LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS
REV. JAY HANSON
John 14:27, “I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid.”
It’s five minutes before your worship service starts and the computer has crashed in the tech booth, you’re missing three key volunteers, a child in the nursery is having a parent-detachment meltdown, and you spilled coffee all over your shirt.
In ministry, just like in life, things always seem to go wrong in clusters. If it was just one of those issues, you could probably handle it without a problem. But these high pressure situations seem to always come in clusters of three, four, or five! There is no way we can possibly be prepared for every problem that comes our way, but by putting things into perspective, we can learn to respond peacefully instead of reacting to the pressure.
One of the most attractive qualities of a good leader is the ability to remain calm under pressure. When things go awry, when people disappoint, or when circumstances are beyond your control are great opportunities to choose peace under pressure. But when so many things go wrong, how can you choose peace in the midst of pressure? How do you prevent yourself from responding in anger and frustration? Below are a few strategies for responding peacefully.
1. Identify the Source of Peace
– In John 14:27, Jesus said that His peace is very different than the peace this world gives. Many leaders seek peace in cooperative volunteers, successful programs, and approval of others. God’s peace is much more than the absence of conflict, it’s joy and contentment that comes from knowing Him intimately and doing His will. God’s peace comes from a surrendered heart – completely given over to His will.
Find a verse you can use to help you stay peaceful under pressure. Memorize it and claim it in times of trouble to help you remember to respond in peace. Below are a few to get you started:
- Matthew 5:9
- John 16:33
- Philippians 4:6-7
- 2 Corinthians 13:11
- Mark 9:50
- James 3:18
2. Find Confidence in your Calling
– When and how were you called to ministry? Do you still feel called to be where you are today? When you’re certain of your call to ministry, it’s much easier to respond to controversy with peace. Take comfort in the fact that God has chosen you and will equip you for the task. Find confidence in knowing God anticipates your struggles and promises to be with you every step of the way.
3. Put Things in Perspective
– Don’t sweat the small stuff. Many times the circumstances that annoy us most don’t really matter in the long run. When things go wrong, evaluate the situation – does this affect the ultimate goal, vision, or direction of your church or ministry? If the situation does not have a lasting impact on the effectiveness of your ministry, respond with peace and let it go. Don’t allow minor irritants to steal your peace and hijack the effectiveness of your ministry. And if possible, use your chaos to help relate to others and put them at ease. Laugh at yourself and your situation!
4. Relationships over Tasks
– When struggles present themselves, remember that relationships are more important than tasks. The relationship you have with your volunteers, congregation, and those around you should take priority over the tasks that need to be done. When you respond to difficulty with harsh words and frustration, you threaten your relationships with the people around you. Your ministry is worthless if you lose the respect of people in the process.
5. Find a Way to Grow
– When under pressure, ask yourself if the situation is an obstacle to be overcome or an opportunity for growth. Learn a lesson from every struggle and turn each difficulty into an avenue for growth. What is a situation in your ministry that you often struggle with? What lesson might God want you to learn from this experience?
The next time you’re in a challenging situation, how will you choose to respond with peace under pressure? Your actions in that moment might speak volumes to the people around you about the grace and unconditional love of Christ.
Jay Hanson, Lead Pastor, and Anne Bosarge, Director of Discipleship, serve at The Chapel in Brunswick. They love sharing about the ways God is moving in their church. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for more information.