Why Plan B Is Often Your Greatest Opportunity as a Leader

This is a guest post by Pete Wilson, author of the recently published Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would? Pete is one of the pastors of Cross Point Church, an active blogger and Twitter user.

If you’ve ever led anything you know Plan B is inevitable. Life doesn’t always unfold like we plan, and dreams have the tendency to shatter. As a leader you have to see this as an opportunity.A House That Is Partially Under Water - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jhorrocks, Image #874059

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jhorrocks

?On Sunday, May 2, 2010, the biggest flood in our state’s history hit Nashville. We received more rain on that single day than we’ve ever received in the entire month of May in recorded weather history.

It wasn’t long until our rivers and streams were leaving their banks and cutting a destructive path throughout the entire city. Sunday evening I started to see images on the television that took my breath away. It was clear hundreds of businesses and thousands of homes would be severely damaged if not destroyed.

I’ve always been a student of leadership. I’ve read leadership books since I was in college. I’ve attended leadership conferences for years. I’ve surrounded myself with great leaders who mentor me.

But nothing—I repeat, nothing—helps you grow in leadership more than being put in situations where other people are dependent on your leadership. There’s an Old English proverb that says, “A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.”

I had the wonderful and humbling experience during the Nashville flood of leading Cross Point Church to the front lines of flood relief here in Nashville. In doing so, there were several lessons about leading through crisis that will forever be burned into my memory.

While your organization may not currently be in crisis, it’s just a matter of time. Developing a plan for how you will respond is crucial. I honestly had rehearsed situations like this hundreds of times in my head.

I learned four leadership lessons from this crisis:

  1. Embrace crisis. The words of the local weatherman, “Folks prepare for what is now the 1,000 year flood,” will be locked into my memory for a lifetime. As I sat there paralyzed by his words and the images I was watching, I felt God whisper to me, “Pete, this is a once in a thousand year opportunity for Cross Point Church and the body of Christ in Nashville to step up and make a difference.”

    As leaders we have to realize that the crises our organizations face are actually opportunities. It’s an opportunity for change. It’s an opportunity to see whose really with you. It’s an opportunity for creativity to be birthed. Nearly every crisis contains within itself the seeds of opportunity.

    In Leadership Is an Art, Max DePree writes, “The leader’s first job is to define reality.” For some reason as leaders, we’re often tempted to think if we ignore the crisis it might just go away. However, denying reality has destroyed more leaders than incompetence ever could.

    Crisis is inevitable. So don’t fear it, run from it, or ignore it. Embrace it.

  2. Respond quickly. The Sunday night of the flood I instantly got on the phone with our Executive Director, Jenni Catron, and started to plan our response to the biggest crisis our city has had or will probably ever experience in the life of our church.

    Over the next week more than 2,000 volunteers from Cross Point would descend on our city in the name of Christ bringing hope, help, grace and love. We would tear out drywall, insulation, carpet and other flooring in an attempt to give homeowners a jump start on flood relief and would eventually save the homeowners of Nashville well over 3 million dollars in clean-up expenses.

    In crisis, people are waiting for a leader to step up and fearlessly face the challenge head on. Because we responded quickly in a matter of days we had churches and organizations from around the country sending us volunteers and funding to help continue our efforts.

  3. Invite collective wisdom. Here’s a little secret. When Jenni and I made the call and asked for volunteers to show up on Monday morning at 9:00am, we had no plan. I had never led flood relief. I didn’t know what tools we needed or how we would assimilate volunteers or how we would assign projects.

    Three days into our relief we had a highly effective system for our flood relief, but it didn’t start that way.

    I immediately got on the phone and talked with other leaders who had led through similar crises who gave me outstanding advice. I helped gather the brightest minds in our church organization so they could do what they do best.

    In a crisis, many leaders want to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. They go into isolation, and think they can solve all the problem themselves. A good dose of humility and collaboration will serve you well while leading through crisis.

    If you want solutions, you need to be quiet every chance you get. If you will stay quiet long enough, you will start to hear some creative brilliance rise to the top.

  4. Be willing to sacrifice first. Before asking others to sacrifice, first be willing to sacrifice yourself. If there are sacrifices to be made—and there will be—then leaders have to step up and make the greatest sacrifices themselves.

    Everyone is watching to see what the leaders do, especially in crisis. Will they stay true to their values? Will they look for an easy way out, or confront the crisis in a straightforward manner?

I still have so much to learn about the in’s and out’s of leadership, but what I’m sure of today more than ever before is that your leadership will not be defined by how you do when the sea is smooth; rather, it will be defined by how you respond when the waves are crashing in. Leading through your Plan B is not only inevitable, it is necessary.

Question: What lessons have you learned in a crisis?
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  • http://www.kristenethridge.com Kristen Ethridge

    Going through Hurricane Ike was an experience much like the Nashville flood. I’m working on a book about the life lessons God used a hurricane to teach me, in the hopes that these lessons can help others rebuild from
    life’s storms.

    One of these 10 lessons I learned was to respond in an unexpected way. We’re taught to have a plan, but sometimes deviating from what ‘the norm’ is allows you to find opportunities in the crisis. For example, we turned the mandatory evacuation into an opportunity to see friends and family. Instead of being a high-stress situation, we took the time to do some things we enjoyed. As small-business owners, we never got to take vacation. Ike gave us a chance. Sometimes you just have to throw the plan and the expectations out the window.

  • edelliott@gmail.com

    By trying to "lead," I learned that I am not a leader. One classic definition is that a leader, of course, is being followed by people. I learned that I am a visionary with bold ideas, but I seem incapable to persuade many to follow. So, I need to learn to find a "leader" of men who can recruit others to pursue some excellent ministry ideas.

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  • onedesertrose

    Back in 1993-94, several of us Christian moms wanted to put on a rally for the youth and parents based around 'Sex Has A Price Tag' by Pam Stenzel. It took cold-turkey phone calls to get a group organized. There were about 8 of us core workers, with many other women willing to knock on every Christian church we could find south of the River here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. After a year of planning, praying, preparing flyers, touching base with the pastors to get them involved, we found out that Pam, who was supposed to be there in person, cancelled on us. I knew that I knew that I knew that God wanted this video presented. So kept up with our plans, securing a 15' x 17' screen to show the video. We also had a video of an ultrasound and one other to impress these young adults and their parents that babies are babies at the moment of conception. Then the church we were going to hold the presentation in cancelled. Now there were three of the women who were bold prayer warriors, and through it all, we were able to use a high school gym. Only to find that they didn't let us in at the time arranged, so we scrambled to set everything up. This is my biggest God moment–people flowed out of the woodwork and set up chairs, organized the tables, the video, everything. The video was working right, but God supplied someone to work it out. By the time it was scheduled to start, it was a go. I have never before or since seen God work in a project. I had no organizational skills, yet He used all of us to reach out and made the Youth Rally a success. When we showed the ultrasound, you could hear a pin drop in the audience of around 800-900 people. Afterwards, we had books and ideas for parents and different books and ideas for the teens. The goal was to unite the young people to work with their parents in unity. It was a huge success. Praise be to God!

    1. Pray
    2. Plan
    3. Allow God to work out details when cancelled; just obey.

    I posted on FB via http://www.facebook.com/LAW51

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  • ScottMillz

    The key thing I have learned in a crisis is that without a team that is passionate about Jesus and the vision that you have for ministry it does not matter what happens. In leading a high school group it can be so easy to think that I need to prepare every little thing, but there are so many people that love Jesus and students and are desiring to just serve. Something as simple as delegating a person to go get marshmallows to make smores because I forgot just shows me even in a minor crisis the team you have around you is so important. No one person can accomplish everything God wants to do on this earth and see it more and more how important His body truly is.

  • Lesa

    A key lesson I have learned for leadership is that sometimes its good for followers to see that leaders make mistakes and are humans that have feelings too. I was leading a group of ROTC cadets at one time and I acted like I had everything together. Within two weeks my grandma died from a heart attack and then my aunt died of lung cancer. Instead of appearing human I went on as nothing happened. The cadets on the other hand knew what was going on in my life but the appearance and feelings I portrayed made them think I just was an uncaring person I guess. I learned that sometimes its okay to show others that you do have a sort of weaker side, a caring side, a compassionate side, and that you're not just a robot because you're a leader.

  • Mike Newman

    My lesson learned involves integrity and taking blows for the team. I am a middle manager and one of my staff is not well liked by the senior team. In an crisis moment that impacted our product, his name was raised and I took the easy out and let blame fall to him. I, unfortunately, took the road often travelled. In that heated moment, I saw an unpleasant side of me. Put your people first, take those blows!

  • Lyle Hutzell

    "Thanks for being a blessing." Lyle_Hutzell

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  • Jon Sampson

    Last year one of my troops lost his life in a car accident while on his way to work.  I had actually just been reassigned to another unit so I wasn’t working at the time.  My friend called me up and told me what happened, and asked if I could go to the hospital because almost everyone else he knew was working.  I was able to make it to the hospital, and was there for the friends and family as they arrived.

    My initial reaction in the days to follow was that I wanted to do something.  I wanted to organize the memorial, a prayer group, or anything else that I thought would help.  But there was already a tremendous amount of support and everything was taken care of very fast.  What I learned during all of this is that God doesn’t always call you to be a leader.  Sometimes it is more important to just be there, not necessarily to do something, but just to be there for your friends.  This can be as simple as mourning together, to calling people to check in on them in the weeks to follow.

  • Matthew

    I currently work at a place in the middle of a merger. The company I work for would be essentially dissolved and very few jobs would be kept. It became a fierce competition for jobs, where everyone quickly panicked and began to worry about their futures. I have 4 kids at home and a wife who just quit her job 3 months back to take care of those kids. I was sad, but God really put it on my heart to just care for the people that were losing their jobs. I found resources for people and helped them to establish relationships that would put them in a position to succeed. Most of the people I felt I was called to help were the ones that received jobs. It was God’s way of helping me not to worry in crisis and to just love other people in tough times. In the end, I received a job offer out of the blue as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hans.schiefelbein Hans Schiefelbein

    When I transitioned from a position of field work to office/bidding work, I realized my crew missed me and my presence on the job sites. I didn't allow enough time for them to take ownership over their work. And even when they did, it still means a lot for me to get in the trenches with them every once in awhile. They really need to know how much I care and that I'm not abandoning them but rather growing them into more responsibility and productivity.

  • http://theencouragers.wordpress.com/ Tom Billington

    This is a world class post. I have shared it with the entire Vestry at our church as an exemplar of leadership in crisis. Thanks, Michael, and thanks, Pete. If we each inserted our name, our church and our own city in this line, I believe we could provide life-changing encouragement and see Christ come alive: “Pete, this is a once in a thousand year opportunity for Cross Point Church and the body of Christ in Nashville to step up and make a difference.” Best.

    Tom

  • http://twitter.com/kevinowens4 @kevinowens4

    One lesson I have learned through crisis is this: Stick to the plan…until it's time to deviate from the plan. I have worked for large companies in the past that were so focused on the P&P manual that opportunities to really solve problems were missed. Crisis affords numerous opportunities to make critical and immediate decisions that, while possibly off the original plan, will make the response to the crisis even more effective. I am a believer in planning and I also believe that flexibility in crisis is a critical element to getting through it.

  • http://chinakat.theobloggers.com Katherine

    I have learned things about both leading in crises and being led…

    The first thing that comes to my mind was when I was 14, we learned that our youth minister was having an affair with a girl in our youth group, and he ended up divorcing his wife and 2 kids, and marrying her. He was released rather quickly from the church, and it was devastating to our church. Of course, the normal emotions of anger and hurt are instant. I remember, at 14, though, thinking that if we all stayed angry-satan would win and that is exactly what he wanted. I had to forgive him and continue praying for him, because I did still love him, just not his choice. I knew our youth group was falling apart when we needed to be coming together, and I, along with a few others chose to help us rally together and remember that our trust is in God, not a person. We were still a family and we needed to choose forgiveness, not bitterness. God would heal our wounds, we had to trust in Him. It was challenging and it took awhile, but after about 8 months-we were a healthy group again, and it taught me a lot. It was a definitely a turning point in my spiritual walk, leadership in our youth group, and I believe a part of what helped me later to be led to a call of youth ministry.

    Also…I left a job I had a few years back sooner than I had planned. It was a very frustrating situation and I knew I had to leave…but I had no idea what would happen next. The next 2 years were extremely frustrating as I searched and searched for a job to no avail. It seemed every door was closing and I often felt abandoned. I felt like all of my dreams and desires would not come true, and my debt for the 2 degrees I had pursued may never pay off. I kept seeking God's will, unsure if he even had any kind of plan for me…little did I know his plan A was to call me to China, which is where I now sit, as a missionary to these awesome people. I have learned that our plans are not always (or not often) God's plans…and His are definitely more trustworthy.

    These are lessons I am definitely still learning…

    In the midst of any crisis, we have to focus on Him and he will equip us with the skills we need or will bring people along that have them and can help. If He is our focus, then it won't matter what letter is attached to the plan, because His name will be glorified, and that IS our ultimate goal!!

    • http://chinakat.theobloggers.com Katherine

      I have also learned that humility, integrity, and a willingness to learn from mistakes are vital in leadership and in the midst of a crisis.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/tomraines tomraines

    What powerful lessons! I still am amazed at how God prepares us when we do not see what He sees. Pete wrote Plan B before the flood. God prepared Him to lead before the need arose. I have never printed a post to keep for future reference…this one is being printed. Thank you! What is God preparing each of us for today…I pray I am faithful so that I am prepared in the day of need to help God's people. Good stuff, thanks!

  • Susan Janos

    I asked the Lord what to do in crisis because my emotions would run wild when things happened out of my control. Here's what He said: 1. Immediately ASK Me what's going on. 2. LISTEN to what I say to you in your heart. 3. DO what I tell you to do. It's so simple and totally effective. Immediately your mind is set at ease; you have a plan for action; and you can comfort others knowing you heard from God.

  • http://Www.virgilgrant.com Virgil Grant

    The lesson that I have learned in a crisis is to be fully presence. The sheep is looking for the shepherd to lead and to provide comfort, hope, and encouragement during the crisis.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/kylajoyful kylajoyful

    Last week, I went into crisis mode. The amount of stress that I had put on myself wasn't going away, and I was at a point when I could not handle the stress any longer. I had a meeting coming up that I did not feel prepared for, an important meeting that needed to go well. So I began being honest about my stress with my close friends, and sought advice from a few people whom I know to be strong leaders. I asked for suggestions about the meeting so that I would feel more prepared, and then acted on those suggestions. The result: a successful meeting and a release of anxiety. I learned that I can still be a strong leader without having to do everything on my own. There are many who have great wisdom and support to offer. A leader can't lead without a good team.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/rc2k rc2k

    Things have not turned out quite the way I thought they would in my life. In my career, my marriage even with my children. Having a newborn with a rare tumor often stops you in your tracks and makes you question things like this. These paths that all lead us to His ultimate will and destination for our lives. The good news is that Plan B although not in in original view, or at times not even anything we would have prayed for, has already been planned out by our Father.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SynapticLight Phillip Gibb

    Lessons:
    Calm Down and take a breath.
    Be careful not to direct your frustrations or stress towards anyone.

  • http://fghart.wordpress.com Fran

    I would love to win a copy of Plan B!

    Two points I might add: 1) Never be afraid to admit you need to change course (as in "Oops! I thought the right answer was head left, now I see we need to head right") as the crisis shifts or as new information/ideas come to light and 2) follow-up on big meetings with small meetings and 1-on-1 discussions. Wash/Rinse/Repeat. I am able to pull ideas out of 1-on-1 interactions and openly explore possibilities that might help change the direction of the organization. Often people seem reluctant to bring up these ideas during the larger group meeting. During times of organizational crises the need to dynamically shift as the problems evolve requires lots of open communication. And recalibration and realignment.

    The timing of this post is excellent – my next staff meeting agenda is inspired by the ideas sparked here. Thanks, as always!

  • Christy-Lee

    You don't have to know it all, you don't have to do it all, but by stepping up and stepping out to offer relief you open the door for transformation. Crisis can change everything and everyone involved in a heartbeat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=556707653 Christy Bullard

    You don't have to know it all, you don't have to do it all, but by stepping up and stepping out to offer relief you open the door for transformation. Crisis can change everything and everyone involved in a heartbeat.

  • http://ingmariogalindo.blogspot.com/ ingmariogalindomx

    No hace mucho tiempo el techo de mi iglesia se desplomo a mitad de un servicio, fue triste.

    Pero la leccio que aprendi en esa crisis fue que por dificil que parezca (en algunos momentos)…. tenemos que CONFIAR en Dios, el tiene un plan mayor. “nosotros solo vemos tres sillas, el ve el estadio completo”

    Tres meses despues gracias a El, reconstruimos un mejor tempo (la iglesia se unio por la causa), fue hermoso.

    ///

    Not long ago the roof of my church fell down in the middle of a service…it was sad

    But he lesson that I have learned in that crisis is for difficult that seems (in some moments)….. we must TRUST in God(every moment), since he has a major plan.

    “We only see three chairs, HE sees the whole stadium”

    Three months later thanks to HIM we construct a better temple (the church joined for this cause) it was beautiful.

  • http://www.zakwhite.com Cadillaczak

    I was at a point in my life where i needed some serious focus and clarity. I was growing as a leader byp leaps and bounds…but overloading on leadership lessons. Then i heard general Tommy Franks break it all down for me. I was pushing so hard that the huge crisis of burnout was rit on the horizon for me. Here is what he said:

    Franks told us that he flunked out of school at UT in 1967. He then realized that he had two options: either wait to be drafted and go to Vietnam or enlist in the Army. Before he left for boot camp his father shared something with him; that he needed to be feisty. Then he shared this acronym:

    F – focus. Focus on what is important and STAY focused.
    E – energy. Bring every bit of energy that you possibly can to every situation.
    I – integrity. Your most important possession. Never compromise it.
    S – solve the problem. Don’t argue or make excuses. Solve the problem and get on with it.
    T – take the blame. Take it when no one else will. Accept responsibility. Be accountable.
    Y – Yes, I do windows. Never say, “That’s not my job.” Do whatever the boss asks you to do with enthusiasm.

    God, help me to remain feisty.

  • http://lunchboxsw.wordpress.com Aaron

    Christ is the center of it all. If Christ is not the method, the means, and the point of all we do we are not practicing Christian ministry.

  • Andrea

    The main "crisis" of my life was a pastoral leadership crisis where our pastor had an affair. I was only in grade 7 but this had a huge impact on my life. My dad was the other pastor and I learned a lot about integrity and being faithful. I also learned that a lot of people will use crises as scapegoats for issues that they are already struggling with, as if the crisis gives them an excuse for previous bad behaviour. I think I've become a stronger person in God's strength as a result.

  • Paul

    As life has progressed, my ability to form teams to handle tough assignments has grown. While I haven’t been close to perfect, I’ve always been proud to set a good example for family, friends and co-workers to follow.

    Two years ago, I faced simultaneous home and career crises which overwhelmed me. Instead of facing an overbearing manager head on, I locked myself in my office to avoid the confrontation. In the moment of clarity which followed, I realized that I needed to change course.

    After deeply assessing both situations, and concluding that neither was likely to change, I acted to end both relationships. I never expected to need a Plan B. I had been married for 30 years and in my 8th year with the company. It was a struggle which had to be worked through one item at a time.

    In retrospect, it was the right thing to do. A year later, I’m counting my blessings. Life is much less stressful and I’m much happier with my new employer.

    Admitting mistakes and taking responsibility gives you credibility as a leader. They mean nothing unless the necessary changes are made, and the appropriate actions are taken, to back those statements up. That is what earns respect from a team.

  • http://www.georgeprice.net George Price

    John Oswalt was my OT professor in Seminary. One day in class he said something that has been a powerful source of hope through my years of ministry.
    He said, “The Good News is not that God has a wonderful plan for your life, but that God has a wonderful plan for your life even when you mess up His wonderful plan for your life.”
    In ministry and leadership you will make mistakes. The assurance that God has a “Plan B” and “C, D, E, …” has kept me going many times.

  • http://www.DivineDetour.com Kathy Harris

    God’s plan is always better than our own — and sometimes our Plan B is actually His Plan A.

    I’ve seen that happen in my life many times. During a crisis situation, a grave family illness, or even the times when I thought I knew what was best, I’ve had to remind myself to ask for His Will, not mine. Then I step out on faith (sometimes wobbly faith), and He has always comes through.

  • http://www.sparkleofnature.com Peter Ahlstrom

    Shortly after my wife and I married, we were sitting in the morning service at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, FL. She turned to me and whispered, “I think God just spoke to me. Things will get rough, but we’re to stick together. God’s preparing us for a role.”

    And that happened. A long series of things we’d always thought only happened to others struck us, one after the other after the other. A few: She was fired for being sick, and later for being pregnant. We were all sickened for years the pesticide that kept fleas out of our Florida home. Government budget cuts caused over 3/4 of the workers at our defense plant, including me, to be laid off – just after the insurance company that protected our home mortgage against layoff had dropped all its Florida policies.

  • http://www.sparkleofnature.com Peter Ahlstrom (cont.)

    That layoff led to my whole family – including my wife and our two teenage children – living in a tent trailer for nearly six years. Later, my wife nearly died from toxic mold in an apartment we rented.

    We learned about “PLan B” from the inside. And through it God finally prodded me to “search the Scriptures” to learn what they said about what to do when Plan B happens – as individuals going through it, or as caring people or churches outside it. (You can see much of what I learned at our website, http://www.sparkleofnature.com.)

    There is much we can do well before “Plan B” events happen. Habits of giving we can set. “Help” plans our churches can follow. Through it all, Jesus says that “what you did to these my brothers…you did to me.”

  • http://sonnetbird.blogspot.com Ebony

    One of the greatest lessons in leadership I’ve learned to date occurred only a couple of weeks ago. A young boy from a military family on base drowned over the weekend. I had only been selected as President of the Women’s Ministry days before, but as the base began to stir with the news I was one who was looked to for direction in helping this young family – despite my very short history in this position. The lesson I learned that I’d like to share is this: when God places you in leadership you’d better be ready to act; the practice sessions have ended and it’s now time to BE the leader He’s been preparing and equipping you to be.

  • Joan

    Finally an explanation that gives hope to those who are continually in adversity… Thank you! I am absorbing and saturating my heart in these words! We are going to make it through, and find joy in this journey!

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  • http://awkwardchristianity.com Jonathan Romig

    Not my will
    My brother graduated Marine boot camp amid fanfare and a crowd of proud families. The new recruits stepped crisp, the Marine Band’s notes played triumphant, and the crowd’s heart beat fast. We stood, we clapped, and we swooned.
    The military sounded dangerous, but like more hair would grow on my chest when I signed on the dotted line. I knew they lived tough because they enlisted by swearing. My brother told me that swearing never stopped.
    That’s when asked God if I should join the military and fight for liberty and justice. I talked to a recruiter and he seemed to think so.
    I wanted to serve God and nation through manhood and leadership. I wanted my beliefs and convictions to move my feet to act. I asked God for guidance and wisdom and for Him to break my limbo. He did one day when I woke up ready but scared, fully aware I had to try or I would regret the lack of action.
    After I asked a few elderly church ladies to pray for my decision, I began to run and read military strategy. I was ready to become a superhero.
    I interviewed again with the Marine Captain in charge. He told me I was the ideal candidate. Not many recruits prepared themselves beforehand, studied as hard as I did in school, or knew as much about the military. I only had one little problem: allergies.
    The choice was simple. If I wanted the Marines, my allergies had to disappear for the medical exams. I was strong and agile and my allergies couldn’t hold me back. And with that decision and one simple memory laps my medical forms passed and I no longer had any type of allergies.
    That felt beautiful for about five minutes. On the day of the physical tests, my stomach curled up into knots and bricks. God pricked my conscious and reminded me how little lies grow into large lies. But all through the process, I ignored my conscience and said what I had to say to pass the medical exams. I wasn’t alone. Other recruits boasted in the waiting room but forgot in the exam room.
    The physical tests proved my military capabilities. The men peed in urine cups and stripped down into our boxers to walk around like ducks so the doctors could test our flexibility and bone structure. We touched our knees and elbows and toes and tried not to make duck noises because we heard the last recruit to make those got banned. I knew I was fit for Officer school when I saw the enlisted men’s man boobs. Theirs jiggled, but mine were firm.
    When I was about to take my seat in the lead Doctor’s office to swear all forms valid and true, I realized the one huge difference between me and the other recruits. The difference wasn’t in abs. The difference was in authority.
    They were enlisted. I was headed to Officer school. God and the United States would endow me with authority over them and already, at the very start of my career, I led myself dishonestly. How could I hope to lead others if I could not lead myself?
    I sat in the final waiting room, the last recruit in line, and prayed to God for forgiveness. God wanted me to join the military His way instead of my own. I had to obey.
    Several weeks later, after I sent sixty pages of medical records to the appeals committee, all with the hope this was not the end of the journey, I received a letter that old me it was. When all was said and done, I had peace. God blesses truth.
    Jesus was at the examination. He administered the real test. He knew my dilemma: the argument between white lie and noble right of passage, and yet, He wouldn’t let me go down a path not mine.
    He sat with me in the waiting room too. He debated through my prayers and when I got up and walked into the Senior Doctor’s office to confess my allergies, He joined me. Jesus sat beside me and took the Doctor’s reprimand and anger and frustration over my dishonesty. For just one moment, He leaned over and whispered in my ear.
    “Well done. I’ve got so much more for you.”
    “You better,” I whispered back.

  • Cool man123

    Knowing all things must move forward, I trust God. He can get you through any tough times.

  • Polly Scott

    I would be interested in reading his book on Plan B. Plan B's have worked well in my life. Better than the plans I had in the first place.

  • Joe Powell

    I am currently attending the Nashville cross-point church, and have been going since Easter of last year. I am trying to get a copy for my father who is very spiritual but not religious. His favorite book is illusions by Richard bach. Yesterday as I waited in the er at saint thomas I was reading the first few chapters of plan b, and when the Dr and nurse came in to evaluate why I was there, I was speechless…. And not because of the concussion from the attack at walmart… Being a renter I didn't think I qualified for fema, and since being bitten by spiders after the flood has affected my house Ive been to the er 4 times this past week. I would love to give my copy of Plan B to my father tomorrow as a late gift but feel bad because the church donated one to me yesterday. However, I feel he would greatly enjoy reading it, but I struggle with making ends meet much less food and electricity… I'm not asking for a charity donation, The church and recovery has taught me to get outside of myself by helping others, and I think this may be a step in which I can foster a greater richer more spiritual life… My email is joepowell82@gmail.com and phone is 6154847288 thank you, and god bless

  • Mike

    Heard Pete on "live with Georgine" today. Sounds like a great book. Love to win a copy.

  • Lynn

    Pete, you and the whole Cross Point staff were an inspiration in leading throughout this time. I am so blessed to have been able to serve alongside people with such a heart for service! I'm looking forward to doing more again this Saturday! Thanks for sharing your experience with us – sometimes we just expect you to know all the answers and this is a powerful reminder that no one knows it all!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=752352836 Chris Craig

    Giving my signed copy to a young woman who is in the middle of a Plan B crisis in her life. Would love if I could have another to replace it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000246766508 Betsy Hall

    i am fixing to enter a plan b life. (one of many i am sure that have occurred previously) but our girls are moving on. one to college and the other into an apt. wow. empty nester. not sure i knew i would have that title but looks like i have it. plus i am going back to work after 25 years of being blesssed — stay at home mom! wow…chchchchchanges (know that song!) okay would love the book.. my hubby and i would love to read it together! God is in charge, always has been. i need to give him the reigns of my life!

  • J C

    Hello, I believe most of my life has been living in "Plan B". Having come from an alcoholic home, abusive marriage and then living and raising 2 children on my own. It wasn't east but I know God had a plan for my life and I am a stronger person because of it. However, now that I am older and the way the economy is and losing jobs because there isn't enough work, as a lot of people have experienced, I feel myself living in Plan B again. But I know I will make it because God has always been faithful! He supplies my every need! My "Plan B's" have made me stronger. I heard you speak on a television station and heard about your book and just have to have it. So, I am requesting a copy and would appreciate it greatly that I may sharw it with others. God Bless!

  • http://stevenahill.com Steve Hill

    I had a similar experience right after the earthquake struck Haiti back in January. I had left Haiti a mere three days before the quake hit. My friends, family, and my church community all turned to me with questions about how to best help. I had only been in Haiti for a week, but fortunately had spent a great deal of time with a well-educated Haitian named Billy. He taught me how to understand the country's problems objectively and consequently I was able to provide helpful insight when it came to helping post-earthquake Haiti.

    You are right on the money about embracing crisis. We basically have two choices; act when there's so much opportunity or clam up and hide. I chose to act, and it taught me so much about myself, leadership, and God himself.

  • LeNah Klinger

    Can't wait to read "Plan B"!

  • Antoniette

    This reminder "also" reminds us to keep our lives free of clutter and confusion – which in turn keeps us able to respond more quickly and efficiently when things don't go as we originally planned. I believe God smiles when we plan ahead – and are flexible, and faithful enough to accept an outcome that perhaps was not "plan a."

  • http://twitter.com/ThomasTJTrent Thomas (TJ) Trent

    Like character, leadership, is forged in the fire!  Thanks Pete!!