Monday, November 10, 2008

Lutheran Leadership 4: Leading during difficult times

Be clear who you are!!
Leading in difficult times is not easy. It can be hard to keep focussed on what your mission, purpose, values and goals are. There are many distractions and some of these are the result of either yourself or others in your organisation being anxious or panicking.
Matthew 16:21-28, Matthew 26:42, Matthew 26:47- 56 and Matthew 6:21

What do these verses say about acting in what appear to be difficult times?
How important is understanding what your purpose is?

Now what is your church’s or organisation’s mission, purpose, values and goals?
How well do you and each of the leaders know them?
Do they support them personally?

Does everyone treasure these as important, essential, if not why not?
If you are meeting together this is a good time to share them and be reminded of them.

Always consider God and others
When difficult times arise we often need help in making decisions that will sustain us and those we lead. In Exodus 28:15-30 God gave the Israelites a tool to help them in making decisions, a breastplate. There has been much speculation of what all the parts of this tool mean, however at the end of the reading we see what the purpose of the breastplate is, that every decision that Aaron the leader makes needs to remember the Lord and the Lord’s followers (the Israelites), especially their relationship with God. Have a look how Jesus says something similar Matthew 22:37-40.
Share what is involved in remembering God and others when making decisions.
What might this mean for us?
Now consider the decisions that we or you need to make.
How does remembering God and then His followers, especially their relationship with God affect these decisions?
Have you considered not just the immediate future, but also the long term?
How are our decisions reflecting God and his light into our organisation and the wider community?

How are they not?

Rely on the truth not assumptions
One of the major problems when difficult times occur is that people begin to assume things, and these assumptions often turn into gossip. This can even result in lies being spread as facts. And most of this gossip is nothing more than scare mongering, people wanting to build themselves up by putting others down.
The small catechism highlights that the bible says:
We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbour, betray them, slander them, or hurt their reputation, but we should defend them, speak well of them and explain everything in the kindest possible way.
Also read Proverbs 12:17-22, 1 Timothy 1:3-6, Proverbs 31:8-9, Mark 14:3-9, Ephesians 4:25, John 8:31-32
Are there beliefs or ideas that are not based on scripture or fact, but assumptions that you need to address?
Are there matters that have been brought to your attention as leaders that you need to check out?
What matters need to be checked out?
How do you discern what is correct and what is not?

What is the most important during difficult times?
Difficult times are not easy times, especially for a leader. However being focused on what is important will help.
Read Psalm 23, Matthew 24:36-51, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, Philippians 4:4-7; Romans 8:37-39.
During all times not just difficult times where should our focus be?
How is Jesus helpful during difficult times?
How does the focus that the above verses emphasis affect our decisions and life today?

Making disciples during difficult times
Read Matthew 28:16-20
What current difficulties are opportunities for us to bring the Good News of Jesus to people and help them become His disciples?

© 2008 Pastor Richard Schwedes, North Tasmania Lutheran Parish. Pastors and Christian congregations are free to use these to help leaders and others grow as leaders through bible studies or devotions. They are best used in group situations. If you wish to use them for another purpose or to publish them please contact Pastor Richard Schwedes (

No comments: