in relationships. At this moment, COVID-19 is one such crisis of global proportions. The church leader has every opportunity to exemplify extraordinary leadership to our communities during this time.
Responding Wisely as a Leader in Crisis?
The following was adapted from the book The Spiritually Healthy Church Leader, co-authored by Eugene T. Wilson and Matthew R. Mullins, which will be published in Spring 2021.
Making wise decisions is tough. In the Bible, Hezekiah teaches us about how to make wise, individual decisions as leaders. Elmer L. Towns, in Biblical Models for Leadership, developed what it takes to make decisions through crisis. This adapted and expanded, biblically based decision-making model can be used through every type of decision the wise leader faces:
1. Pray for wisdom where you lack it (James 1:5)
2. Read carefully God’s Word, as wisdom is a product of studying Scripture (Psalm 19:7)
3. Consult others to gain insights, and trust them with your problem (Prov. 19:20,21; 24:6-16).
4. Carefully evaluate and choose the best course of action (Prov. 14:15; 24:27).
5. Implement the best strategy by faith (Prov. 16:3).
6. Through the duration and thereafter, always give thanks and glory to God (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
7. Even though you are in a storm, continue focusing on making sound, wise decisions (Prov. 3:5-6).
Making wise, personal choices are essential to daily living. Leaders have the added responsibility of making personal decisions that impact others out of their own experiences, knowledge, and heart, and in directing others to make decisions too. The above decision-making model mirrors Hezekiah’s decisions as a leader, which impacted his entire nation for generations. A spiritually healthy leader should always attempt to work through this model when making decisions and in developing others to make their own.
As always, sharing some additional reading for your growth:
1. Moral Courage: Taking Action When Your Values Are Put to the Test by Rushworth M Kidder
2. Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life: From the Cross, for the World by Stephen J. Nichols
3. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
Matthew R. Mullins