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://carolinamama1.blogspot.com CarolinaMama

    Pete, thanks for sharing this! We are praying for you all in this. God bless!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/johndobbs J D

    During Hurricane Katrina the town I lived in (Pascagoula, MS) was nearly destroyed. I didn't know what we were going to do as a family … or as a church. Suddenly supplies started rolling in …and I had no idea what the next two years would bring. There were a lot of inspirational/troubling/amazing moments … but I remember one lady who said, "Can I just tell you what happened to me? Nobody wants to hear my story." So I sat down and we both cried while she told me. I didn't do anything for her, but maybe we both did something for each other. It was a very God moment.

    • http://www.aworshipfulheart.typepad.com Jan Owen

      After going through an intense crisis at our church that involved the suicide of a dear friend, I was diagnosed with PTSD. One of the things I learned through that is that in order to heal people must tell their stories. Over and over. The problem is not many can find someone who will listen. Counselors say that each time we tell it, we process and heal a little more. When someone has gone through a horrible crisis, the best gift we may be able to give is simply to say "tell me about it" and then shut up and listen. What a wonderful blessing for this woman your presence was!

      • http://johndobbs.com John Dobbs

        Thank you Jan. I talk often about our son John Robert, who died in May of 2008. I do believe it encourages healing and acceptance. Thanks for your insight.

    • http://chinakat.theobloggers.com Katherine

      I was thinking about you, John while reading this post. I am glad you replied!! John definitely deserves this book! :)

      • http://johndobbs.com John Dobbs

        Thanks Katherine. Love ya!

        • http://chinakat.theobloggers.com Katherine

          You bet!! Love you, too brother!!

  • http://bwebbjr.xanga.com/ Bernie Webb

    The key crisis leadership lesson I have learned is don't wait until everything else has failed before turning to Jesus … bring your crisis to Jesus from the get-go. After all, Jesus said, 'Apart from me you can do nothing'.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      So true. There is a direct correlation between crisis and transformation in our lives. God truly forms and shapes us during these crisis.

  • http://www.burnyourgraveclothes.com chriswhill

    In high school, I had planned on being a camp counselor and had big plans for God to use me to lead younger students to Christ at the camp. (First mistake, “I had plans”.)

    My grades were low that year and my mom made me attend summer school in order to raise my GPA. I didn’t understand why she would make me do something like that and take away my opportunity to do what I thought I was called to do.

    It was a crisis to me at the time. Little did I know what plans God had for me that summer. He placed me in a classroom full of unbelieving peers and I had an even greater opportunity to share the Gospel with them than I would have at the camp.

    That lesson has stuck with me ever since. I always go back to that lesson when I’m comparing “my plan” against “God’s plan”.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      I've learned it's OK to have plans Chris. I just need to hold them gently in my hands and be willing to let go of my plans to receive the life God has authored for me.

  • Michael Davis

    Looking forward to Pete's book, love listening to his podcast and reading his blogs

  • http://jackalopekid.com Adam Smith

    Been wanting to read this. Thanks for the chance to win it!

  • http://www.powerfeedback.com Scott Gingold

    One of the greatest leadership lessons I learned along my journey was being able to defer to others. In other words even if I had the highest title or position, that didn't always mean that I had the best ideas and strategies for EVERY situation. Being able to quickly collect, and even more quickly process all of the ideas offered is key. I also found that you must set some time limits on this if you are indeed going to manage a crisis effectively.

  • http://www.everythingetsy.com Kim @ Everything Etsy

    I’ve learned how to stick to something! We are working on our plan B right now. :)

    Thanks for the great blog! I enjoy reading it.


  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/jmosier Joel Mosier

    I love the point that crisis is an opportunity to show Christ. It's not what we had hoped for or even planned for, but it was/is God's plan to show Christ.

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

    The first night I was at boot camp for ROTC one of the cadet's barracks had a sewer back-up. We are talking human waste all over the first floor of the building about 3 inches deep. It was a mess.

    The commanding officer of the camp had the rank of Colonel, an O-6. The Colonel basically barred the enlisted folks from helping clean up the mess and recruited the camp's other officers to help him shovel out the dorm. I learned profoundly never to ask anyone to do a task that you would be unwilling to do yourself if you wanted to have credibility as a leader. No one would have blamed the Colonel if he wanted to oversee the work. The fact that he picked up a shovel is one of my most poignant lessons in leadership ever.

    It also challenged me to think about what I may be called to do as a leader and to not see myself as somehow being above dealing with sewage of all kinds.

    • Michelle

      That is one thing I do at work – not shovel sewage, but don't ask anyone else to do something I wouldn't.

  • http://www.allsaintsbn.org Holly Schurter

    I believe nothing diminishes our ability to lead as much as having a complaining, worried heart. The discipline of a heart committed to offering God praise and thanksgiving in all things is also a discipline that prepares us to lead in a crisis, because it teaches us to trust God in all things.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      So true Holly.

  • Dan Brubacher

    Early on in my time at my previous church, we faced a significant challenge to some important proposed changes from an anonymous critic. He used an email campaign to tear down our leadership group and raise ridiculous doubts in the minds of some of our people. I learned what it means to “stay the course” and lead in the face of ungodly opposition. As a mid-20s associate pastor, it was a huge lesson. God graciously allowed us to move forward with widespread agreement as a congregation. In fact, in his grace, God used the unsubstantiated opposition to rally our church around the change in a greater way than if there had been no controversy. I also learned that God is able in any situation (see Isaiah 59:1). These lessons have served we well over the past decade of pastoral ministry and will into the future.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/kmueller62 kmueller62

    The past few years have been filled with "Plan B"s. The loss of several jobs and the ensuing financial crises have taken a toll on our family, but we've hung in there. Last year when my full-time marketing job was cut back to part-time, I found myself in a position to start my own Social Media marketing business. Rather than do it for employers, I would do it for clients. I've been building this business, and just last week got laid off from the rest of that marketing job. And now…my business is all I have, despite it not yet being solvent.

    But what I've learned in terms of this, and in terms of Social Media, is to embrace the concept of Servant Leadership. My business isn't for me. It's about serving others. I don't do cold calls, so my clients only come thru referrals, (which is usually via Social Media channels). And much of the time I spend on Twitter and Facebook is spent promoting the businesses and projects of others. And I don't do this for pay because they are my clients. I do it because I enjoy helping my friends out.

    The beauty of this is that I'm learning that by putting others first…by putting them ahead of my own selfish interests…my business is starting to grow. This is not my motive, but by serving others, they have learned to trust me and appreciate what I do, and as a result they refer potential clients to me.

    These crises have not only led me to trust more fully in God, but to also allow others to help carry my burdens. Sometimes leaders need to allow others to lead as well.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Well said!!!

  • Melissa

    On December 31, 2007 my husband's colon ruptured. I spent the "ringing in the New Year" in the ER advocating for my husband, while my then 15 year old daughter stayed home with her sleeping sisters. We texted to each other. I had to step up to the plate. Once he was saftely on lhis way to another hospital for surgery I went home to sleep. I had my daughters to also think about. I called my inlaws once he was out of surgery and I had received an update from the surgeon. I spent months making decisions, getting help, and playing "nurse" to my husband. While this was all going on my middle daughter has epilepsy and her seizures went completely out of control In July of that year she had surgery for her seizures. It was a year of getting out of my comfort zone and holding our family together in a way I never knew I was capable of doing. but, I did it!
    I am not a leader by nature, but I think this was one of those times that i had to lead my daughters through some scary medical nightmares.

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

    I would have to say the one thing I learned most with working in the scope of a crisis is this: be flexible! There is never one magical "go to" plan that has all the answers. Each situation calls for various reactions, and in order to get through it, we have to be open for the solutions presented.

  • Justin Joiner

    Great post…I have Been in a crisis quite a few times being on the MS Gulf Coast. One of the main lessons I have learned through these is to B ready at a moments notice. I was apart of a ministry program when Katrina hit. We were 3hrs away from the coast at the time But still felt the effects of the hurricane. Our director and Pastor wanted to help in any way we could so we started doing things around the area. The power in most of Jackson MS went out, but I believe God had the power at our church on earlier for a reason. Our Pastor got word that the news announced our church as a shelter. This was at 5 in the afternoon and we were getting phone calls from LA saying they were on their way. So instantly we became a shelter. I was on security watch at night, help organize food distribution, and helped in our kitchen. THis lasted for a good solid month everyday. Being ready when the opportunity calls for is important. I learned that my plan b may be helping someone else in their greatest need. I have to be sensitive enough to meet the needs of the community and change when the need changes. My plan B may be the only life line other people have.

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

    Sometimes we are the source of our own challenges. I was leading a design team and though the design had challenges – I went ahead and committed us to a ship date. The closer the date came the worse the product looked. At some point I had to bite the bullet and admit that a total redesign was needed. Though it cost us a lot of money and we needed to explain some things to our customers, the look on the team's face when I stood behind them and said what needed to be done was more than enough to tell me I did the right thing.

  • Kenny Goza

    I really enjoy leadership books and learn so much from them. with my job and work I do as a comunity volunteer, I value any resource that helps me grow as a leader. I would be honored to get a copy of this book

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  • Jeff

    My divorce is the greatest crisis I've ever experienced. It was something I was required to participate in but as an unwilling participant. I have two children and my driving thought through the whole process was that in the years down the road, they might one day look back and say "he dealt with a horrible situation in the best way he could to honor God." I must start by saying that I failed at times but I continually went back to Job and David for guidance and inspiration in continually seeking God when in the midst of suffering and not just surviving the valley but walking through it with my head held high so that people would know that with God, I can go through the darkest days and come through it a little more broken, a little more bruised but strong in His power. To do this I had to confess my faults and weaknesses – to my kids, my family, my church, my employees, my friends – and through that confession I allowed my weakness to become the avenue that God gave me strength. It changed the way I talked to people and treated people. I became a more compassionate father, friend and business leader. I got back in the routine of praying with my kids each night and my friends whenever the opportunity arose. One of the most powerful things I did was to start taking prayer requests and leading a prayer at the end of my staff meetings. Every employee volunteered to participate and once we started sharing our hurts and pains, we grew closer together.

    I have been told many times that my leadership through the ordeal was seen by people I didn't even know were watching me. I praise God that He used me to touch someone's life through my tragedy but, even more, that He gave me the strength to show my children that God is sovereign and that our hardest times can be when we shine the brightest.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Amazing Jeff. So sorry you had to go through that.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/childrensministryandculture Larry Shallenberger

    Shortly after 5 AM on Martin Luther King Day, 2000 a desperate phone call shattered my sleep. “The church is on fire. It’s burning down.” By the time I arrived, the flames claimed the children’s wing. The staff watched from our cars in the sub-zero temperature as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. Unable to do anything, we each returned to our homes and waited for Al’s instructions.

    The instructions came, instead, from ATF agents. In 1999, there were as rash of church arsons in the south resulting in federal agents leading the response. I was summoned to meet a brawny ATF agent in the early afternoon in the ash filled remains of the cinder block children’s church room. Firefighter had ripped the roof open. I breathed in artic air and surveyed the scene. Plastic seats melted and drooped around their steel chair frames.

    I found the hideously ugly canvas painting of Jesus and the children, painted in bright rust and oranges, that I had hidden back stage. The painting had been commissioned in the seventies by a generous patron. As such, I’d been denied permission to throw it away. I joked with the agent about my poor luck about the painting surviving the fire only to be met by a grim stare. When the agent finally spoke he asked me questions about the contents of the supply closet and about my whereabouts Sunday afternoon. It was only then that I realized the fire was being considered suspicious and that everyone on staff was a potential suspect.

    The crisis temporary diverted everyone attention away from the conflict that had been smoldering in the church over worship styles and leadership. Elders, staff, and congregation rallied around the immediate need to restore the campus. Yet when the children’s wing reopened and the urgency of the moment subsided, discord returned. The elder board began to split over the issue of leadership the church spiraled deeper into chaos. Fall came with its tree top Pentecost and with it new revelation: One of the arsonists was the teenage child of a senior staff person. The new information fueled more speculation and gossip in the church. The church’s descent continued for another full year and only reserved itself with the help of a Christian conflict mediator, one that qualified to do mediation for the United States Postal Service.

    The experience forced me to rethink the nature of suffering in the Christian life. The scriptures are full of references to God using fire to refine and purify his people, to burn away impurities, and to free them from their impurities so they look more like Jesus. I mistakenly had assumed the outcome was inevitable; the flames of suffering would subside and, viola, Jesus’ character would shine.

    My own experiences during this time forced me to shed this myth. I was changing, but not in a way that looked anything like Jesus. I was more familiar with anxiety than I was God’s “peace that surpasses understanding.” Insomnia was a regular occurrence. I had little appetite for food and lost weight. I found myself wrestling with feelings of resent with my coworkers. I infected my home with a surly disposition. Outbursts of impatience and anger occurred far too often.

    Over time I came to understand that both God and Satan use fire for their purposes. God refines and strengthens while Satan scars and disfigures. Why do both God and Satan value fiery experiences? In the physical realm, fire agitates molecules and speeds up chemical reactions. The same is true spiritually. The fire of suffering is a spiritual accelerant. Suffering speeds up the stuff of our characters and makes us susceptible to change. Our decisions made during a week of suffering yield their consequences more quickly than those made during a year of tranquility.

    So was the fire “of God” or “of Satan”? I learned,that by my actions, I could say the fire was from God.

    • http://www.theriveroc.org BarbE

      Thank you for your amazing, transparent post. As a pastor, your experience with leading thru crisis in church culture, combined with the dynamics of spiritual warfare are enlightening. Praying for you & your peeps. This is post gold to me.

  • Kevin Dalton

    I would really like a copy of Plan B. I took your advice and purchased Radical by David Platt and it was great. Thanks

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

    Early in my career I worked as a manager and then as a district manager for a movie theatre chain with more than 50 screens in two states in that time the teams I had the privilege to lead were faced with various challenges requiring a "plan B". Although some were as small as equipment malfunctions and as large as evacuations (2 hurricane evacuations I vividly recall), and the key to them was a calm and caring demeanor with my team to alleviate worry and instill confidence and direction. That quick calming breath when first being faced with a crisis is a priceless tool to assess and focus on what needs to be done to overcome.

  • Janet George

    This post is not from a specific crisis – just from the day to day "crisis" in an office situation. I have learned that the more you "step up to the plate" and do the right thing, the more others who are watching you (and make no mistake….others ARE watching you…..) will also be more likely to do the same. You create your own place of leadership, regardless of whether you even considered yourself being in a leadership position or not, simply by doing the right thing at the right time. And then, others are encouraged to step up to the plate and be "leaders" in their own area of expertise.

  • http://Bridgescovenant.com Mark Andrews

    I have learned that nothing works better than being really prepared and really flexible. One without the other is a recipe for disaster, especially in a crisis.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/joannamuses joanna

    Don't spend too much time on the what ifs, debating how the crisis might have been less severe or have not happened at all if you'd done something differently. There may be a time later where detailed analysis of what happened is appropriate, but in the middle of the crisis beating yourself up is likely to do nether you or anyone any good. You are most likely going to be much more effective at making things better now if you aren't distracted with things in the past you can't change.

  • Adam Robertson

    Like Pete, I have read about leadership principles since I was in college. I have had the good fortune to meet some great leaders in the Church as well as the business world. I look forward to reading his perspective on being flexible and responsive in crisis situations. It is a lesson that all churches/Christians can learn.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jody_fransch Jody T Fransch

    Thanks for sharing this post Mike!

    I'm a youth leader at my local church. Just last week we planned a fundraising event for our annual youth camp. We planned to screen the 2010 World Cup match between USA and England on a big screen in the church hall and charge a small fee to enter. There was a lot of controversy around the event as it was not communicated properly to our elders in the church. They thought that we were just having a get together to watch the soccer match, but the fact was that we were actually taking advantage of the Fifa World Cup event to fund raise for our camp.

    I learnt that it's very important communicate clearly and make sure all parties involved are on the same page before proceeding to the next step…I would have saved myself a lot of headaches if this was done properly in the first place!

    I would really love to get a copy of Pete's new book because I'm sure that as a leader I can gain valuable lessons and insights from it. I also promise to share what I learn from the book with others. Thanks for making this offer available!

  • No Surrender

    Over the past year I have learned the hard way that it is wise to do some informal background checking on new families that come to our church. We had a couple come to our church who had recently left another church, and I intentionally didn't contact their former pastor because I wanted the couple to get a "fresh start". I chose to allow them into a leadership role 3months after their arrival. (mistake #2 I learned the hard way) About 12 months into their time at our church they began spreading rumors and building their own following. After confronting the couple I made a call to their former pastor and learned they had engaged in the same behavior at their previous church. If I had made that call earlier things would have been very different.

  • brentguice

    I have gifted many Plan B books to many people so far…this book is touching so many lives. Thank you Pete!

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Thanks Brent. It's always encouraging to hear how God is using the book.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kellycain Kelly Cain Smith

    While leading a team with a ministry overseas we had several medical crises. There were hospital visits to Budapest and remote villages that I couldn't speak the language. It was a time of dependence and perseverance. Through those situations I realized how little I could depend on myself and how relying on God was the only way to get through. These instances pop into my head regularly when I'm tempted to lean on my own understanding.

  • http://www.compassioncan.blogspot.com JD

    In times of crisis, I have learned that focus on God and what He would have us observe, see, do, think and believe, changes everything… We need to hold onto a God-honoring perspective in good times too, but in bad times, it’s even more crucial. It will also affect those around us in a positive way.

    There is good, even in the midst of life’s biggest storms — if we spend all our time and energy focusing on the horrible aspects of it, the enemy will engulf us. We need to face reality, good and bad, absolutely, but the reality needs to be focused on the glimpses of God’s hand in ALL situations.

    • JD N

      getting this code with link to retweet (Invalid Unicode value in one or more parameters), so did it from ur original tweet…rt: 'presencedriven' is my t acct thx JD

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  • http://jeremycarlsonblog.blogspot.com Jeremy Carlson

    A key leadership lesson I've learned during a crisis is not to sit back and wait until you have everything figured out but to start somewhere and be ready to change on the fly.

  • Paul Kerslake

    I have been in Church Leadership for the past 9 years, ever since we started a church plant. We had our own train crash about seven years in, which we have survived and are coming out stronger from. However, this was an accident waiting to happen, there were characters and personalities within the congregation that had a view of how church should be, and when it wasn't going the way they thought it should be they were quite vocal in their opposition. They also undertook to spread some quite vicious gossip among the congregation that unfortunately many took as gospel. Now this possibly wasn't entirely avoidable, however, the previous minister had avoided confronting any of this prior to his leaving, and it was left to the assistant minister to "fix". If the matter had been dealt with early on it wouldn't have had a chance to fester and grow.

    Now, two years down the line we have lost a lot of people, but also gained newcomers. There is more trust and openness between all within the church, and we have a proper system in place: people know to come and talk to each other rather than complain/grumble from the back. The church is so much stronger as a result.

  • http://simplifiedaving.com Lisa Thompson

    As a mom of children who were adopted at 9 and 12, I have seen first hand the destruction that poor leadership can have on a family. And since our adoption we have dealt with some really difficult, ugly stuff. Through it all, I have learned to pray before speaking, pray before acting, and lead in love (not that I’m perfect at any of these, but I sure am working on it). I desire to lead in a way that draws the heart of my children to Christ rather than away from Him. I desire to seek God’s will for them rather than my agenda for them.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Poor leadership is never more evident than from within our families. Great point.

  • Lynne S. Smiland

    I am a librarian and would love this book for a book review!
    I am currently fighting inflammatory breast cancer, a very agressive form with a 35-40% 5-year survival rate. The biggest lesson for me in this crisis has been the power of accepting help from others. It isn't a sign of weakness to accept or even ask for help when needed—besides relieving some of your burden, it is a gift to others to allow them to help. They are empowered by doing something to help when a situation seems overwhelming.
    P.S. I used to ride the bus to Richfield with you, and graduated with you in 1973! (Lynne Sanders)

  • http://mamawkim@blogspot.com Kimberly

    In 2000 my husband suffered two massive left brain strokes that left him totally disabled. Severe aphasia, loss of half his vision, inability to walk or use his entire right side were only the initial diagnoses to the cornucopia of stroke related issues that followed. We handled this life altering event with love, the ability to change, and holding fast to the love of God and our love for one another. Crisis is defined differently by all, my crisis is not your crisis. But facing a crisis, change, challenge, or opportunity is best conducted when we are able to adapt and hold fast to the knowledge that regardless of the situation God’s loving arms surround us.

  • http://dontcloseureyes.tumblr.com Alicia

    I used to work at a Salvation Army camp that took kids from homeless shelters and underprivileged homes and sent them to an overnight camp. I was a counselor for 2 summers, and learned a lot of different lessons. I think the most important ones are:

    1. Christ is more important than anything else I could ever imagine. I needed to realize that tomorrow is not guaranteed, and today could be my LAST DAY to shine the light of Christ to those children around me. I could be the only example they see of a Christian… is my life shining His light? "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" — is Christ so much the center of my life, and so in control of my heart, that it affects my words? Is my speech to my campers words of love, words that heal, words that build up, words that support, and words that correct in a loving manner?

    1. Pray FIRST. Prayer should never be a last resort. When I have a child come to me saying their parents will beat them when they go home, I notify the office, and then PRAY. Pray for the child and the family, and that God will be with them.

    That's what I base my life on. Christ. Prayer. Love.

    • http://dontcloseureyes.tumblr.com Alicia

      Oh, also…. I am at work during one of my prep periods (I am a music teacher) and cannot go on twitter or facebook to repost right now. Sorry!

  • http://www.twitter.com/davidspell David Spell

    A couple of years ago, my wife had some serious back issues, had to have surgery & was out of work for 6 months. At the same time, both of our rental houses ended up empty. I was having to juggle 3 mortgage payments every month. At the time, I was a Sergeant with the police department I work for. My salary is locked in with little or no overtime. God provided a month long, part time security job that paid really well. I was having to work 70- 80 hours a week, but it kept us from going under financially.

    At the same time, my poor wife was confined to the couch as she recovered. If we wanted to keep from losing our houses, I had to work a lot. Our church was AMAZING! We never lacked a meal. Our refrigerator was always full. Several incredible women were always around taking care of my wife, watching movies with her, cleaning, and taking her to doctor's appointments.

  • http://www.twitter.com/davidspell David Spell

    Leadership Lessons Learned from the Crisis
    1. We can't make it on our own. God has designed us to live in community. We serve in a non-paid role as part of the pastoral team at our church. We were incredibly well taken care of during this crisis. I can proudly say, however, that we try and look after everyone in our church with the same commitment.
    2. Miracles come as we work. We can't sit by in a crisis and expect God to do everything for us. Hard work is often the catalyst that propels us to the other side of our trial.
    3. When we get through the trials that we encounter, we find that we are bigger people spiritually. James said that, "the testing of our faith produces endurance." When we are bigger spiritually and have more endurance, we have the capacity to help more people.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Laurinda Laurinda

    The #1 lesson I've learned is no matter how out of control the situation may be, God's hand is all over it. 9 years ago I experienced the worst crisis of my life. Half way through my breakdown on the week it occurred I asked God to use it to put me on the path He destined for me. I have never sensed the presence of God as strong in my life than the nearly 2 years it took to get out of that situation. Crisis are character tests and if faced properly major growth opportunities. Facing it properly takes humility which means that you shouldn't take the 'this shouldn't be happening to me" approach. I agree that you need to be prepared to Sacrifice. But wow, once you're proven God moves suddenly!

  • http://www.davidmehrle.com David Mehrle

    The biggest lesson I have learned in crisis situations is to simply listen. Too often as a leader I am quick to start moving and pointing people in a particular direction to deal with the crisis. However, most crisis are not related to what I do everyday. So, pausing to listen to the ones who handle the facilities or those who have more of a connection with the crisis goes a long way. As leaders we often react and start a movement without knowing enough facts to be most successful.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Good stuff David

  • http://www.facebook.com/memorylane00 Susan Irons Crittenden

    God knew that Nashville would need YOU! I am not from Nashville, have never lived there, but visit there quite often. We have some very dear friends (band members and families from Among Thorns) there and pray that God will continue to use them as they live out their lives for Him. May God continue to bless you as you follow His leadership!

  • http://www.chrisstevenslive.com Chris Stevens

    Leadership lesson learned when I stepped down from an Assistant Pastor’s position to plant a new church (with the blessing of my home church). The church closed down within a few months:

    1) When I take a risk, so does my family. And they still believe in me even when I fail. When everyone else turned critical, they still believed.

    2) God is sovereign. He opened the doors for me to provide for my family as an Assistant Principal at a local Jr-Sr High School. My plan B is actually is plan A!

  • http://www.embracepositivepassion.com Georgiana

    An old ENGLISH PROVERB says, "every path has it’s PUDDLE"… Do you see a PUDDLE coming up in your path or one right in front of you. What to do… what to do? PUDDLES aren’t easy to EMBRACE with a POSITIVE attitude and you sure don’t feel PASSIONATE!!! We all have to face that ole PUDDLE — Do we put our boots on, walk right through it or try to get off our path? It’s called – ACCEPTANCE or avoidance. If we avoid the PUDDLE, we get off our TRUE PATH in our life. We usually take a detour — somewhere we are not supposed to be. Do we LEARN? Do we GROW? Usually not. Most likely we get on a toxic path called destruction. Now if we put our boots on and ACCEPT that PUDDLE by taking a chance not knowing how deep it is. There's lessons to be learned and at times they're mighty deep, but GOD has GROWTH for us! We will be STRONGER in CHARACTER, LOVE, JOY and PEACE! So just remember that old ENGLISH PROVERB. Yes you will meet a PUDDLE now and then along your CORRECT path. And let’s face it the EMBRACING will come with the GROWTH. POSITIVITY will FLOURISH RICHLY with PASSION!!!

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

    I learned a valuable leadership lesson last year during the downward spiral of the automotive supply company I worked for and then it's eventual Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Over the span of a year I was thrust from being a Project Manager, to leading the Engineering department to finally being in charge of our entire Molding operation across three shifts. During this time there was a lot of concern and uncertainty among the employees in my department. I did my best to keep a positive attitude and communicate with them. As the writing on the wall became more bold, the other department managers began using up their vacation time for fear of losing it in the bankruptcy. As a leader, I did not feel it was right to do this when those working for me did not have the same option. I did not use any of my vacation time and ended up losing over a week's vacation when the company folded. However, those other managers were released many weeks before me and I believe that it had to do with my dedication to my team. I stuck it out and continued to serve my team until the last day our facility was open. I have no regrets about the decisions I made and would do it again given the same circumstances. It is cliche' but I do believe the captain goes down with the ship, or at least he waits until every single crew member is safely off the boat first.

  • http://www.getwellroad.org Rob Goudy

    Often during high demand experiences, whether VBS week, organizational change, financial strains, or personal crisis, we tend to falsely believe that getting more tasks done is effective leadership. Wrong! That’s about efficiency management.
    Leadership leaves margin for people. During a crisis, leaders need to be listening and talking to people; not being preoccupied with tasks. People get the tasks accomplished, so leaders need to focus on the difficult and often messy discussions with people.
    Nothing inspires me more than actually having someone listen. Isn’t this the example of prayer? Mutual listening between us and our Heavenly Father.

  • http://www.ohioleadership.com Kelly Croy

    I have not yet faced a crisis and have much to learn. My leadership lessons have all come from being an Eagle Scout. Is Plan B like Scout’s motto “Being Prepared” ? I think Pete Wilson’s book would be a great way for me to get prepared. Looking forward to reading it.

  • http://resilientemergence.com Matt Steen

    Throughout my time in ministry leadership I have constantly referred back to Dwight Eisenhower’s quote “Plans are worthless. Planning is essential.” As a youth pastor, we would plan for as much as possible, and once an event started happening, the plans would go out the window and we would go with backup plans made on the fly.

    As a church planter, the same was true: Two weeks after moving into a new space and we are out of room? Back to the drawing board! The inflatables haven’t shown up for the block party? Start teaching the kids to sing!

    While my ministry experience has proved this quote true, it is in my marriage where it has been most helpful. Two years ago, my wife and I were just married, and planting a church… and had planned on being there for years to come. Recently, God brought us to a place where we needed to radically change gears in order to care for my wife’s father as he is in the final stages of his time here. And so while we had planned out our future quite well, that plan is now worthless. The planning, however, was invaluable as it helped us to wrap our brains around what is important to us, what our priorities are, and how we will continue to exist as a couple.

  • http://www.remassagetherapy.com Chris Rader

    In crisis, we truly depend and lean on God.

  • http://www.randyintherock.blogspot.com Randy Wood

    Well, my plan “A” was laid out. However I did not follow it. I made stupid decisions that resulted in hurt and pain for my family.
    I have now excepted my second chance.. plan B… Its neat how God has allowed me a new perspective. Now when I make a decision on major things… even a few minor things… i look at a more panoramic view of what the results could be. I have learned to allow God to take care of my THEN.. Embrace the NOW and join in with god for the THERE. Plan B? Yep.. and C, D, E…..

  • http://www.nmcclenaghan.blogspot.com nichola mcclenaghan

    My greatest lesson has been that my plan B was very often God’s plan A … sometimes the direction I thought I should take, crashed around my feet but then plan B turned out to be exactly what God wanted in the first place. Does that make sense? My life has had a series of ‘oops’ moments that God so mercifully straightened out!

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Isn't His grace amazing Nichola?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1150295147 Nichola Harrison McClenaghan

        it just blows my mind!!!

  • Sandy Lawrence

    Dealing with Singles as a small group leader everyweek brings a new crisis. God has been showing me that leadership is servanthood. I constantly look for ways I can serve people in their moment of crisis. Sometimes that takes the form of listening to the same problem over and over again and other times it means rejoicing that they finally got it. The key is love like Jesus loved unconditionally.

  • dee.GA

    When crisis comes into our lives, to those who have forgotten, it's when we remember that it's God who gives and He alone can take away. Yes, like the song, "Blessed Be The Name of The Lord", we give Him praises in our abundance, & still He teaches us to learn/continue to praise Him when there's nothing left. Our faith being tested, & when dependence on God is the only "option".

  • Jim drake

    I have learned over and over again that leaders cannot just see problems, they must see them and offer solutions Ive Also learned that leaders go first and do the hard thing on order to demonstrate what needs to be done. Right now in order for those I lead to be healthy I need to be healthy in mind body and spirit. I can ask no more of them than I myself am willing to offer

    I would love this book. Pete is one of those men who have made a mark on my life and I thank god that he gives me nuggets of grace and wisdom through him

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/success2you John Richardson

    Thanks for a great post on leadership, Pete. To me, one of the greatest ways a church can help others is through the formation of small groups. My wife and I attend North Coast Church in Vista California, where over 80% of the church is involved in small ministry groups. When plan B comes, these groups are able to mobilize quickly, and the group leaders are able to draw upon talents of individual members to best solve the problem.

    Some of the greatest servant leaders I've ever met have come from these groups. They don't have fancy titles, they just face the challenge, pray fervently, and start getting their hands dirty. Whether it's painting a house for a senior citizen, building a playground for kids, or renovating an old building for the city, these volunteers don't complain, but actually make the project fun.

    I've learned more about leadership from some of these group leaders than any book on the subject. When you are part of a group facing a challenge or crisis, group think starts to take over and solutions appear. True leaders seize on the ideas of others and start taking action. It's amazing what can happen when a group prays together. God is always faithful in ways and with people that I would never have thought possible.

  • http://www.michellesarabia.org Michelle

    We live in Nashville and to see the communities come together to help one another was amazing! Pete, your church was a significant part in the rebuilding…Thank you!

  • http://facesoflions.wordpress.com Dave Wilson

    Pete’s a great blogger, so I trust that his book will be amazing too!


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

    There are many crisises(?) that I have faced over the years. But the one I come back to is when my close friend was in a deep depression and didn't know where to turn. This is when the church stepped up and lived their lives in a compassionate way. We bonded together to lift him up in prayer and really sought out opportunities to be with him in his time of need. It was beautiful to watch.

    The thing I learned during this time was that as a church we need to be able to communicate clearly the needs that people are facing. When we saw the need and the effect that it was having, we turned over every stone until the issue was on its way to recovery.

  • Carrie

    Thank you so much for sharing! As a parent of a pre-teen going on about 30, I am often overwhelmed with lack of confidence-am I doing the right thing, is he going to be okay-the list could go on and on! Embrace crisis. Wow, those two words hit home. I need to use each situation or crisis as an opportunity to show
    our son the right path to walk. I'm sure he will stumble and fall as everyone does, but for me to look at each of those as an opportunity rather than a failure will help put all of us in the right direction. Thank you again…

  • http://jinjja.wordpress.com Alexis W.

    When the tornadoes hit here in Clarksville in 1999, I was asked to lead some teams while helping with the Salvation Army. I was a freshman in high school and have never led anything before so I tried to pass it off on someone else. But volunteers and resources were slim that first day so I HAD to help out like I was asked. I was able to recruit more volunteers and help assign them to different areas that needed help. I learned that day that you’re never too young to be a leader, and that you don’t always need experience, just a willingness to do it. As one person once said, “You usually don’t get experience until right after you need it.”

  • http://heatherpierce.blogspot.com HeatherPierce

    In a crisis, I have learned as a leader, that confidence and communication are the critical tools to garner follow-ship. When a leader, despite crisis, puts him or herself aside and calls upon Christ for confidence and direction, followers notice. They see a transparent, certain leader that they are naturally inclined to follow. Pete has done this time and time again, as I have been a part of his church in Nashville. The way he is transparent and confident despite any turmoil has truly been an inspiration.

  • Lee Coate

    Having been through a very similar circumstance, I know firsthand the devastation it can bring to a leader but also the amazing redemptive power of God. Leadership is largely built in us through these types of challenges as we learn to “lead ourselves” effectively.

    My prayer everyday is that God will leave enough of the scar tissue in my life that as I now lead on the other side of my “dark night of the soul”, I will always maintain the perspective and remember the lessons of this season of my life. Thanks Pete – for sharing your life with us.

  • http://llamamomma.blogspot.com Llama Momma

    Always have a plan. And a plan b. But be flexible. :-)

  • http://janellekeith.blogspot.com/ Janelle Keith

    In a crisis, I have learned that God is enough. The world can be swirling around you and you feel like you are on a "bobsled to Hell" and back but amidst all of that, God is enough. Always and forever. NO matter the circumstances, no matter the results. God is enough. It's a long story, but that is what I learned through my husbands battle with cancer. God is, was, and always be enough.

  • Rob

    After our senior pastor took another call, we were without a senior pastor for three years. It took about a year to form the committee, do the required paperwork, and get to the point of hiring a pastor. When we made our first offer, the pastor took a position at another church. After about another year, we came across a candidate that was very attractive, but came with a large amount of personal baggage. We really wrestled with calling someone because they were highly gifted versus calling someone that we believed was God’s pastor for our church. In the end we decided to look further and even though it took another year, God’s will became clear and we called our current pastor.

    It was tempting to want to fill the leadership void as quickly as possible. It was tempting to focus on the outside of a man, not the inside. It was hard to look our friends within the congregation, who wanted a pastor, and say “God hasn’t shown us who to call yet.” Yet through the waiting, God was good! Individuals stepped up into leadership roles, new ministries were launched, our leadership was re-organized and we finally called the pastor God wanted us to have.

    I learned that sometimes waiting is the best course of action. I learned that in difficult times, there is wisdom in the discernment of a team. I learned that there is a significant difference between good, better, and best.

  • http://www.singfiel.com Jeff

    I was working and living with my family in the Balkans when nationwide, multi-day riots gripped our small country. During the height of the rioting one of my colleagues and neighbors was robbed at gunpoint while her husband was at a prayer meeting. I was asked to come over…fast!

    What I learned in the crisis I learned as a national pastor soon joined us. I learned from this national pastor the “power of presence” in a crisis, of being “all in” when the unexpected happens.

    I will always remember his quiet resolve that God was good and all would be well.

  • Kathryn

    What have I learned to do in a crisis? Stay calm, close your eyes, breathe, and pray. Only when you are in control of yourself can you be effective for others.

  • Robert

    In a time of crisis I learned to quit trying to do it all myself and let God. God in the past has been the last place I would run to when I couldnt figure things out first on my own.. STUPID!

  • http://www.multiplyleadership.com/blog/ Mark Jones Jr

    I was driving along the Tigris river one 2008 morning while deployed to Baghdad. There was a concrete wall, twenty-feet high, between the dirt road I was on and the river. The all-too-common (yet still disconcerting) sound of an explosion rose with a plume of smoke from across the river. The armed sentry retreated from the road to his reinforced bunker atop a tower that overlooked the wall.

    Since I had arrived in Iraq, I had been meditating regularly on Pr 18:10: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe.” I had understood that the Lord is safety, but I did not know why His name is a strong tower…until that moment.

    Crisis, plan B, failure–call it what you want–these moments are named differently based on Perspective. The guard was not retreating. He was advancing to his tower, a place of protection and Perspective.

    Leaders have perspective. Leaders need perspective. Leaders need to realize that team members probably have a different perspective, especially in times of crisis. Leaders need to carve out times and places of peace and providence, so that they too can view the battlefield from the high ground. From that Perspective, they can revise the plan and envision success, ultimately protecting followers. Sometimes we just need to see things from another perspective.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      So true Mark.

  • http://michelehelms1.blogspot.com/ Michele

    My husband and I were minding our own business…he had a good job in corporate America…that he was good at :) and I was home with our 5 children, when God called us into full time Christian service. Awesome! We were already serving Jesus and now we were going to do it full time..I had lots of plans in my head. Plan A…God will open up a church for Eric to work with men's groups.. didn't happen…now don't get me wrong….we are well liked in our church with great connections so we had lots of offers from churches….but we knew without a doubt that they were not Gods plan. Plan B..cool God will open all kinds of doors so that Eric can speak in churches….he has an amazing testimony and a passion to share…thats it we will live on lover offerings….NOPE that wasn't His plan either???? Plan C…God has opened so many doors it is nuts!!!! All NONPAYING…..he goes to public schools and shares his testimony…crazy I know but hundreds of kids were saved this past school year, he mentors at risk teenage boys and he leads a weekly Bible study and personal growth time with 40 young men every week!! So how do we eat???? I'm not sure! God asked us to give it all and we did! We used every bit of our personal money…yep ALL of it and He has sent people who are passionate about what we are doing to come along side of us to be a part of the crazy work God is doing! I love Plan B…or plan C :)

  • http://www.aworshipfulheart.typepad.com Jan Owen

    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."

    This is one lesson I learned in crisis. We like to gloss over it. Pretend it is over quicker than it is and not as bad as it actually is. Not take the time to thoroughly address it. But it always crops up again…………
    One of the biggest lessons I learned in a leadership crisis is that any weakness or problem a person or organization has that might be "covered" by momentum for the moment will be utterly exposed in the aftermath of crisis. And it will block the path to healing and recovery. In crisis our weakness looms larger than ever before. So take care of those weaknesses now. Momentum covers a multitude of sin, or weaknesses, or flaws. It allows us to get away with things that are not truly healthy. Crisis exposes them and fertilizes them! Now is the time to build a firm foundation, a healthy base, so that you are prepared for the inevitable crisis that comes your way.

  • CJC

    A Leadership Lesson I have learned in Crisis is to stop planning and start connecting. I work with 40 graduate students and my immediate reaction when crisis impacts one of them is to put a plan in place and lately i've learned the importance of slowing down, asking the individual – okay, so how are YOU doing with all of this, then out of their reaction or acceptance to the crisis we begin to put a plan in place. planning without engaging people is futile.

  • http://embracingandbeingembraced.com Shanda

    I had never considered myself a leader until recently. Truth be told, I never imagined I would lead anyone anywhere. I considered myself more of a follower. As a single mom, I've come to realize that the crises in my life have been the catalyst to forming me into the leader I am today. My divorce and the death of my husband, while the most traumatic experiences of my life, have also form and shaped me into the person I am today. A person God can use. A person who can even lead others when they are faced with crisis because I've been there. I know what it feels like. The best leadership lesson I've learned is in fact that I am a leader. Learning to embrace the pain and use that to grow into the person HE wants me to be has been the single best learning experience of my life.

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

    I have currently learned a form a leadership that has taught me what I do NOT want to be like. Though it's been difficult, it' has also been an invaluable lesson.

  • http://twitter.com/mommy3 @mommy3

    Served as a leader over a group of kids 5k-5th. Until I felt God calling me to the middle and high school students. Even though I had many talks with my maker about the fact I didn't feel equip to handle a teens crisis, He still called and I went. I was there less than a month and one of my small group girls was raped. Just when I thought I wasn't equipped to handle it God equipped me! Lesson: do not underestimate God. Allow him to be bigger than we let him be. Thanks for letting me share.

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

    I think the biggest lesson I have learned in the midst of crisis is that it is really easy to give up and give in. To let the crisis take control and guide you is to let the crisis beat you. There are certainly times to readjust and go with plan b, but don't be to quick to jump ship because part of the crisis may be the very thing God intends to use in your life.

    Thanks for the chance to snag a copy of the book.

  • Carol Anne

    When working at a battered women’s shelter, our volunteer coordinator told us the following: “Never ask a volunteer to do something you are not willing to do yourself.” I took those words to heart. When a resident would be sick, I would go to clean and ask for help. Many times, I would be tempted to hide in paperwork, but I would remember her directive. So many times these volunteers would go the extra mile because they knew I was committed to working alongside them.

    One night, this was put to the test as a batterer showed up on the property with weapons. I was 25 at the time and I truly wanted to run to our safety room first, but realized my responsibilty to the residents and volunteers. Without divulging too many details, we all were safe and the batterer was arrested after what seemed like an eternity. When I went home that evening to my parents, I expected to hear a lecture on why I should leave that job. I felt like a coward for my feelings of fear. Instead, my father said that I showed leadership and courage. Courage because I acted despite my fear. That has stayed with me. I left the job three years later to further pursue my education, but nothing ever compared to the education I received that evening.

  • http://www.cypress-umc.org Sarah Holbrook

    In crisis, it is best pray (on your knees) then to consult, consult, consult with your people, then pray some more. Then ACT!

  • C J W

    Sports pales in comparison to the life-threatening crises that others are enduring in Nashville, the Gulf of Mexico, and many other places around the globe. For the moment, it's a frame of reference for me, so I offer the following:

    I have learned that I am a leader even when I don't necessarily want to be. As a referee for youth soccer, on occasion I am called to make fast-breaking, game-critical decisions. In those moments, others are relying on me and I need to step up and make a call. I have to take accountability and use conviction as I communicate my decisions. And I need to realize that not everyone will agree and some will in fact vehemently disagree!

    Also, through a family crisis I have come to realize the same thing: Others will not always agree, but that is not an excuse or reason not to act or decide. I have to accept whatever consequences I am responsible for.

  • http://www.momentsofclaritybygretchen.blogspot.com Gretchen

    My husband was at the "top of his game", preaching and teaching in our ministry circles, when we heard Brain Tumor 10 years ago. He woke up from surgery with the tumor gone, along with most of his short-term memory. Reading a book, remembering the context of a counseling conversation, remembering where he parked the car…all have become a struggle. Life is totally different. There isn't a day that goes by that our whole family isn't affected by the surgery. Would I change it if I could? Probably. But one of the hard lessons we've learned is that God can often use me more in my brokenness than in my "success".

  • http://www.littlescrapper.com/blog Leslie {Tiny Wings}

    My greatest crisis lesson is "Let Go!" As someone who always wants to be in control of everything, just letting things unfold — without manipulation on my part — is the best thing to do!

  • http://www.creatingnewworlds.org Carl Townsend

    Some two years after my wife died, I was so low I could reach up and – as they say – tounch China. It did not make sense at all. I finally heard God speak. I was to go to the beach, rent a horse, and race it on the beach. I had never done anything like that before. I asked God for Plan B. God said there was no Plan B. I took the risk. There I was on this horse, and the horse was racing down this beautiful beach and I was hanging on for dear life. No authority. At least that was what I assumed. The reins were hanging limply on the horse. I finally had the courage to take the reins and pull backk – and the horse stopped. I DID have authority – I just didn't know it. Got taught me a lot about running under His authority that day. (BTW, John Elederidge has helpled me personal,ly interpret a lot of this event. He loves the story, and I've used the longer version in some books I've written.)

  • http://twitter.com/mthomason66 @mthomason66

    Several years ago we had a pretty major ice storm here in N.E. Oklahoma. It left many with out power for up to 12 days, which meant they were without warmth. We had no Emergency Plan. No crisis management training. We just knew we had to do something. It started with simply opening our doors at our warm facility. We became the place in town to find a bed and food.
    Volunteers began coming in. People in the community were even helping. We saw God work among us in the midst of the crisis.
    The take away lesson through that experience for me was simply Do Something! You may not have the experience or the know how, but just move forward. People will rise up, opportunities will present themselves, and God will no doubt bless your efforts.

  • http://www.nobleleadershipministries.com Michael G. Tucker

    Great post. Does President Obama read it? He should.

  • http://musteric.blogspot.com Matt Musteric

    In crises I have learned two things: (1) that delegation is not optional and (2) that I must focus intensely on those areas in which I am gifted / called. In other words, crises make me a better leader, since there is no time to fiddle around or do things others can do better than I. Crises also allow me to be intensely present in the moment, a virtue I am trying to cultivate in my life.

  • http://www.ellepyke.com Elle

    One of the most memorable leadership lessons that I learned in a crisis was the vital importance of follow-up. Flood waters recede, fires are calmed and winds die down, but the devastation and loss don't always disappear as quickly. A house can be rebuilt in a few months, but a broken heart may take years to mend. Follow up suggests that you are committed to help beyond just those immediate physical needs.

    Follow up not only shows you care, but that you are committed to long-term solutions over short-term gain. This principle is easily transferred to relationships, ministries ect. The hero who saves the day might get the initial praise, but it is the person committed to follow-up that wins hearts.

  • http://freelyvictorious.blogspot.com Sarah The Youth

    It's cliche, but one of the greatest lessons that I have learned in crisis is to pray. And to rely fully on God.

  • http://twitter.com/fieryservant FieryServant

    Thanks for sharing this great post Michael. I appreciated hearing Pete’s testimony and wisdom. I look forward to reading the book.

    Pete said “If you want solutions, you need to be quiet every chance you get.” I have found this truth to be the key to many a crisis in both my marriage and leadership experience. While I consider myself a good listener (pride goeth before a fall, right?) it is the times I am NOT listening that inevitably I find myself in trouble.

    Once I was leading a team of diverse people on a teaching mission outreach in Colombia. As is usual on mission trips the plans were constantly changing. In spite of the changes things were going really well. I was seeing my team members growing and being encouraged in their gifts, while ministering to the locals. Then we had a transportation crisis. Due to a vehicle breakdown someone had to be left behind for a couple hours. As the leader I made a quick decision and asked someone to stay behind. To my chagrin I found out that night that the person I had left behind had a hearing impediment. He was confused (due to language and hearing barrier) and highly upset that he had been left. If I had listened and paid attention before acting I could have avoided the undue stress on him and left someone else who was more equipped to handle the situation.

    Blessings on the new book Pete.


  • http://spirittosoul.blogspot.com bluegoose

    I had an awesome principal that I learned the most about personal leadership from….if it is in your power, let those under you do their job!
    Our school began taking in water during one of the wonderful flash flood events, right as school was letting out for the day. Instead of asking one of us four 'line-duty' teachers to begin mopping up the water, he left us in our place and began mopping it up himself…in his three piece suit! It was difficult enough for the four of us to control the excited K-3rd graders, I can't imagine how difficult the job would have been with just 3!!!

    I'm hoping and praying that Nashville is now returning to 'normal'!

  • Zach

    My leadership crisis occurred when I was a youth leader and an inappropriate conversation I had with a girl in the youth was sent to my friend the youth pastor. At the time I was heavily caught in the trap of pornography. After that all came out I left the church and went back to hanging out with all my old party friends because I was exposed and hurt. Long story short I am back in church and actively involved in a men's small group for guys that struggle with sexual addiction. God has been using me to help other men become free from that stranglehold praise God!! I learned everything comes out into the light, but also the important leadership lesson of keeping your ministry pure!! I thank God for what i went through and who I am now because of it. Always remember God will never leave us or forsake us!!

  • http://Www.Manafo.blogspot.com David

    This isn’t a major crisis but as our church uses a school for it’s Sunday gathering, one morning our team arrived to find no one there, doors closed. With noone answering their phone n the janitor on vacation we wondered what to do. I got on the scene and felt the first thing to do was to make sure the whole team knew that this wasn’t asbad as it seemed. No one was in danger, the worst thing that could happen is that we all crowded into a localmcdonalds for breakfast. The morning ends with a resourceful solution: we remembered the principles name, called 411 and woke home up at home. Our team worked extra hard to make things happen that day, but we learned that our success was notnecessarily that ‘the gathering’took place but our response to themini crisis. That regardless we were the church in action meeting theneed of the situation together. In the end we would have been light either way bc we would have worked together and served with joy.

  • http://www.theandersonfamily.me amykay

    this is so encouraging to me today- I am a youth pastor and I am leaving on Friday to take my kids on our annual summer trip. we have faced so many unexpected hurdles this week while preparing to leave that you wouldn’t even believe them if I wrote them all out. one lesson I have learned is: as a leader in crisis, YOU have to ACT. it would certainly be easier to sit back and worry or stress, but my job is to fix the problems. the other lesson I have learned is that everyone doesn’t need to see all the behind the scenes stuff- I hope my kids have a great trip and spend their time preparing their hearts, not hearing about and worrying about problems it is MY job to solve. thanks for the great words this morning!

  • http://www.johnjharvey.blogspot.com John Harvey

    One of the greatest lessons in leadership learned in a crisis is the "presence" of the leader. Living in Florida we have dealt with several hurricanes as I have pastored here. When a group of people show up to help, the look on people's face in seeing the "pastor/leader" is one of relief. There is comfort in presence of leaders. think of George Bush at Ground Zero in New York compared to the hours after the attacks when no one knew exactly where the President was because of security concerns. There is something calming and refreshing about seeing the leader face to face.

  • Kay Thomas

    I've been a leader in youth ministry for almost 13 years now, believe me, you can't work with teenagers and not learn lessons. I've learned many of the years but the biggest lessons are the ones that changed and shaped not only their lives but mine as well. First, I have to believe in what I'm doing, if I'm not passionate, my team and those i serve won't be passionate either. Second, I have to be willing to listen to all the stories and life experiences the kids and other leaders are willing to share to truly see their hearts, but i have to also be willing to share mine, even to the point of being vulnerable. If I can't be vulnerable at times, I cant lead with compassion as Jesus Christ calls us to. Last, but probably most important, I have to lead by example. I can't ask others to serve or do what I can't or won't do myself. We are called to be Christ-like in word, action, service, and love. If I can't be a disciple of Christ I can't make disciples.

  • http://www.newvintagechurch.com Matt Molt

    On a missions trip to Mexico, our bus breaks down in the middle of the jungle, in the middle of the night. Our greatest asset to overcoming the fear of being el stranded, was to join together in desperate prayers of faith. Both were true: desperation, and faith. Since I was "leading" the team, I had to maintain some sense of composure, letting my team know that it would be alright. In doing so, through words and prayer, I sensed God's Spirit doing the same for me–calming me and reassuring me. We ended well, with help from a well placed/timed Samaritan. God is good.

  • Linda Sandmann

    I think the one lesson that I have learned over time whether it was a 'big crisis' or just your run of the mill 'daily crisis' is that we are really dealing with individual people. People want to know that someone cares.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/kaikunane ThatGuyKC

    Wow, Pete! This is amazing stuff. I live up in Seattle where we get a fair amount of rain and it was astonishing to see Nashville underwater. I was so amazed with Cross Point Church's response and the vast impact y'all had.

    While I've never experienced a crisis of this magnitude one of the leadership lessons I've learned is knowing when to defer to another leader. Naturally, if the buck stops with you this isn't an option, but when I've had command of a situation and another leader comes on the scene who is better equipped and more knowledgeable about the crisis at hand it maybe time for me to step aside. I need to have the confidence to operate to the best of my ability and yet have the humility to know when I'm in over my head.

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

    Hi Michael,

    Last September, we experienced floods in Manila and my leadership crisis came out naturally by my hving to make hard choices in what to save and what to let go. It all boiled down to what was needed to help make my family comfortable in this crisis – making sure there was clean drinking water, relocating the gas stove to the second floor, saving whatever else I could… I had to sacrifice our car (lucky for me, our insurance covered 'Acts of God') – but I definitely lost a great number of my comic books collection – one I nurtured since high school. The thing was, I fond the needs of my family more important – and I was giving constant instructions to our house help to move this… lift that… forget the heavy ones and just pray the floods would go real soon. The flood stayed for 24 hours – but at least we had drinking water, hot meals, lights and candles – all because of my 'automatic crisis prioritization mode'. I definitely thanked God for it – and after the crisis… instead of wallowing in pity for what we lost, I led my wife in counting our blessings. The things we lost, we could replace – but if anything untoward happened to any of us, that would be irreplaceable.

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

    I'm not going to lie, I haven't really ever had to serve in a leadership position during a crisis. But something tells me that if I ever were to be in that kind of situation I'd probably freeze up when things didn't go according to plan. Learning to embrace a crisis is something I would love to learn more about. Thanks so much for this post. It's very practical and I pray that God is continuing to bless your efforts in Tennessee.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhsmith michaelhsmith

    Recently I was faced with a walking a person through a crisis here are some observations:
    1. recognized that the circumstance was beyond my control
    2. a personal response was needed
    3. comfort and support of the individual was the priority
    4. there was a need to stay calm
    5. while offering support, there was a need to process a plan of action.
    6. continued conversation with the individual while offering support
    7. once we moved from the initial crisis moment, an action plan was implemented

  • http://thewestraworld.blogspot.com/ Vicky

    Our community in Northern Minnesota, fights flood waters from melting snow that empties into the river that runs through our community. We fought back to back floods, a 500 year flood, twice in two years. Our mayor the first year, made the radical decision after 3 weeks of battle, to evacuate parts of our town, which included my own family.

    The town on the other side of the river, did not evacuate. Even though our dikes held and we only lost a few homes, the mayor was criticized for his decision. But this year, the face of the flood changed. In his wisdom, knowing he had a credibility issue, the mayor stepped aside and the new face of the flood was a young city manager. He rallied the people, promised no evacuations, and garnered renewed respect for the city management. The lesson? Plan B. The mayor was still in charge, but he put a new voice in charge, with a new plan and he stepped aside a bit. He saw a promising young leader emerging and wasn't afraid to let him lead. The lesson? Sometimes we lead by NOT leading, by joining the ranks and recognizing the blessing and fortitude of a good Plan B.

  • http://daughtersheart.wordpress.com Amy

    I have learned (over and over and over and over and over and, well, you get the idea) that God will ALWAYS provide for His children. Even when we are unfaithful (and even unbelieving), He is constantly, consistantly, unfailingly faithful! ~ @AymieJoi

  • M.A.R.

    I am learning a huge leadership lesson. I am in the middle of starting a new church. The lesson I am learning is that there is value in strategizing, coaching, mentoring, and discovering leadership principles but NOTHING replaces the value of leaning hard into Jesus daily. I am still learning . . .

  • Richard Wanjema

    I think the point that really speaks o me most is being willing to sacrifice. As I lead my family now as a young father, I have to give up so many things for my kids. We have a saying in my tribe that says that 'your kids will eat everything you have, even what is in your mouth!' I came to fully understand that shortly after getting my kids.
    This post is great, thanks for sharing.

  • http://yieldingpoint.com Rob Rash

    The biggest lesson I've learned is, right when I think I've got everything in control and down, God has a way of stepping in and changing things. Things I never saw coming.

    When I was a youth pastor, a few of my kids helped out another local church serve the homeless in downtown St. Louis. I had just started at that church and I was trying to get a good solid foundation for our direction. It was no more than a month later when my kids told me that they would not be able to go serve the poor anymore because the leader was stepping down. Seeing the look of disappointment and heartache, I had no other choice. I said without hesitation that our church, youth ministry, would pick it up where they had left off!

    I'm not sure how big of a crisis this was, but I had young people desperately wanting to serve those in which most of us forget, and homeless people losing friends, food, and clothing. There really wasn't any other decision to make. That ministry grew through our church to include many more youth and adults that were just fired up to serve. And that ministry out lasted me! ;)

    God has always stepped into my comfortable life and made it uncomfortable. And I'm very thankful for that!

  • Jodi W

    The key leadership discovery I have made within the last few years is that we never truly lead if we keep God in control. Even when leading groups to action, we fare better when we allow him to direct our steps versus making it about us or our group or even our task.

    Also, when it’s time for you to move on to a new leadership position, he will move you whether you like it or not.

    Flexible leadership is essential in a God-focused group.

  • http://thequirkyredhead.com redheadkate

    Delegation of authority along with responsibility: it's a simple concept, but difficult for many leaders. It is all too easy to turn over a task to someone yet hold onto the authority to get it done. Doing so slows down response times, frustrates the person given the task, and fails to train future leaders.

    I learned this important lesson during at an extended financial crisis at work. But it's also true for any type of crisis, from ecomomic to environmental.

    It is a bit counter-intuitive, that relinquishing something can make you more of a leader. But by giving others the power to actually get things accomplished; a person's leadership capability is reinforced.

  • Rachel

    My husband is on staff at a church in Fayetteville, NC. He is the Pastor of Worship & Fine Arts of a church of over 5000 members. We have the World Cafe, which I manage, which was a vision I had when I took over our little coffee ministry. It's like a Starbucks only with books & CDs for sale. Wayne & I walked through a very difficult time recently that kept us on our knees & our faces toward God. It was separate from church, a personal attack on us. Being in leadership roles there is a balance of being too open or too hidden. Because this was a strong personal attack & had nothing to do with our church, we shared it only with the Pastors & Elders, but kept it from the church body. We knew God was in control, allowed this, & would get us through this time. Like Pete Wilson said we chose to see this as an opportunity to allow God to change us, not the situation or those individuals that were coming against us. We needed to forgive before the situation changed, needed to know this was really a promotion from God in our personal spiritual lives. I believe everyone will go through some kind of betrayal in their life at some point. Once you take your eyes off the Lord, you'll miss the prize of what He's wanting to do in your life through it. Side note… we use to live in Franklin, our kids went to FCS…. they graduated together.

  • http://www.kristerdunn.wordpress.com Krister

    My “plan b’s” started in 2008 when I was released by a company I had served for over 10 years without warning. A year and a half later I was eliminated as a sales organization reduced head count. 3rd career/industry/position in not quite as many years. But that’s just the professional. In my personal life my lack of focus on God allowed me to become someone I would have never thought I could be. I almost lost my family because of my actions, inactions, and the person I had become on the inside. I struggle to lead a very experienced team in a brand new industry. I am learning to lead my family, and myself, as God truly intended and wants me to. I’m finding that it is hard to lead through a crisis when the crisis – legitimately – is your fault. It’s hard to navigate plan b when it would not have been necessary, in some ways, if I had done things right the first time. I pray that my two sons will be open to learning through my story so they do not have to walk this road themselves.

    This is not flattery. I am fed consistently by you and Pete via your blogs. Thanks.

  • http://blog.zcorum.com Rick Yuzzi

    I was leading an inside sales team for a software company. I had only been at the company for about five months when it was announced that we were being acquired. The company acquiring us had a reputation for dismantling the companies they bought and "assimilating" the technology. Leading through the next three months was difficult, and trying to keep a team motivated with such uncertainty hanging over their heads was a challenge. I had to adjust my leadership style, and it actually it was for the better. When the acquisition was complete, I was let go (being relatively new didn't help), but my people were all okay–at least for a while. And, that guy that had to lead through those choppy waters came out of it a better leader.

  • http://laurabo.blogspot.com Laura Bowman

    i watched as Crosspoint stepped up and helped and was proud of you and the church. I agree that a crisis is a Plan B time. I am living in a Plan B time now as are others I know due to the economy, illness etc. I would love a copy of the book! Thanks

  • http://movethemountains.blogspot.com gandalf239

    For the longest time, I didn’t understand leadership–what it is, what it means. You see, I was raised without a dad, and my only mentor for much of my formative years was my mother. She worked two, sometimes three, jobs to keep a roof over our heads. She had a tremendous work ethic, but had absolutely no notion of how to pass that ethic on. God got ahold of my life when I was nearly 19, and He has been teaching me what it means to be a leader for the last 22 years. I’ve had to learn how to my wife’s protector, how lead my home in love, how model God’s love for my children. It isn’t easy, and I often feel many steps behind where I should be, but I press on. Thank You, Lord, for being my leader!

  • Lee Steels

    Do and Don’t for disasters:
    When disasters happen, DON’T blame God — but DO pray!
    Every year we hold our collective breath as hurricane season approaches. We can still see the remains of Charlie and Katrina in the Southern States. Earthquakes bury people in piles of rubble almost every year. Each spring brings floods as swollen rivers overflow their banks. We all feel sorrow and helplessness when these terrible events occur, and there seems to be no end to calamity at times. I read the following question numerous times in the newspaper: “How can God allow this to happen?” It’s a natural question for people to ask. I once heard a clergyman respond: “I’m afraid I just don’t have a good answer to that question.”
    I have an answer to the question. I believe that God does NOT directly interfere in human affairs. God does not dole out good things to some and bad things to others. We shouldn’t blame God for disasters. All events happen by chance. If I sincerely believe this, then do I believe in miracles and the power of prayer? If God doesn’t directly interfere in the world, why bother to ask HIM for anything? Is there any sense in praying? Absolutely! Can miracles really happen? Yes! I believe that when we desire a certain outcome and we pray for it, it has a greater chance of happening. When large numbers of people are praying, there is even a greater chance for a good result. Why? If we believe in and work for a good result, the God incarnate in all of us can work miracles through our LOVE. Love can heal. Love can cure. Prayers can be answered. Miracles can happen.

  • http://www.hopecitychurch.cc Brian Becker

    My wife and I felt we were destined to be incredible parents who could raise godly children and set an example of a healthy marriage and family…until we found out we couldn’t have children.

    For 8 years we lived in “Plan B” as our friends had children while we struggled through 3 miscarriages and numerous battles of infertility. It was however, the most life shaping time of our lives as we learned to depend on God for peace and purpose, and to enjoy the successes of others around us.

    Then a miracle happened 15 months ago and we had our first baby girl. Our “Plan B” ended up being God’s “Plan A” and we have never been so blessed. It’s like Christmas every single morning.

    Thank God for Plan B.

  • http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/davidandlisafrisbie David Frisbie

    We were doing community development in a crime-ridden urban neighborhood. I was drawing a small salary to serve as a church planter and lead pastor.

    We hit a budget crisis and had the choice: honor our financial commitments to our denomination OR keep paying me. I met with our board and offered to serve without pay "during the crisis". I insisted that my offer was conditional: we would need to pay all of our denominational assessments — or the deal was off.

    We met 100 percent of our obligations to everyone. I served without pay for 18 months. For another 18 months after that, my pay phased back "up" to the small level I had previously earned.

    In the long term, a leader's personal example matters more than the mantras she utters daily. Catch phrases, mission statements and other such theological posturing will change as often as leaders change, but the power of an example — for good or for bad — endures long after.

    Thanks for this guest post. Any post that quotes Max DePree is doing something right. :)

  • http://www.sarahgail.net Sarah

    I have learned that God truly gives us what we need at the moment we need it and no sooner. My job requires that I am a first line responder when college students are suffering some pretty big psychological issues. I have a master’s in EDUCATION! Yikes! This year I spent five hours with a girl on the edge of a schizophrenic episode. God provided me with the exact words to say at the exact moment they needed to be said and we were able to get her the help she needed.

  • Regina Jones

    I have seen crisis but not defined by a flood or natural disaster. My crisis was the lose of my father… divorced with two small children and trying to just keep it all together. In the scheme of things that may not seem like much of a crisis, but to me it was the end of the world as I knew it. At first I thought I could handle it all on my own, but I relized soon enough that I had to go to the source of my strength. I went to my knees and spent many hours there before I found my way to a new life. I have read Plan B and love the book.. I have shared my copy and would love to have another copy to share with someone else. I am so grateful for what I have learned through my Plan B and praise God everyday for the experience of watching Him provide in ALL circumstances.

  • http://tarheel810.wordpress.com Brian Payne

    The biggest leadership lesson I have had to learn over the years is to not allow the drama of other people involved in a crisis affect my decision-making. There have been times in the past that I have allowed myself to get caught up in the emotions of others who are dealing with the crisis and have made decisions based on the emotions that they have evoked in me. I have found that when I do that, most of the time I end up amending my decision or sticking by it, but regretting it. It is important as a leader to be empathetic to the feelings and emotions of others when I crisis occurs, but make sure the decisions you make are from sound reasoning and not the emotions.

  • ronswanson

    My biggest,so far, was the crisis of "I want a divorce".
    Ministry had become my mistress and those four words devastated me.
    After my futile attempts to (wrongly I might add) hold on to my plan A I came to realize I needed to:
    1. Come clean. It was not God's fault. It was mine. I had to repent to God and my wife. I had to be honest about who I had become and it was painful. Psalm 5. God needed my heart and so did my wife.
    2. Get help. I was not able to go thru this alone. I needed people who loved me to come alongside me and be honest about who I was and who God wanted me to be and what our marriage should be. And sometimes I just needed a hug.
    3. Stay healthy. Spiritually, emotionally and physically. Otherwise I would never be ready to do whatever God wanted to do next. This was very important for me.
    4. Make the most of this "opportunity". God wanted to make my marriage better not go back to the way it was. I needed to see this as an opportunity to become at least a better man.
    5. Realize a life and marriage restored isn't the end, and settle back in, it's the beginning!

  • Sara

    I've learned that even in crisis you have to let yourself feel. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in leading and holding it together for everyone else – we forget to allow ourselves feel, despite the fact that an emotion is often what has driven us to lead or go & do. My example… when a student unexpectedly died… I went & led talks with students, parents, and community members. It broke my heart and after trying to hold it together out of wanting to "be strong" for the others… I cried right along with them. Emotion is a universal expression of our inner feelings and I think it helps for the kids especially to know that I was sad too and just as devestated as they were. But together we could, and would, get through.

  • Bryan Bulmer

    Crisis handled well has alway brought better unity to my team/ group. I am a youth minister and we had the back axle break on our mini-bus on are way to camp 8 years ago. It seem like it was going to tear us apart has a group but it did more to bring unity and common purpose than anything we had ever experience before. I have seen that in many areas through out my ministry. Crisis handled well brings unity.

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

    My wife and I and our kids were relocating. Our house did not sell and did not sell and did not rent, etc. We actually had to live in different cities for a month, but at the time, we did not even realize how long it was going to be. But felt God leading us to do it. We were so discouraged. After experiencing our own Plan B, I just felt like the most holy God honoring thing we could do was keep going, persevere and not give up. So that's what we did and he was faithful. I think leadership is the same especially in Plan B situations. Just persevere and don't give up. Keep being faithful to God. That is all we are really responsible for, is to be faithful

  • KMV

    Absolutely loved the Plan B series…made all my friends listen to it!! It was very timely for my life. Now I can't wait to read the book.

  • Aaron Sellars

    In the midst of medical concerns for my daughter, it taught me to personally depend on God. As God healed my daughter, I was not aware of how much my understanding of God’s grace would help me to be an encouragement to other believers who eventually went through similar situations. Many a time have I learned that knowledge and wisdom must be passed on to others, whether this be through book, through teaching or divine life lesson.

  • Tina

    I would love to get a copy of this book!! It looks great. I went through a really tough time 2 years ago. And still struggle with it. I don't know how i would have made it without God in my life. I have clung to him through prayer, scripture and my friends/family. And have learned that we have to praise him even through the storm. PRAY PRAY PRAY!!

  • http://www.landofmysojourn.net/blog Rachelle/Sojourner

    The greatest leadership lesson I've learned from crisis is to just show up and let God work. I'm a missionary and I can't tell you how many excuses I hear whispered from the enemy and my own weak flesh, "You're not physically going to be able to do that," "Your language isn't good enough to communicate with them," "You don't fully understand the situation," "You don't know what you're doing – you ought to just stay out of the way and let someone else take care of it." I've learned that God can accomplish all that He desires if only I'm obedient to show up and say "here I am." I connected with all the points above, but especially with the one about ignoring reality. Thanks for posting.

  • Lisa Widener

    My family and I have been in one particular crisis for four years now. The best leadership lesson I have learned through this time has been to choose to stay positive! We have been able to influence our own family with this attitude, and we have been able to affect our friends, neighbors and now even the people that hear my husband speak. It hasn't brought resolution to our crisis, but it tells those around us that we believe God is in control and He has a plan!

  • http://facebook.com/alex.accornero Alex Accornero

    I would really like one. Thank you and God Bless!

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

    My leadership lesson: Discern when to act.

    I've got a wild side. Seriously, how many 48-year-old female black belts in karate do you know? Yes, I've learned to maim: rake eyes with fingernails, kick groin, elbow strike to spine.

    In ministry, however, a gentler touch works best. When challenged by a woman who didn't like a my decision on changing the day of Bible study, I explained the need. She balked and started her own study. I could have but didn't stop her study. Women in our church now had two days to participate in Bible study.

    I swallowed my pride. . .and avoided elbow strikes, side kicks to the knee, and sleeper holds. The big picture trumps my little one. (Still, I get sick joy knowing I couldn't have taken her. Ha!)

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

    I have learned a lot about leadership from my horses. What is true with my horses is often true with people, too. Before I had any horses of my own, I believed if I was nice they would "like me" and be nice in return. They would want to do things for me. Nothing could be further from the truth!

    These 1200 pound animals are wired to look for clear, calm, confident leadership. The best leader enables these animals (in the wild) not just to accomplish a goal, but to survive.

    I have watched the lead (or alpha) horse be what one famous horseman calls a "passive leader." The term "passive" is somewhat of a misnomer, however. This horse doesn't insist on leading the others, but because of his quiet confidence and quick ability to make decisions, others actually look to him for leadership (thus the term "passive"). He is actually quite kind to the others, offering to share his hay instead of always chasing the underling away.

    The nastiest, biggest, meanest horse may appear to be the leader because he kicks up the most dust, but none of the others want to follow him.

    The one they choose to follow is the one who they feel best with, where all is right in their world. This leader never lacks the ability or willingness to make decisions, but he doesn't make decisions for the sake of exerting his "authority," either.

    I practice what I have learned from watching them in my own interactions with the horses, too. If I allow my emotion to affect my handling of them and "get big" to prove a point, they get resentful (like some people). If I calmly, quietly, confidently move forward, with the energy the task requires, the horses respond and follow.

    I have learned that this works with people, too. Each of us has our part and I am clear about what that part is. I don't intentionally "kick up dust" to prove my "right to rule." But I don't hesitate to act when it is necessary, either. My desire is for the horses to sense confidence and clarity without the emotional baggage that previously came with my attempts to lead.

    I have tried the same approach with people–with success!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jcatron jcatron

    I was so proud to be lead by you and to lead with you during this crisis!

  • http://www.alphausa.org/portland Kirk Petersen

    I learned one of my best leadership lessons during my first month of ministry nineteen years ago. I had a family who announced to me that they were leaving the church because they couldn’t work under my leadership when I confronted them about comments they were sharing that felt like gossip. It was quite a blow for a young minister but my senior pastor and elders stood behind me and I learned – you can weather almost any storm/challenge/conflic in ministry when you have the support and are united with those in authority over you.

  • http://www.theriveroc.org BarbE

    God is more, when I am in crisis there is opportunity for growth in unexpected places, in God’like miraculous ways. THX for the offer.

  • Tony

    I have been through a few crisis in my life, one thing I would like to talk about here is the crisis in the church I pastor. Oh' No here we go again talking about church troubles, actually it is not what you would think. My church is a small country church in rural TN. It is without question the best church I have ever been a part of but when I became their pastor; me, my wife and kids were the only ones that attended that were under age 55. Friend, that to me is a sinking ship and a crisis. Quote me in saying I am not against anyone over 55, however unless a church has a younger generation present it will sink in the future. I presented them a plan (God inspired)as to where will this church be in 30 years and who will be here. I pointed out that based on the avg life span me, my wife and kids would be the only ones there. They received it and responded great. Now we are still a small country church in Rural TN, but we have more coming under 55, than over 55. I feel a lot better about the future of the church now and now we must continue to fulfill the great commission. I follow brother Pete on Twitter and really enjoy reading his post and look forward to reading Plan B and seeing how we might be able to apply it to our church and our life.

  • http://www.2tasks.com Jeff Gissing

    I’m a leader in a para-church ministry. Our last fiscal year saw giving drop significantly, which meant that the possibility of depressed salaries, reduced ministry expenses, and a huge increase in stress.

    I learned the importance of having a dual focus. As a leader I needed to be in touch with the reality we were facing as a ministry. Denial isn’t an option. At the same time, however, it was important not to become consumed by the crisis but to lead and manage for the future.

    We ended the year with a net gain in giving, but finishing with a manageable deficit. Not optimal, but not as bad as it could have been.

  • http://SourcesOfInsight.com J.D. Meier

    Very nice distillation and examples. They very much echoes the keys I've heard and the keys I've learned:

    * Embracing crisis – starts with reframing. It's turning those problems into challenges. When something goes significantly wrong, people are trying to make meaning. They look to leaders. An effective leader first connects by showing they get the problem and they feel the pain. Next, they paint a future picture that connects to people's values. Finally, they show a path to get there and lead by example.

    * Responding quickly – this means taking action, even in the midst of ambiguity. The ineffective leader continues to wait until they have all the information, and inevitably falls into analysis paralysis. The effective leader starts making progress on the problem, learning and responding as they go. The forward momentum builds, but more importantly, the leader gains insight into what's working and what's not.

    * Inviting collective wisdom – as Ken Blanchard says, "none of us is as smart as all of us." The ineffective leader thinkgs they have to have all the answers. The effective leader asks the right questions, involves the right people, and can put together a bigger map from the pieces. It's about getting curious, building multiple perspectives, and testing assumptions.

    * Be willing to sacrifice first – as a friend put it to me long ago, "Don't ask people to do what you won't do yourself." This also shows the difference between being committed versus just involved.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mattfmartin Matt

    When I was 22 years old I was devastated by a disease that required life-changing surgery. I learned how to keep hope and faith in the face of potiental death. I learned to have patience becuase progress is a daily activity that builds on itself over years. I also learned that life is a gift and to be thankful for what God has given you.
    Read more about my story here: http://www.j-pouch.org/success_martin.html

  • http://amazinglovecreations@blogspot.com Sherry Coggins

    Yours was one of the several things I read this morning that is helping me to see the light and to remember the vision that God has for me. Thank you for following your heart and living in obedience so that others can find their own way, LIKE ME! :)
    I am anxious to read this book and to further find my way on my journey.

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

    One of the best leadership lessons I learned came at a time of staff crisis. A position had been opened that people were trying to fill. It became competitive as people began backbiting and tearing down others. At the counsel of some mentors I decided to not to join in, but, to wait patiently. It didn't go unnoticed and, without applying I received the position. I learned very quickly the value of patience and of honoring those around me rather than tearing them down.

  • Todd Conant

    Working in hard hit areas around the world, I have learned that in the midst of the chaos or disaster, I can't do everything. I want to help everyone and fix everything, but I am unable. I've learned that I need to wade in and do something though. Help at least one person, affect change in one household, fix on thing, and most of all, know that Christ is working in this all. That He is still in control. As it's easy to get overwhelmed, keeping the midset of helping at least somewhere is important.

    As well, I've learned that in a crisis, I need to be a person who mobilizes others with me, so that everyone can do their part in helping at least one person or doing one thing. The more we pull together, the more can be done.

    And directing people's hearts to the God that loves them in this all is key. That's why this book is helpful…in crisis and pain, grabbing ahold of God's heart in all the pain and disappointment is key, and we as ambassadors of Christ need to be directing hearts and minds towards the love of the Father, and his ability to be there in the midst of it all.

  • Jared

    About a year into my 1st/current pastorate, there was a new ministry idea brought up in our church that had lots of support, but also lots of opposition because it would mean a change in our Sunday schedule. After weeks of discussion, we put it to a vote. It was highest Sunday night attendance this church has ever seen, and it was all due to the "oppostion" coming out of the woodwork to vote against the new idea. A few took turns speaking their mind, attacking the idea and me personally. After several uncomfortable minutes and comments, I stopped the discussion, and we voted. The result was a not in favor of the new idea, and most of those who showed up that night to vote against it have not been back on a Sunday night since. Many in our congregation, myself and my family included, were hurt, discouraged, and just plain mad. I got home, I yelled, I vented, I cried, I prayed, and I realized that God's work in this church was not over. Monday morning, I sent out a church-wide email encouraging the discouraged to forgive, love, strive for unity, and continue to serve because there is still work to be done. From that whole episode I learned perseverance, and the deep, personal truth of Romans 5:1-5.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/beckyk1114 Becky

    I think the biggest lesson I ever learned in about leadership, although it seemed to take it forever to get though my thick scull, is that GOD surrounds a leader with the people they need because being a leaders is more the job of bringing people together with all the talents and gifts needed to make any given project or ministry work and setting an example of standard. A leader isn't the person with all the answers that everyone caters too.

  • Lacey

    As a newly college grad here outside of Nashville, I've been lucky not to have faced many crisis in my life. However, the Nashville flooding was an opportunity for me to step up in my own little way. Our home was unaffected from the flood, but our pastor's house was (though not near as bad as many). His basement was under a foot of water and mud. The day after the flood my Mom and I wanted to just help. He posted his facebook status that they were covered in mud… and several offered their help that he politely declined. However, my Mom and I didn't ask. We picked them up dinner for later that night, put on old clothes, grabbed our wetvac and cleaning supplies…. and just showed up. We worked the whole day cleaning his basement. It looked as if nothing had happened by the end of the day! We continued to help in the next few weeks, through our church and Hands-On Nashville, but that's what sticks out in my mind. Not waiting to be asked…. but GOING.. being His hands and feet. Thanks for reading. (@laceyfran)

  • http://aboyandhisgod.blogspot.com/ Chris

    “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’m the same way. I find a leadership book more exciting than any fiction book.

    Achievement can be attained through crisis. Why?

    i’ve come to 3 conclusions about crisis:

    1. We learn what not to do next time. We become smarter.

    2. We learn resilience. We know how to stand against resistance.

    3. We learn faith. We learn to trust in God for what we cannot do on our own.

    Unrealistic idealism says that you will succeed without any problems, without a moment of crisis. Realistic idealism says, “Before I arrive, there will be problems. I am going to fail and things can go wrong. How can I best prepare myself when the crisis hits? How can I leverage the crisis to grow myself and my followers?”

    I applaude dedication and dreams. I encourage you to keep trying. I want you to know that your past and current failed attempts to move forward are only momentary. They will pass.

    Finally, remember the advice of James.

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

  • http://www.pinprickoflight.blogspot.com/ Sara rassler

    Having just graduated from high school, most of my leadership positions were at my school. I had to lead through many mini-crises; (I say mini, but at the time they were pretty important) whether it be needing a truck to pull our parade trailer fifteen minutes before the parade, having it snow a foot the day before planned outdoor pep-rally activities, or having half of the student body go into an uproar against a decision that a committee made.

    I never even learned the most important thing I’ve learned from leading others through a crisis until this year. For six years I had been leading my peers, but I still spent the first five minutes of every crisis panicking.

    This year, I learned to plan for crisis. Most of the time, there was a different crisis than the one I planned for, but just knowing that I had a backup plan made everything that much easier. Other than planning for a crisis, I also asked others for help.

    In the past, I had figured everything out on my own — if something was going to get done, I would do it so it would be done right. This year, though, I asked my “followers” what crisis they would plan for and how they would get through it, and when a different crisis struck, we brainstormed together.

    I’ve learned many things from leading –and following– in my short life, but this is definitely the most important thing I’ve learned so far as a leader. I’m only 18, though, so I still have a whole lifetime ahead of me to learn.

    Also– Thanks for this opportunity, and thanks for taking time out of your busy day to write a blog. I love reading everything you have to say.

  • Matt

    Pete, I've recently started viewing your blog daily and I'm now a fan! I appreciate your heart and your transparency in what you share. The Lord bless you brother.

  • Drake Hawkins

    I have just recently discovered the Without Wax blog and I can't wait to hopefully win a copy of the book!

  • http://terrywinch.com Terry Winch

    How is it that I have chosen to put these two levels of human emotion together? Don't they contradict each other? Are we about to begin a silly chasing of words around the page until we just set this article down and miss "connecting the dots" of just how they might converge in a new and eye-opening kind of way? Actually, stumbling across this idea many years ago has kept me afloat during some very hurtful, disappointing, and potentially disillusioning and faith weakening times. These times come across ALL of our paths, so this is not a plea for the "poor old me" autobiographical wallowing. Rather, it is a simple concept that, once caught, is a true life saver and a genuine source of joy that doesn't ever seem to give TOO much room to all of our inevitable pre-wallowing gyrations.
    In the most direct way I know how to say this I have to say that when it seems that the very life has been drained out of us there is a unique moment that we face. Our access to the Lord seems closer and less prone to distraction at that moment than when we are getting things just like we want them or have just closed as the victor in any number of life's many winning moments. Those times of "riding high" on a great wave of progress are certainly times to acknowledge that God is the source of that time of blessing. In the same breath we must see that moments that are empty and without hope are the genesis of another, and no less wonderful, time of blessing.
    For the farmer who prays for rain on the same day as the Sunday School class in the farmer's town is praying for perfect weather for their picnic…………who wins, who is right, and how do we make sense out of whatever that outcome is? Is one blessed and the other not blessed depending on that outcome? In the same way, meeting our Lord at that empty spot where our heart breaks and hope seems so distant is SO private, SO pure, and SO at the glorious and welcoming edge of His grace. Our capacity to bask in renewed hope in that empty moment is SO much right at our fingertips. Let's not miss that beautiful opportunity when we find ourselves empty and broken yet wonderfully in tune with a moment that can energize us and give us an unmatchable hope and exhilaration. That pure and fantastic moment can occur ONLY in that emptiness……………..no distractions, just you and Him.

  • Phil Hoffman

    I was recently taken to court for having a Plan B … serious, expensive, & stressful. I was working with a company that discovered an embezzlement & miss-filing of taxes that put the company into a hole financially. Knowing the history of the owners handling of previous challenges I felt it best to have a Plan B during the unprecedented recessionary times. I wanted to be sure my fellow workers & myself had something to fall back on. The owners learned of my Plan B & took it wrong … I was terminated immediately — no discussions. After dealing with the shock of being terminated I took my Plan B & made it into Plan A. I now have a business of my own & the management team at my former employer wanted to join me … and have. We are into our fourteenth month during tough times & having a fun time. Challenges are hard, financing tough, but we are all happier & engaged & involved in everything. We face our brutal facts every week & look forward to working out of these challenging times. One positive impact is finding a closer & more meaningful daily relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. BTW the judge ruled in our favor on all points presented in a Preliminary Injunction hearing that was long & costly.

  • Jonathan

    Recently within the last 90 days, my father passed away which left my mother alone with considerable financial and household challenges ahead of her. I am the youngest of 5 children and each of us has considerable skill. We had one week with her at her house to wrap our minds not only around the grief filling our lives, but also seeing the full situation and trying to find the creative solutions. Considering my industry (credit and mortgage), my father and mother often came to me for advise so I took the initiative of weaving through my father's bookkeepping to discover the depth of my mother's challenges and trying to relate them to my siblings and my mother. She now has to live on a fourth of the income they had together. All of us have been trying to help in every way we can and I have embraced my role and try to make sure I keep looking for the creative input of my siblings.

  • http://mirrorsandwindowsnow.blogspot.com/ Alicha

    Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would? I’ve found the four points of your blog apply to the Christian walk, even when we aren’t called to be leaders. Thanks for the reminder. I wrote more about it on my blog.

  • Angie Weldy

    Over time I have learned that I don't have to be the CEO to make a difference in a crisis. I do my best to keep my eyes and ears open and to be prepared so that if a problem occurs I can step in and help right away. Fifteen years ago the crisis was a pregnant teenager at a conference that needed to go to the hospital. I had memorized the route to the local hospital the night before just in case. These days a crisis might be getting a 5,000 piece mailing out the door in 48 hours. I just want to do my best to be ready for whatever comes my way.

  • http://www.salvasquez.com sal

    Working with young people in ganges I learned many lessons while in crisis situations! The one I will share now is the time my organization was brought in by the police force to help deal with the areas gang problems. We would set up street concerts where our team would put on really great shows with rap music, R&B, and break dancing. After we lead people in with the music I would close the night out with my story with a similar background to theirs. One night the one gang surrounded our entire team and were looking to start a fight and jump some of the young people that were performing. I became very aware of what was going on and immediately started to clear our team out of their and into our vans for safety. We still had all of our equipment out their and I know I needed to do something to diffuse the situation, so I went out to talk with the young people, and was able to gain their favor and stop any violence that was about to happen.. The way I did it and the lessons that I learned were:

    1. I trusted my natural instinct when everything was going so fast and at the same time it seemed like I was moving in slow motion. I learned to always trust my natural reactions in circumstances like that.

    2. I was able to meet them on their level and then bring them to where I was at.. I learned to use my strengths of influence and meet the young people where they were at and then gradually bring them to where I was. I knew if was able to gain their favor I would be able to stop the attack on our team. So I learned to trust my God given strengths in critical situations.

  • Mike W

    Thanks for the book. Great comments on Leadership. The problem with leadership is that almost everybody knows how to do it, but hardly anybody takes the action.

  • Charlie H.

    Just because there is a crisis around you doesn't mean you need to match its intensity by being chaotic yourself. Having worked in the human service field for 5 years (homeless shelters, drug rehab, wilderness therapy program, other) I've found when there is a crisis to remain calm and level headed and don't get dis-regulated yourself. This only perpetuates the situation, and will inspire chaos in others. Some say drastic times call for drastic measures, so therefore extreme situations means you need to be extreme too, but that doesn't justify getting all worked up. Staying calm, the best you can muster, will keep you feeling like the earth is still shaking and you can get a good view on things.

  • http://www.billcahusac.net Bill Cahusac

    Perfectly timed. Thank you so much. When Plan A came crashing down it was like the day the music died. Getting excited about Plan B is knowing I will sing again. And in the distance I can hear a melody rising….

  • Adrienne

    What I learned from crisis: While I'm definitely not a fan of crisis, God has used that as an opportunity for personal growth and a way to put muscle to my faith. I was laid off twice last year and I must say that the cumulative 6 months I was out of work I was quite joyful. Why? Because (no. 1) I knew God had a plan for me and in HIS perfect timing I would have another job. I learned not worry about how to make a car payment and if my house would go into foreclosure. I learned to take care of TODAY and let him take care of the tomorrows. I also saw that time was a gift from God and I used it to serve all summer in kids' ministry. As a new Christian, I knew I could learn a lot about scripture on a child's level and I gained so much through VBS, overnight camp and day camps at The People's Church. So I say "Thank You Lord for the opportunity to lose two jobs last year! (I make it a point to lead by example, the same way I spread the good News of Jesus Christ)

  • http://thelifeofmisty.blogspot.com misty

    I experienced a challenge of a small crisis last Thursday. I am an Accounting Manager, Administrative Assistant and Office Manager, consequently since I wear many hats, a lot of things end up being judgement calls. Thursday, I received alerts that the C drive on the server had reached maximum capacity and needed fixing immediately or loss of data and/or connectivity would result. My boss had recently instructed me to not log any calls with our outsourced IT department without first getting permission or approval from him as he wanted to decrease the expenses we incure with them each year. I tried to get him by phone and by text message, but was not successful. I researched what available space we had left, less than 100mb and knew I had to make an exectutive decision or our office and remote offices would be impacted significantly and I could not risk 25 people unable to work because of a small mistake.

    • http://thelifeofmisty.blogspot.com misty

      (continued) I contacted our IT company, explained the problem, asked them what needed to be done, how long it would take and if they had time to get this done for me. After discussion I made the decision with them to do what they had to do immediately to not disrupt workflow but not to do the big fix until I was able to get clearance from my boss. I knew this might cost me a reprimand or further verbal lashing, maybe even my job, but I knew it had to be done or I might be subject to another type of reprimand, the one for not doing something and being a proactive manager.

      • http://thelifeofmisty.blogspot.com msity

        (continued) I made a judgement call and did what I believed was in the best interest of the company and got us out of our immediate crisis. I updated my boss the next morning on the whole situation and let him know that because I couldn't get ahold of him I had to make a decision promptly. I did not receive a thank you, but neither did I receive a reprimand. I know I did the right thing.

        • http://thelifeofmisty.blogspot.com misty

          (continued) I realize this is small in comparison to the example you used, but we each face challenges each and every day and have to make judgement calls. How we handle them impacts a lot of people. How we respond impacts our own demeanor. Thanks for sharing some great thoughts!

          • http://thelifeofmisty.blogspot.com misty

            (continued) I read about this offer on Facebook from Michael Hyatt and have posted a link on my Facebook page. I read and follow his blog all the time. I find much of it interesting, helpful, insightful and encouraging. Thanks Michael!

  • http://www.facebook.com/this.is.the.new.surrender Eric Brasure

    Perhaps the greatest lesson I had to learn and am continuing to learn through the course of the May 2nd flood was consistency. Great leaders are rarely a flash in the pan, but rather an enduring bulwark of resolve and diligence. What most struck me as our small group visited homes torn apart by the flood, was not the damage itself, though it was shocking. No, it was the desperate cry that homes had for community and for relationship.

    As we endeavoured to build relationships I found that these houses had been void of such community for years and it had taken this catastrophe for true neighbours to rise to the occasion. What had risen to the surface was not just the refuse of the flood, but years and years of pain, mistrust, broken and torn relationships; and it would take the constant concerted effort of a community of faith to make these houses homes once again. As the saying goes people won't know that you care until you show them that you care. And to offer an addendum to that statement, you show them not once, not twice but consistently and frequently. The lesson of the flood is one I will not soon forget.

  • Michelle

    A mentor once told me I am one of the most surprised leaders he knows. He tells me I'm a leader and I lead well, but I have trouble believing it. I am always trying to read and learn and grow. I have learned that there is always something new to be learned from others. Never stop learning. I have also learned that crises either bring out the best or the worst in a leader. Truth be known, I am in a little bit of a crisis at the moment and am having to re-evaulate my goals. I am heading into Plan B.

  • Lori Bernard

    In the largest crisis I’ve ever been in to date, which was losing my husband & home in a fire, I quickly learned to ACCEPT HELP. I am usually everyone’s “go to” person in crisis. I hop to! In my moment, I wanted to take care of everything. That included the care of our four children under the age of 10, finding a new home, furnishings, planning a funeral & all this without the support of my best friend & partner in life. Luckily I have great friends that just shake me a bit and hey, HEY WE’RE HERE TO HELP. They didn’t take no for an answer & just showed up. It was really a moment of letting go for me. And isn’t that how we so many times are with God? He just wants us to LET GO, and he can take care of it, but we so want to just do it ourselves. What a lesson.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Kevin_Martineau Kevin_Martineau

    Be calm. I think that a leader needs to be a calming presence in the midst of a crisis.

  • http://kennedytapestry.blogspot.com StacyK

    Thank you all SO much for this opportunity!!! During our five (ongoing) years of infertility, I have constantly reminded myself that God doesn't have a "Plan B"… and so the title of Pete's book is certainly intriguing! I would love to win a copy… and if I do, I promise to pass it on to someone else who needs it almost as much as I do:)

  • Kevin Jack

    When we struggled with the Moral failure of a pastor we learned that despite everyones desire to everything that information should be communicated to those directly affected and people who need to know every detail are doing so to use that information to hurt and not help

  • http://www.jasonyarborough.com Jason Yarborough

    I’m actually on my Plan B. After getting laid off from a career path I’ve been on the last several years I feel a shift in direction. The path I feel I’m going down is one that is something I never thought I would do and something I need extreme belief in myself. In a sense my plan B was really the plan all along. Just took an act of getting laid off to realize it. I’m interested in reading what Pete has written in regards to going down the Path of your Plan B.

  • http://jwillowb.blogspot.com Jamie Willow

    great blog post. can't wait to read Plan B!

  • Kim Cook

    I have already read Pete's book once, and I am on my second pass. It is, without a doubt, one of the most revolutionary approaches to REAL Christian life I have read in a great while. Having lost my job last year and suffering through several family crises, this book has helped me put it all in perspective. Since completing the book, I have come across others that the book would benefit – out-of-nowhere divorce, work issues, etc. I can't give them all the book, I could give it to at least one of them …. And while you're at it, my brother, @KitPalmer gave me his copy… He deserves another one to give away. :)

  • http://www.firefliesandhummingbirds.net Chrissy

    I have already read – and loved – Pete's book, but I'd love another copy to give as a gift! I'm planning on giving my copy to a friend, but it'd be nice to be able to keep it for myself and give her a brand new one! :)

  • http://mattbeardblog.com Matthew Beard

    A couple of years ago I lost my dad to cancer. I had never expected to be fatherless at 23 so needless to say it was a huge crisis and a faith shaking moment for me. Even now I still feel the effects of it. At the time, I was leading the college age group at my church and they were now looking at me to see how I would react. In a sense, I was also waiting to see my reaction. By the grace of God (I say that because I could never have done it on my own) I had the chance to preach my father’s funeral and proclaim to people the hope that is found in Jesus Christ. Looking back, that whole situation is not a testimony to me but to the One who lives in me. From that experience, I learned to always lean into my Savior because it’s only by His power and love that we have the ability to hold forth hope when our faith is shaken.

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

    I think that Pete's recommendations regarding opening yourself up to collective wisdom during crisis is absolutely gold. Unfortunately as leaders, we often think that people expect us to have all the answers so we succumb to the pressure to pretend like we have a perfect, or in church circles even "divine" plan or solution. This pressure is compounded in the midst of a crisis. When I was a high school student, I went to a church student ministry that was dynamic and growing, and had powerful student leaders, who were given opportunities to lead and serve in profound ways. in 2002, as a senior, one of our student leaders died in a car accident. It shook the group and even our entire school in deep ways. However in our sorrow we found the opportunity to lean into each other and grow together and even unify our school around the legacy of this incredible student leader and the cause he devoted his life to, Jesus Christ. In the one year more student came to Christ on our secular high school, because of Blake's story than in any of the 3 previous years I had been there. Opportunities to serve and love our campus abounded, because of the crisis that his death brought. Rob Bell says in "Drops Like Stars," that in crisis, we are forced to re-imagine the future. The future that we had expected or planned for in now no longer an option. This in a sense, is the essence of Plan B leadership… helping people through the process of re-imagine their future. Excited for Pete's book to expand my thoughts on this topic!

  • Israel Tapia

    Well I am confident that just the title of this book "Why Plan B is Often your greatest Opportunity as Leader" is already messing me up! :-). Three years ago I prepared great plans to plant a Multicultural Church in a median size city and now I might be moving in the Plan B direction. God bless you.

  • http://www.shariluebbert.blogspot.com Shari

    What a great post! Thanks for sharing, Pete! Much of what I've learned mirrors what you and others have already posted.

    A few things I've learned in crisis:
    1. Get on my knees. God freely gives us wisdom (James 1:5), and I need it big time!
    2. When people are involved, there are no formulas! We're all so unique & each circumstance is different. If I try to apply what I did a couple of weeks ago with that other person, I can really mess things up, so I'd better see #1 above to know how to help in this particular situation.
    3. Remember why I'm here: to love others as Jesus loves them. When I remember that, I maintain stamina and I have joy and purpose in the crisis.

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

    Amazing job leading Cross Point volunteers in the recovery efforts. I look forward to reading more in depth your ideas on leadership. The Bible is filled with moments of crisis and how God works through them to shape us and the world around us. God's plan in using crisis hasn't changed one bit from Noah and the Flood, it's still true today! I got my first taste of God using crisis to shape my life when I was a college student home for Christmas break in Panama during the US invasion. My parents were not able to come home except for a few hours on Christmas Eve during those two weeks, and so when I was asked to go out and help write a first-person article for the military newspaper I jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know that I would be driving into snipper fire and caught with a line cars with frozen drivers. The next thing I know I was the lead car of a caravan driving out of that hot spot. Having the courage to move forward and allow God to use you is the often the most difficult and rewarding leap into leadership.

  • Michael Whitcomb

    As I think about different challenges in my ministry, I believe your point about accepting other’s help is vitally important. Oftentimes it takes more humility to accept help than it does to give it. I have found that God has equipped His church in such a way that answers to problems can be found through the varying members of the church. There is no one person who has all the answers and it is relieving to know that in a moment of intense crisis, we can rely on other Christians to shoulder the load with the help of the Holy Spirit.

  • http://www.teamcummings.com Pnny Cummings

    During the Hurricanes of 2004 & 2005, we learned several leadership lessons … we are a direct sales home based business and we do our business from home and in the homes of others. During the hurricanes, many of our homes were badly damaged or destroyed here in South Florida. Our home, homes of our team members and homes of our clients. It's during a crisis you really do find out what you are made of … to persevere or quit. I adapted Lance Armstrong's quote "pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever".
    Leadership lessons learned:
    1) Service – the service you give before a crisis determines the clients you will keep during a crisis.
    2) Trust – the trust you've earned before the crisis, determines whether or not your team following you
    will follow you during the crisis
    3) Authenticity – it's important to be authentic during a crisis … acknowledge everyone where they are at and let them know where you are at. And then lead by genuine example
    4) integrity – how you do the little things in the crisis is how you do everything. It's when you squeeze the tube you find out what's inside.
    5) Respect – during the challenges of a crisis, that the respect you've given, you get

    … and mostly to reflect on what the learning was from this situation. It's in the "situations" of life we grow the most. it's when you choose to walk in faith rather than fear knowing God really does "work ALL things together for good for those who believe"

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/acLewBert Albert L.

    My leadership lesson: discerning when to lead and when to step back to let others lead.

    I walked into my drama ministry meeting a week before our scheduled performance, only for us to realize we had no workable script. Usually, the team would look to me to initiate, to come up with ideas and answers — they would simply support and follow. It was easy, but there was no growth.

    But I saw an opportunity of growth for this crisis.

    I set forth our goal that lies before us, but I nominated two members to take charge of leading us there. And they had my full support. You should have seen the light in their eyes when given this moment. It's like I tapped into this unspoken, unrivaled energy to try something different. Within the weeks' time and many hours of hard work, stress, and prayer, our team's performance was a great success. This was years ago before I moved on from the ministry, but they are still there…running the race set out for them.

    A leader invites others to help lead the story with him and beyond.

  • john

    This was a great reminder of what we need to do as Christians. We are to be involved in peoples lives. I am so glad to see the believers at Cross Point are stepping forward. This is inspirational.

  • http://russbutcher.com Russ Butcher

    On March 19, 1998 a tornado tore through the mountains of North Georgia creating millions of dollars of damage and killing 13 people of a variety of ages. I was a youth pastor in the small town of Clermont, Georgia that lies in between Gainesville and Cleveland. We became a critical supply center and refuge for the many people impacted by this tragic storm in our community. I learned many lessons regarding disaster relief and leading people while responding in a crisis but the greatest lesson I learned the morning the tornado ripped through our small bedroom community changed my entire perspective of leadership and ministry.

    My heartbeat as a leader is to remain focused on Jesus’ mission of redemption and hope for His lost sheep.

    Of the many homes I visited and checked on that surreal morning, the most daunting stop was at a small mobile home community that consisted of a half dozen trailers. As I drove up the small ridge you could sense the panic of people as the rushed over the hill. As I topped the hill, you could see where the tornado had lifted a mobile home off its foundation and literally smashed it into a small pond. The trailer had come completely apart. People were frantically searching for a 12 year old girl names Whitney. Everyone else was accounted for. I was invited to join the search.

    We combed through the debris desperately searching for this precious girl, hoping to find her and save her. We found Whitney’s body but it was too late to save her.

    I walked away that morning with the profound sense that God desires us to live our lives sharing God’s love, grace and mercy with the same desperate state of mind toward those yet convinced of His love for them. Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep and how the shepherd left the “99” to go find the “one”. We live around people everyday that are physically alive but spiritually are just as lost as little Whitney was that morning of the storm.

    I will see Whitney again one day in heaven, but God has led me to be a leader that ensures many more will join me in eternity.

    Every day as a leader is a day leading in crisis. Eternity is at stake and God invites us to join Him in His plan and process of redemption!

  • http://melanie-journey.blogspot.com Melanie

    During my first "leadership" position, at the age of 19, I learned a lesson that has carried me through many leadership crisis points in my life. That summer, I was a young college student, serving as a camp counselor at Redwood Camp, Mount Hermon. Our leadership phrase became "Go with the flow".

    Now, 39 years later, I know that any position God allows me to serve in may not work out as planned, but if I am fluid and willing to move and follow as the Spirit leads – He does great things during the unexpected and even crisis moments.

    Since that summer, I have been fully encompassed in ministry and leadership. I was a speaker at Women's retreats and conferences. One retreat, a listener asked a question and I was faced with the decision of whether to stick with my own outline or go with the flow. I went with the flow of the Holy Spirit and he moved and worked among the audience that day in ways I couldn't have imagined.

    I attended several writers conference at Mount Hermon, was published in Discipleship Journal, and had a manuscript in the hands of an editor that was very excited about my book. But he wanted it more "interactive". So, again, I went with the flow, and reworked my whole manuscript – and again God created something much better than I had planned.

    I loved my life and ministry – even when these challenges were sent my way. But I was yet to face the worst crisis, the most unexpected change in plans possible. Every area of my ministry – my church leadership, my speaking, and my writing were all taken away from me.

    Eight and a half years ago I became sick. And it is an illness that has progressed to a point that, more often than not, I listen to sermons online – being unable to attend church. I've had to quite my speaking because I don't have the strength to plan and spend weekends away from home speaking and counseling women. My manuscript tumbled to the ground as the editor suddenly changed jobs and publishing houses. As I progress in illness, I find my brain affected. It is like taking a long run, just to write this comment. How do you "Go with the flow" in a situation like this? How in the world was God going to use me now?

    As I have struggled through these questions, I have learned that "Go with the flow" is exactly what I needed. If I had not been willing to follow His flow – I would be stuck in a mire of anger and despair. Instead, I have experienced God's Holy Spirit flowing me from ministry to ministry – even when this illness stripped me of my public ministry! I could write several more paragraphs about the many things God has placed before me… mostly online, mostly one-one-one, and often in areas I never ever thought I would be led to!

    Most of the ministries he flows me to are short termed… and I am always tempted to throw my hands up in despair as each one ends. But I must remind myself of how faithful he has been to flow me into areas where I can be his light – even at the depth of this illness.

    "Go with the flow" is my leadership insight, but why did I want to share it, in order to possibly win Pete's book "Plan B"? Because though I know the concept, I need reminders and I need to learn more about how to live when life doesn't work out the way I planned.

    Thank you for this giveaway.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

    Somehow I have still not read this book, but I hope to do that soon. Maybe even win it here so that I can read and learn about plan b.

    One big thing I have learned in crisis is that nothing is worse then reflecting on the past and complaining. Moving forward is what you need to be about.

  • http://www.deegospelpr.com Dee Stewart

    I've learned to become very still inside. Having a prayer hygiene helps me get there. This week I'm dealing with a professional crisis that I have no control over, that I have a solution for, but the deal maker won't budge. I've prayed and the hard part now is staying still, so that I can allow God to do his work. Often times I want to jump the gun and get it done, but I know from experience that I need to be still and wait for my change to come. This thing will work out! Great post and great book. I'm excited about this book.

  • Phil

    I have learned that, "If He Brings You To It, He'll Bring You Through It". "They That Wait Upon The Lord, Shall Renew Their Strength". To "Let Go And Let God". All of these phrases are true. Sometimes, it is difficult to have FAITH. Proverbs 3:5-6 has been my "Faith" scripture at many Crossroads in my life. Without Him I'd Surely Fail.

  • http://www.upwordlook.com Rick Dobrowolski

    I am looking forward to reading Pete's insights after God took him through this experience as a church.

  • sealth

    I've worked with different organizations planning for crisis situations and developing disaster recovery plans to be ready for a contingency. One recurrent issue that not all organizations (and it can also be applied to people) are aware of is the great importance of being ready for a situation like this.
    We are not made to be ready to respond to critical situations, as we are not used to them and our brain just does not know what to do. That's why it is crucial to think about these situations before they happen, to plan for them and make everybody around aware of the chance that something like this may occur to you (and not just to some people that you watch on TV during dinner time).
    Once the disaster has occurred, everything is simpler (as simple as it can be) if everybody around knows the role he/she is playing and has in mind the steps being taken to get back to a normal situation.
    All this planning helps, but once the disaster has occurred, the people leading the situation and taking decisions are the ones who can really make a difference. Make sure these people in charge are the right ones!

  • http://cristianodelunes.blogspot.com Andrés Herrera

    I would say that as a teenager I experienced my firt crisis that led me to become a better leader or probably that was my first experience as a leader. I was 12 when my parents divorced and my family dinamics changed completely. As the oldest brother I had to adjust to taking care of my baby brothers, being in the middle of my parents, get good grades and live all the changes that becoming a teen meant.

    I had many mixed feelings regarding my parents and their constant fighting. I took many new responsabilities that I did not need to take. I learned to be an example for my brothers and I helped my family in the middle of a big and painful crisis. The important lesson was to listen. It sounds simple but being in the middle of two groups of people that hated eachother required me to listen to a lot and respect their feelings and opinions, even if most of the times I did not agree with them.

  • http://www.acts2uthpastor.com Jerome Coleman, Jr

    I wouldn't call it a crisis, per se – nobody died or was injured. But, in April 1999, I became a Christian. I was attending this church for right at 4 months when there was an issue that was exposed. The church went through this huge fight and then a huge split. At the time, I was 14 years old and a new Christian. I can tell you a church fight/split was not on my Top 10 Things I Want To Do As A New Christian list. It was very difficult. There were times when, as a youth, I didn't know how to handle the leadership of the church that was causing problems. How to process a moral failure in the church. I didn't,even, know what to do or say.

    A few months latter, the youth pastor left, not involved with the above issue of immorality. So, the youth group was left without a pastor and the youth pastor. Since, it wasn't part of my "Plan A" new Christian experience, I had to let God lead me into a "Plan B" new Christian experience. I ended up alright. I have some scars to prove the battle and the mistakes I made along the way. Now, I am a Full-Time Youth Pastor who remembers that day and tries to instill in the youth the skills I learned as a very young leader. With that said, I would love to have the book "Plan B" for further insight into this leadership journey I am on.

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

    I'm leading in the midst of crisis right now. The economic climate of the past two years has radically changed the way the church where I am on staff functions. Of course the finances of the church have an immediate impact on the finances of its staff. Our people want and need to be guided through this difficult time, and they will trust my ability to do that in part, because they can see the manner in which I am navigating this personally. This is not what was on the plan for our church or for me personally. And my temptation has been to try and replace the existing plan, which was developed over a long period of time, with an equally comprehensive "new plan." What I am learning, is that leading through a crisis is less about the big picture and more about the individual brushstrokes. Rather than allowing myself to succumb to the paralysis of needing to do everything right I only need to do the next thing right. And over time, out of those single brushstrokes, applied one after the other, consistently, with care, a new picture begins to emerge.

  • Lenny Monroe

    Right now.. in the midst of crisis, we are reevaluating everything, trying to sift the urgent from the important and all the while be the example our children need to see. True crisis brings out the character that you hope is within, and you trust that character is the one you desire . Many are going through much bigger and drastic challenges than we are, but through all of this we have one constant that never changes…Christ. For that we are grateful…the gift we didn't deserve. thank you for your post.
    God bless and keep you
    Lenny Monroe

  • Chris

    My greatest lesson learned during a crisis has been one of coming to the end of myself.

    The moment when I've reached the bottom – my 'resources' have been emptied (patience, endurance, abilities, etc) and I've seen, perhaps for the first time, the endless supply of aid from God. The wisdom He offers, the love He gives, the strength He pours out – He gives what is needed.

    Chris in Canada

  • http://www.lbdestino.com Daniel Becerra

    I have learned to "stay behind" during a crisis. I would be often be the one to seek a solution, work on it for a good amount of time, and then present it to my team. Since my team "liked" me, and often were afraid of putting me in a bad mood, they would usually agree with my idea. After bad decision and bad decision, I realize that my mind and heart alone could not solve all the problems, so I began to "stay behind" the scenes. I assigned one of the leaders in my team to facilitate discussions while I simply sat "behind the scenes" and LISTENED. For several meetings, I only spoke once or twice per meeting, not to give my opinion, but to get clarification. The results were ASTOUNDING. People felt more committed, alive, and re-energized from these type of meetings. If there is ever a lesson for me to share is to learn to "STAY BEHIND" a few times.

  • http://www.bobhostetler.com Bob Hostetler

    I spent the first twenty-four years of my ministry with a crazy idea in my head, a ludicrous expectation: that my life—and, more precisely, my ministry and the life of my church—was supposed to go smoothly…you know, Plan A! Crisis-free!

    And, corollary to that expectation was another: when everything didn’t go smoothly, something was wrong. And, usually, a third and a fourth corollary: it was my fault, and it was always my job to fix it.

    Now, I know better (most of the time).

    God is teaching me (albeit slowly) not to expect smooth sailing. And even to embrace crisis and conflict, at times, for it is in such times not only that MY leadership is tested, but GOD’S leadership (of me, and others) is shown…or not.

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

    My lesson (in countless disasters through helping with The Salvation Army's efforts) is to only expect the unexpected. Anything that is bound to happen during a crisis (ignoble actions of those affected, materials and volunteers being misdirected or unarriving, etc) should be a given, but the things you can't predict are the things to focus on. Then, when things happen that may take many by surprise, it doesn't affect you the same way. It's a mantra I've heard summed up as "God is never surprised." Also, another good lesson is to have donuts. People respond to donuts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/momofkings Dawn Michelle King

    I've learned through personal crisis that even though you, a leader, is going through a personal crisis, that is not an excuse to stop leading and reaching out with God's love. In fact, you need to do it more!

  • http://brownhousephotography.wordpress.com Melissa Brown

    When in crises, I am often reminded of what an amazing community we are surrounded with. Whether it's losing your house to a tornado & finding help before you've had a chance to think about it OR receiving a homecooked meal while caring for your dad with early-onset Alzheimer's OR any situation you find yourself in, it's pretty amazing to see how people still take care of people.

  • Sheila

    Recently the Lord had me go through a surgery which caused other physical problems to flair up. One of the hardest things to learn as a leader is when to let go and let others take care of things. They may not get done like you would do them BUT they will get done. I believe God uses such times to not only help us grown but also to also to allow those who minister with us to grow.

  • PW1824

    The past few years have been full of health issues for my siblings. My aging parents were at a loss and were terrified at the real chance both of my siblings would die. Many decisions were now my responsibility, my parents could not make them. I prayed and great deal, sought wise counsel and made the best decisions I could. I learned to be flexible and to lean more deeply on Christ

  • David M

    By being on the opposite side of the equation, the one being led during crisis, I have had opportunities to learn from my leaders. Here’s an example of one that I’ve learned that came from the negative side. Leaders should not use fear as the primary motivator, at least not for extended periods of time.

    Deuteronomy 29-30 is a great example of the two sides. Moses first explained the good that would happen if Israel was obedient. Then he explains the curse that would happen. Although both are true, it’s important to use the “if you are obedient” side much more often.

    “Change or die,” “do this or you’re fired,” “if we don’t get sales up, we all lose our jobs.” That’s the style of leadership that I’ve witnessed the most during crisis. “If you don’t get us out of this mess, we will go bankrupt.”

    As a result not only myself, but ALL those that I worked with got burned out. Having that fed to you day after day, month after month, and the chronic stress reduces you to doing nothing. Then the fear is realized.

    I found from this experience to instead use the positive side. “This crisis is an opportunity. If we do this, we will emerge as leaders in the industry for years.” That’s a much better motivator.

  • John Gilberts

    What I have learned from leading in the midst of crisis:
    1. MOVE – The difference between success and failure in a crisis is often action. You can create and tweak the plan as you go, rather then spending a lot of time coming up with the perfect plan. Just get moving. The circumstances that you will encounter when you begin will be real as opposed to the theoretical ones you consider in planning and will help shape the response.
    2. If you can plan for a crisis – not the specifics, but for the fact that you will have one. Have a reserve. In many cases it seems like with ministries and churches every penny is budgeted and accounted for, so when a crisis strikes there are no resources on hand to respond with. What a difference it can make if your first step is action instead of a “crisis fund raising effort”.
    3. Empower the people in the field, managing a crisis from the back row can be lethal.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mitchebie Mitch Ebie

    Great post! I received a copy of your book from Maurilio. It is very insightful with great application.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/haymama Bridget Haymond

    My experience with crisis has taught me the following:

    Discovery: My encounters with crisis caused me to draw from inner strength and resources that I didn’t know I had and as a result left me more confident of what I can handle in the future.

    Direction: Often what looked to be the bleakest moment turned out to be the very thing that propelled me in a new direction, providing new and unexpected successes along the way.

    Discernment: For me, the key to successfully processing through any crisis is to respond by asking some soul-searching questions. By connecting with my crisis moment I became more aware, sensitive and appreciative.

    Development: Be intentional and be proactive. Embrace crisis as an opportunity to grow and develop. Think outside of the box and expand the possibilities to discover opportunities and perspective that had previously been unseen.

    Dependency: I’ve learned to depend totally on God and have felt His love, grace and protection. When we connect with God during times of crisis, not only will we know Him better, but there is no doubt we will be changed in the best way possible.

    I am tweeting about this now @BridgetHaymond

    Thank you for the opportunity to read Plan B.

  • woody

    I sat in my very dry study in Dallas, TX that night that Pete writes about. My daughter however looked out her window at the Cumberland River. What would it do? What would she do?

    Being so far away, I was unaware of the magnitude of the onslaught. But it got really personal when my daughter called and told me that the Cumberland was over the bank near her condo, 30 feet above its normal placid self. Oh my gosh.

    She got out. Never lived there again. Total loss. Plan B kicked in.

    I have enjoyed reading Pete's blog and actually getting to know him a little bit over the last few years as my daughters have become active in his church. As a 50-year old church addict, I have been around some great leaders and great preachers. But I have never met a young leader as selfless and passionate as Pete. All the success that a growing church and a landslide book will garner, won't replace the genuine, humble, likable, husband and dad named Pete. Way to go Pete. And way to go Michael, for making Pete even more well known.

    The Church is better for it.

  • http://nicodemusfile.blogspot.com/ Whitakerous

    I have enjoyed following Pete on Twitter and reading his blog and following how his church has aided in the flood. Plan B seems to remind me that we have to realize that we are subjects of God’s will and plan and that may not be the way we would like things to occur. So we have to be prepared to identify crisis in our lives and embrace them and find ways to make a difference. That could be what God was hoping for, a change to see humanity do something. But when crisis show themselves, we need to be able to respond quickly. When plan A does not work out, we need to be ready to quickly respond with “Plan B” and do something about the unexpected quickly. But at the same time, we need to recognize that it takes the collective wisdom not only of ourselves but others to help us deal with “Plan B” situations. I look forward to ready Pete’s book and continuing to watch what he does in the Nashville area.

  • http://www.stokesfhc.com Josh Swift

    I am a public health director in NC. During my first 6 months on the job we had to deal with the H1N1 (swine) flu pandemic that started May 2009. When this first started, no one knew if this would cause mass fatalities like the 1918 pandemic, so we had to prepare for the worst. I learned several lessons, but the most important was that no one leader has all the answers and much can be gained from the collective wisdom of several individuals. I learned to ask for help from health directors in other parts of NC and to work closely with my staff. Some of our best ideas for clinics and response came from front-line staff.

    Another lesson I learned was that "perception is often reality," and that as the health director I needed to be strong so I could keep my staff and the citizens in my county calm. I also learned the importance of working with other agencies such as schools and local hospitals to form a team and get messages and vaccine out into the community more quickly.

  • http://annettesmith.webs.com Annette Smith

    The public library where I worked for years had a large bulletin board installed at one end of the meeting room. Posted in a prominent place on the board was our emergency management plan–a framed picture of a Richard Scarry book character spinning around under the words, "When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout." It was a cute joke, of course. The real emergency plan was a well-thought-out chapter in the library policy book–a plan written by the library director with assistance from the city manager, library board, and other city personnel who had experienced (and could imagine) various emergency scenarios and responses. When an emergency situation arose, we could consult the policy book–and each other, as members of a team–to resolve the problem and meet the needs of the community we served. The lessons we learned about leadership, especially in emergency situations, included having a plan, writing it down, consulting others and, most importantly, teamwork.

  • Ashley

    I am just beginning the journey of being a leader to people. I have always been told I'm a leader, I just always used to do it in the negative way, now that Jesus has redeemed me, and called me into ministry, I want to learn everything I can to be the leader Jesus has called me to be.

    I've been involved in an internship the last 6 months in a church working with students. Being an intern has it's advantages and disadvantages. However, as I've been watching and learning from my mentor, one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that during crisis, one needs to remain calm, pray, and make decisions. I know those are simple ideas, but putting them to practice is often time hard. There have not been too many crises to deal with in this last 6 months, but each one has been handled the way I mentioned above. One thing I will never forget is that it is important to make the decision that best helps the people involved, not that one that feels the greatest for all people. Meaning, the decision always needs to operate in the truth and light of what Jesus teaches. Not always going to be the easiest, but will always end up bringing God glory which is what we are called to do.

  • http://twitter.com/jabross40 @jabross40

    I can tell you that my experiences with TRUE leaders who are God's people have varied greatly. I have been left with thinking "WOW, that was truly God." or "WOW, I hope I don't have to spend eternity living next door to that person." I believe true leaders are the ones who recognize the strengths and weaknesses of those they lead… It is in times of crisis when I believe we realize WE DON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.

  • http://metrokidzbaltimore.org colleen

    I am so excited about this book!

  • C.T.

    As a market President for a regional bank in Southwest MS during hurricane Katrina, I had been on the job for one month when Katrina hit. As a new leader, not only was I dealing with the learning curve of a new leadership position, but suddenly I was dealing with leading a group of approximately 60 employees (many of whom were older and had years of experience in their particular area) in the middle of crisis. Not only did we have to move to Plan B, but also C and D and E, etc. Ha!! There were many lessons learned, but one primary leadership lesson I took away is listen to and trust those you lead, especially those key members of your inner circle. These folks can offer perspectives that not only come from understanding the market but also the rest of the team with which you as the primary leader may not have direct contact with on a regular basis. This served me greatly in providing a calm reassurance during this time to all of our team. We made it through with flying colors!!

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

    When my wife of 15 years decided she no longer wanted to me a wife or mom, She left to chase greener pastures. I might not have been the best leader in my house before that day, but after that day, when there is no one else to lead, I stepped up and learned.____ Raising our 3 kids by myself, has taught me that the things I used to think were so important , really weren't. And the little things you share every day, are the big things. I have also learned that I cannot be my kids Mom, But being the best Dad I can everyday, is good enough.______

  • Lori

    people, most often my teen or one of her friends, look to see how I react and where I reach for my strength. I do my best to pray and give it away, but sometimes in my humanness, I fail. This leads to a lesson for all. and believe you me, I've learned some hard ones this way.

  • Ashley W.

    This is a good question. Well it happened while I was still in college and serving as a student at a BCM. Our state convention "redistributed" funds and our director was fired. Our ministry was over 300 students at the time and it was a scary thing. A lot of us were upset and struggled with still loving and seeing our fellow Christ followers in a positive light. Our director boldly stood one night and told us that we were not going to enter into gossip or slandering of anyone involved in the situation. We were going to take the road and be people of peace and reconciliation and that this too would pass and God would be glorified. I was amazed at his ability to lead us into a far better place than we were headed on our own. And all why everything around him came crashing down. I will admire him forever for it!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/rkinnick59 Randy Kinnick

    Great post…it is true, every crisis provides an opportunity for God to shine, for me to be used and for someone(s) to learn something. Thanks for sharing.

  • @mattmcmorris

    Recently I became and assistant pastor at a church that has had significant challenges due to former leadership doing many unethical and even illegal activities prior to being asked to step down. It has been a joy to serve along with my pastor as we serve to lead the members back to a place of trust and love for the work of the Lord.

    Difficult circumstances are often the fertilizer to growth! God is doing great things here now and it is going to be exciting to see what He does in the future! I would love to read Pete's book to see his perspective!

  • Connie Keys

    DDuring the pastDuring the past 20 years I have co-led our church's feeding the needy program. Last year, my c-leaderleft the program under suspicious circumstances. That was very hurtful for me. She was my friend also. I learned to ignore rumors that quickly spread throughout the church. I also learned that it was time for a plan B. We needed new blood. My co-leader had been very controlling and secretive about many things in the program.

    Lots of prayer and sharing with a new co-leader have brought us to a new level of making the program function better. We have encouraged new volunteers and more church participation in the activities of the club.

    I always knew that it was God's program, but I've learned that by letting go of the past mistakes and letting Him guide us through each day, our program is serving more for the Glory of God now.

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

    I don't think I can say I have ever been in a true crisis situation. Sure there have been difficult situations in my life but not on the level that lots of people have to face. So it seems that in my situation Pete's book would serve well to prepare me for the moment where I would need it the most. Hopefully, should that moment arrive, I will be ready to take on the challenge.

  • http://jeanmatthewhall.com Mattie

    A few years ago I was on a team of three putting together a writer’s conference. I am an experienced school administrator, but another member made it clear that she was our “leader.”

    However, in short order it became clear that our leader was failing in every area of leadership. I kept asking God why in the world He told me to join this team. After the November event I decided to inform our leader after the Christmas holidays, that I would no longer be involved with the project.

    In mid January I gave her a call. Before I could explain she announced to me that God had told her to no longer be involved, and to turn the reigns over to me. Me? I was so sure God had told me to step down. I was stunned. This created a very real crisis for me-a crisis of belief.

    I spent the remainder of that day and many days afterward in prayer. What was God telling me in this situation? I saw two choices. I could also drop out of the team and effectively kill the project. Or, I could accept this assignment as an opportunity from God and step whole-heartedly into the leadership role. I knew that nothing in-between would be satisfactory to me, or to God.

    I jumped in with both feet and so did God. He blessed the efforts of our now enlarged team and made our second event a smashing success.

    So, what did I learn in this crisis? The
    experience reminded me graphically of something I had almost forgotten—that God really does always have a plan. Nothing, not even a crisis, catches Him by surprise. As a matter of fact, He sometimes orchestrates those crises and hands us opportunities to accomplish His purposes for His glory.

    I also learned that when I base my leadership on God’s wisdom and direction He will bless the projects and events I lead in surprising ways.

  • Janice Kay

    I want to read this Plan B book so much! I am trying to live my Plan B every day… I married my high school love, we had the house 3 wonderful children and a dog ..etc… well it's now 30yrs later and …well nothing is what I planned for back then… My husband chose the bottle of Brandy over his family… I lost my job and also have muscular dystrophy and am now in a wheel chair full time. Everything has been turned upside down and inside out but the one thing that has remained constant in my live is **MY Everlasting Faith** and that is all that really matters anyway. So I am still breathing and living my new life but it's nothing at all like what I planned it would look like 30 years later … God Bless!

    Janice Kay

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Praying for you Janice.

  • http://passionateforthegloryofgod.blogspot.com/ Lynnda Ell

    When Nashville flooded, it immediately brought back our experiences from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As I watched my neighborhood flood on national TV, I went into shock. Sure, I was walking around, but I couldn't even remember my email password.
    My advice is to listen to advice from someone you trust who is not directly involved in the crisis. I have two married daughters, neither of whom live in New Orleans. They both supported me while I was still in shock. My older daughter found my 86 year-old Mother and I a fully furnished house in which to live the day following the flood. My younger daughter researched all the phone numbers for insurance companies and insisted that I call them immediately. Both of those decisions continue to make a difference in our lives.
    As a leader, it is important to know when someone else needs to move the ball forward. A sidelined leader does not mean the team stops working.

  • http://forrest-long.blogspot.com Forrest Long

    I've got the book, read it and was blessed and challenged by what Pete wrote. And this post is good! There's nothing like a crisis to bring out the best in good leadership. I have had occasions over the years in pastoral ministry to find myself ministering in crisis situations. They call for determined action and a firm resolution to to help. And I have found that when the willingness is there, God gives the direction.

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

    God called me to serve him as a young boy. He continues equipping me for his service. He taught me that he is absolutely trustworthy in fulfilling his calling in our lives. I was marginally employed for two full years after serving twenty years as a pastor of churches large and small. He prepared me for Plan B during those two long years of waiting. Now I encourage pastors through coaching and consulting. I love my job! However, this morning I found out that my job becomes part-time in January. Now I'm on to Plan C. I look forward to it because each stage has been better than the one before. Two days ago my verse of the day in my Life Journal was Phil. 4:6, NLT: "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Today I can confidently trust that our faithful God has a Plan C better even than the Plan B I enjoy so much now.

  • Stephen Bird

    I read and enjoyed this as someone who keeps getting caught in a pincer movement, with plans on the one hand and events on the other.

    This applies at work: I’m a Managing Editor with a predisposition towards good admin, organisation and systems, who has to navigate the unpredictable conditions of a technical information publishing industry shifting from print to online. Business-to-business communication, advertising business models, social media – the lay of the land is literally changing from week to week.

    It also applies at home: I’m wired for minimalism and routine, but am lucky enough to have a spontaneous wife, and 6- and 2-year-old boys. Say no more.

    Looking at this through the lens of Christian belief is reassuring. Receiving enough manna in the morning, praying this day for our daily bread, are foundation principles.

    With all that in mind, I’m trying to settle a style of management and an approach to getting things done that gives ‘reality’ its due, especially when thinking about ‘the next five minutes’.

    While I wouldn’t necessarily extrapolate these ideas to produce a comprehensive theory of emergent order, I’m finding food for thought in a couple of areas: agile software management on the one hand, and improvisation techniques on the other.

    – What is Scrum: An Innovative Approach to Getting Work Done http://www.scrumalliance.org/learn_about_scrum
    1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    2. Completed functionality over comprehensive documentation
    3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    4. Responding to change over following a plan

    – Improv Theater and Complex Adaptive Systems http://creativeemergence.typepad.com/the_fertile_
    1. Yes and.
    2. Make everyone else look good.
    3. Be changed by what is said and what happens.
    4. Co-create a shared "agenda."
    5. Mistakes are invitations.
    6. Keep the energy going.
    7. Serve the good of the whole.

  • John Waldo

    On a tubing trip with the camp I worked at, one of our teens ran down the bank, dove into the water and broke his neck. While we managed the immediate medical issues of the student, we still had another 100 students to get down river, loaded up and back to camp 2 hours away. I learned that often in an emergency, while you're focusing on the specific crisis (the student), there are other secondary issues (the other 100 or so) that also must be addressed. One person can't handle it all and you may have to defer components of "emergency leadership" to others, somewhat like a triage situation.

  • http://www.thegetintentionalmovement.com Ryan Jenkins`

    I got to serve alongside of Cross Point Church in Nashville, we were ripping out dry wall and gutting homes from top to bottom. It was amazing how homes could look fine from the outside but be totally ruined and empty in the inside. As we served during this crisis, I learned a valuable lesson. So often we can just serve to serve and don't really understand the why. I found myself just taking orders and working but it wasn't until an elderly women approached me with tears in her eyes that my perspective changed and Plan B was enacted.

    She needed help with her ruined house and I spoke with her about the flood and how she was cooping. She provided a detailed account of what happened that day. And it was after hearing her story and seeing her heart that I realized I was not just taking orders and serving but rather I was instilling hope into those that were hopeless.

    It is so crucial to get intentional and uproot the why of any actions that we do. When serving, I learned that you can discover the why very quickly when you interact directly with the people affected. Your current circumstances wilt upon hearing their extreme circumstances.

    Thanks Pete!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/mrsejfrog mrsejfrog

    Wow, the past few years have been a Plan B daily. We moved into a new house, my husband was told he had colon cancer at 42 and the medical bills started to mount. I held it all together with Christ. I learned in helping my family and my husband that Jesus wasnt just "fixing" our problems or doing what I wanted him to do. There was much more going on. I learned I can't lead anyone or anything unless God is put first. I am not the "leading". It is an incredible experience when you listen and do God's plan instead of your own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1499638374 Beth Collins

    I believe oftentimes we as leaders try to "reinvent" the wheel. There are thousands of organizations and groups available at our disposal and yet we think or somehow feel we need to come up with the solution ourselves. Being a good leader means not only handling a Plan B situation well, but knowing who to turn to for help. If one tries to do it all themselves it will quickly lead to burnout and frustration. -Speaking from experience. Thanks for the opportunity to post my thoughts.

  • Amanda Goodhew

    I have learnt that, although being quiet and listening for the great ideas does work, you often have to sort through a maelstrom of bad ideas first. Everyone wants to be the savoir, even when no one else wants to BE the leader.

  • http://www.sarahski.com SarahSki

    The leadership lesson I learned in a crisis is to keep a cool head and not to blame others. My husband and I had been married for just over three months. One night, our apartment started flooding and it just didn't stop. It wasn't because of mother nature, and no other apartments were affected – it was just our unit. We had a difficult time convincing maintenance that we hadn't just overflowed our toilet (even though the flooding was coming from the bedroom, not the bathroom). The water wasn't enough to destroy our furniture, at least not at that point. It was just enough that it was unlivable the way it was.

    Early in marriage, when things are stressful, I think that's when you decide the course of your marriage. It could have been so easy, in my stress and anxiety to just yell at someone – particularly my husband. But that's not the right thing to do. Not only would it accomplish nothing, but it would make my husband feel bad for just *being* there. (He could have easily taken things out on me, too, but he didn't) Instead, we kept level heads about the situation and decided what needed to happen next. Within a couple of days, we had a different (drier!) apartment, and although those few days were intensely stressful, we both learned that keeping a proper perspective on things made it a LOT easier.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Alise_Wright Alise_Wright

    About 5 years ago my husband became mysteriously ill. We spent the better part of a year in and out of the hospital, having tests done, dealing with chronic pain and a resulting narcotics dependency & weaning from that. We had four very young children and I was thrust into the position of head of the house. I became fully responsible for nearly everything in our home.

    What I learned at that time was that a leader cannot do everything alone. I had been doing a lot of things myself already as a stay at home mom, but when my husband was basically out of the picture, I realized just how much I relied on him. With him dealing with his issues, I was forced to turn elsewhere for support. It's incredibly humbling to recognize that you need a lot of help, but nevertheless, that was an incredibly important lesson for me. Whenever I feel like I'm being overwhelmed by pressures of life, I know that I need to turn to those close to me for support. Having those people in my life enriches it and it helps me work more efficiently and with more enthusiasm and joy.

    We can't lead alone. Even if we are ultimately responsible for what happens, we can't do it on our own.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  • http://mcdowellmountainchurch.com matt

    Having taken the lead pastor role in a church that had lost their founding pastor, within a few months, it became obvious that another staff member had wanted the lead role. I should have asked better questions in the interviews…but didn’t. The church was in crisis – drifting from vision, losing a high percentage of people, giving down substantially, economic crisis hitting our city (PHX) and large amounts of debt. It was not a time to make decisions that could cause more crisis – and possible shipwreck the church community. But it was also not a time for division in the lead team and among the church. Though it was difficult, we made a staff change – we asked a staff member greatly loved by the core of the church to resign. Today, a year+ later, we have clear vision, a lead team on the same page, incredible momentum in the church, great attendance and giving, etc. The two lessons walked away with: 1. Always do the right thing. and 2. Do the right thing now. Simple lessons – and lessons I had heard taught. But they were lessons I needed to learn in the lead role.

  • Travis

    I've had the fortunate opportunity to have visited several foreign countries early in life. Many countries have a very different pace of life than the US along with their various customs. I've been in quite a few crises on foreign soil and I would say that the two key lessons I have learned are patience and decisiveness. I've learned patience because it is the key to dealing with cultural differences. On the other hand, I've learned decisiveness is the key to earning respect and getting things accomplished.

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

    As a market President for a regional bank in Southwest MS during hurricane Katrina, I had been on the job for one month when Katrina hit. As a new leader, not only was I dealing with the learning curve of a new leadership position, but suddenly I was dealing with leading a group of approximately 60 employees (many of whom were older and had years of experience in their particular area) in the middle of crisis. Not only did we have to move to Plan B, but also C and D and E, etc. Ha!! There were many lessons learned, but one primary leadership lesson I took away is listen to and trust those you lead, especially those key members of your inner circle. These folks can offer perspectives that not only come from understanding the market but also the rest of the team with which you as the primary leader may not have direct contact with on a regular basis. This served me greatly in providing a calm reassurance during this time to all of our team. We made it through with flying colors!!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/inquisitiveseeker Jessica

    No one is invincible. I am an early intervention teacher so I go to the homes of kids 0-3 who have a delay. Many times this means going into the projects or situations where children are medically fragile. I walked in to an appointment a few months ago with a 9 month old girl who had medical problems to find a family in mourning. The little girl passed away the night before and could not be revived. At that moment, standing in front of a grieving family while I had just been planning to play with this child I had no words. All I could say was "I'm so sorry." I can talk parents through disabilities and I can talk them through the grieving process for that, but I had no words when a baby passed away. Sadly, today I found out a child I served had her 6 month old sister pass last night. She is now in state custody until an autopsy is done on the baby because of past accusations of neglect. Mom has been TRYING so hard and I have been helping. I literally just saw the baby last week. It sounds like a case of SIDS. I'm not invincible, my kids aren't invincible and their families aren't invincible. Crappy things happen no matter what and sometimes no words can express how you feel or how you can make others feel better. Sometimes it just takes time.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Joe_Sewell Joe Sewell

    At first I thought my "crisis" would be in coming up with a time when I led in the midst of a crisis. Now I'm thinking of too many.

    I'm drawn to this lesson, though: Know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em.

    Or, for those who don't appreciate the Kenny Rogers or The Gambler reference, know when to dig in & lead, and know when to get out of the way.

    Several years ago I attended a Disciples of Christ church. I ran the sound board, primarily because the previous person who had been "stuck" with it couldn't hear the piercing feedback that made my dog-whistle-hearing ears feel like they were bleeding. My wife and I were also elders, though the amount of influence the board of elders had on the actual church leadership (which, sadly, wasn't the pastor, either) was moderate at best. The crisis came when my wife, Joy, was barred from speaking with the senior pastor. She asked for a time to meet with him, along with myself and 1 or 2 others, to figure out what was going on, since most of the information was coming from less-than-credible sources. We arrived to a meeting of the full board of elders, along with several people we specifically asked to be absent. I'll refrain from giving details about the meeting, but the result was a suggested 6 month "hiatus" from the church. We chose, instead, after prayer and pondering to walk away from it all. In this case it turned out to be a blessing for us, plus it allowed someone else who wanted to try the sound board to do so.

    A crisis of a different kind, from a different direction, occurred when my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. My mother left him 4-5 years prior to that. I don't know why I didn't, either, except for guidance from God. Pop was a stubborn man, and insultingly arrogant. Little did I know that his mind was being consumed by some form of senile dementia; we didn't bother to determine what it was, since the oncologist told me the colon cancer would take him first. (He could've survived that, had he obeyed doctor's orders. But that's another story.) I wanted so bad to run away from it, but I knew I couldn't. I knew he was my responsibility, whether I liked it or not. I stuck it out, even going against the grain of several people who discouraged me from putting him into a nursing home. Had I known about his wanderings down a major highway trying to get a key for his car (after I took the keys away from him after he hallucinated in my absence that he was seeing a long-dead friend in a town 1,000 miles away), I would have been more confident in my decision. I stuck with it, though. He managed to endear himself to the nursing home staff, and even made himself useful, until the colon cancer finally took his life just short of his 79th birthday.

    Knowing when to lead and when to cede is not easy, nor does it come naturally for most of us. Our pride gets in the way. Only when we place the Spirit of the living God in the way of our pride can we get out of His way to make the right decisions.

  • Chris

    Everyday struggles being a single mother of three children I think is some of the BiGGEST crisis that you can handle. Having to manage your work life as well as their homework and everyday activities. Having to show my children to stay positive not knowing how the bills are going to be paid is one of the most difficult things that I have to deal with daily. Or explaining to them why that mommy can not get them all the "toys" in life that daddy is able to get them and how that JESUS is going to reward them in much better things then an X BOX 360 or the big swimming pool that daddy has!!! Staying positive and focusing on JESUS is the only way to handle any crisis in your life!!!!

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      So true Chris. Sounds like you have your hands full.

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

    I needed inspiration. With a failed business and no degree, I starting a 3/4 load at college, I found 2 p/t jobs; fixing data equip for FedEx, and driving a limo . . . As the elderly man settled into the front seat, I suddenly realized who he was . . . “You are Peter Drucker!” He smiled, “Ja, that is me.” Having the guru of mgt captive in my limo for 2 1/2 hours . . . Priceless! Asking about me, I shared my story. He was gracious; putting off the shortsightedness of job interviewers, and unethical practice of the mgr. He encouraged me to finish my studies, promising they would complement my exp; saying he saw great promise in someone with the courage and fortitude to keep up such a load to provide for his family. I then became Admin for a business, Gen Mgr of a resort, and CEO of two ministries. I then entered an MA at Fuller Seminary. Thank you, Dr. Peter Drucker, for your inspiration during a limo ride. I have learned to always take the opportunity to inspire others.
    Full story at: http://nonprofitorgs.blogspot.com/2009/02/inspira

  • http://twitter.com/javerlin74 @javerlin74

    In 1999 after three years of trying my wife and conceived a child. This was the beginning of our plan to start a family together. My wife was ready to cease working and be a stay at home mother. Four weeks later she miscarried. It was devastating. It was not only the loss of a child that we were so ready to love and raise but it was the loss of a lifestyle that we were so ready to begin.

  • TVclips

    Looking forward to reading it!

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

    I am a college student. As many people know many bizarre and life changing moments take place in those years between high school and the "real world". Whatever may happen, there is always something that you can take away from these priceless experiences:

    I was sitting in my college cafeteria having lunch next to my friend whose esophagus is three sizes too small. On this particular day, my friend turns to me and begins to cough, as if he is going to puke. Now if you know me, i cannot stand puke. He was not getting close to me.

    No way.
    No how.

    But little did i know, that my friend was actually choking and not doing the most defiling act a human is capable of. (Puking on a fellow human)

    I immediately look towards my friend across the table who doesn't seem to be doing anything. So i turn to my girlfriend who had just taken a first aid course literally days earlier. Unfortunately, she was too shocked to do anything. No response.

    What else was i supposed to do? So i asked my friend if he was choking. He nodded vigorously. Then i asked him if he wanted the Heimlich. His nodding became more vigorous. So i had him stand up and i got into the position and started pumping. Finally, quite the struggle, the food piece that had jammed his airway was sitting on the table and my friend took a deep breath of relief.

    As i sat down and caught my breath while my mind raced to catch up to all the events that had just taken place, i looked back to my friend across the table. He was still eating his sandwich! Yet, he took enough of a break between bites to muster up "wow, that was crazy".

    Then i looked over at my girlfriend, who is well on her way to becoming a nurse, and she finally hit the reality of what just happened. At that point, she was almost in tears from being shook up that much.

    And finally, my friend, who i had just saved turned to me and said, "You should really work on your Heimlich. That hurt." I just sat there shocked!

    Isn't it interesting that in intense situations, you will always have someone less interested, just sitting there eating a sandwich. You will always have someone who is more qualified, but may not step in when needed. And you may have criticism coming out of the very mouth you are trying to save.

    But at the end of the day, the leader is the one who does all they can.

    And that is what really counts.

    • ldf

      That is a great lesson to be learned and shared with others. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Michael

    Leadership lessons that I have learned over the 27 short years of my life, during crisis. Most of which I learned over the last 13 years after losing 24 of my best friends or family members to death, most recently losing my brother in law of 1 year a little over 2 months ago.

    1) Be available …..This does NOT mean, saying the right words, praying the right prayers, or doing the right things, it does mean however to just be available. Be there, for the family that just lost a loved one, be there, for the family that just lost their home, be there, for the city that was just devastated. BE AVAILABLE
    2) Be ready to serve…..no matter what the crisis there will ALWAYS be a opportunity to serve. Whether its cooking a meal, cleaning a house, rebuilding a city, or whatever is needed during that crisis, BE READY TO SERVE
    3) Love like crazy….while being available and while serving during the crisis, love like crazy. Let them know there is a deeper love within you that causes you to be available and ready to serve.

  • Laura F

    These past 20 months have been a series of Plan B moments. My husband took an early out package with a company thinking it would be easy to find a job, then the recession began. I had to go back to work, which I had not worked in 8.5 years as I had stayed home to raise our 2 boys. This was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Every morning my heart would break as I drove away from my boys and I would cry to God for the strength to endure. After a year passed, my husband found a job about 30 minutes from home. Not his ideal job, but one to get us through. After 5 days on the job, he collapsed and had a seizure. After some test were done, the doctors discovered he has a brain tumor. As all of this unfolded, we were tempted to say, "Why, Lord? We've been good. We've never turned from You. We don't do drugs, drink or lie. Why is this hardship falling on us?" And as I've thought through this my answer is, "Why not us, Lord? We will never turn from You. We will continue to praise You and serve You through our church because You are worth it. You have the best for me, the best for my family, even if it is Plan B." So, the leadership lesson that we've learned is 1. Even if what you have to do hurts, you need to do what is needed, what is right for that time frame. Even if it is hard and breaks your heart. 2. And when it does break your heart, keep loving, serving others and giving God your whole heart. He is worthy.

    The end of our story is that my husband still has the brain tumor. He is still praising God while leading our church in worship. He has received his old job back. And I get to quit mine and go back to my boys being at home. As things in our life seem to be going back to "the way it use to be", I will not be going back to what I use to be. God has deepened me, solidified my faith, and has made me a better woman, wife, mother and friend. Though I never thought I would want Plan B in my life, I know it is the perfect Plan for me. It's God's plan for me. He is worthy.

  • Michelle

    I think the biggest lesson I have learned is that with all my knowledge, I know nothing. I have to rely on God and other people in order to lead properly. If I try to do it all, I don't allow room for anyone else to do anything, and what they can do might just be what God wants done.

  • http://regeneratex.wordpress.com missional girl

    I teach at a private Christian school and lead a Bible study group there. I would love to use this book either in the class room or in the Bible study. Thanks!

  • tneal

    "If you want solutions, you need to be quiet every chance you get." Pete Wilson's leadership advice seems as counterintuitive as the Lord's if-you-want-to-be-great advice found in the Gospels. That quoted line alone was well worth my reading time. If Wilson's book is better than its title and filled with more sound wisdom, I'm sure my reading investment will reap significant dividends.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/johnmarkwatson Mark

    I am an Operations Manager for a Fortune 100 company. This job was listed as one of the top 5 most stressful jobs by Yahoo a few months ago. During the last economic crisis we faced tremendous layoffs and pressures to reduce losses and return to profitability.____It was easy to go home many nights despondent and wonder how God could put you in a situation in which you were having to layoff so many people in the organization. During this time I remembered reading a quote from Francis Chan that was something to the effect that God, the Holy Spirit, won't work till we can no longer rely on ourselves and call out to HIm.____This was the comfort that I went to bed with many nights. I had done all I could and the rest I would cry out God, the Holy Spirit to guide me through the rest. While I never want to go through this again, He did allow me peace and calm in the midst of the storm.

  • http://www.work-in-progress-online.com WIP Bible Community

    In 1989 December I was 15 years old. The revolution in Romania started in Timisoara where I lived. I was there that Friday night when people stood up against 40 years of communist regime. It was the crises of the century. It changed Romania’s future forever. In that crises as a teen I learned that together you can move mountains. Literally people would pick up army trucks and dump them into river. But as a teen I learned that teens and young adults have a huge impact. Most of the people who stood up against the system were teens and young adults. At that age we weren’t brained washed enough to be afraid of what could happen. It’s a generation we don’t expect too much, but capable of amazing things. Today too I am missing that most of the time teens are looked down and not expected for much. Teens are capable for more! In crises (or no crises) we have t o embrace them more. We have to give them a chance to grow, make mistakes and become the next generation’s leaders. That event changed me forever. Since then I never been afraid to stand for what’s right.

  • http://coolchurch.com Scott Miller

    2 Leadership Lessons:
    1. My identity and loyalty is in & to God and the call he has placed on my life, not to a man or one specific church. When you get that mixed up, it leads to confusion and compromise.
    2. When im not spending personal time with God and seeking His direction in life and ministry, I have an unhealthy confidence that I can pull this thing off without Him.

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

    With any crisis, you need to make sure you know yourself, before you can help others. Your personality type, passions, beliefs, and so forth weigh heavily in how you would deal with a crisis. It's hard to remain calm when you're in the middle of a crisis, but God's grace and peace will make a world of difference, if you can remain calm. You'll think more clearly, and be able to act (or react) to whatever life brings you.

    Blessings and continued prayers for those affected by the floods, and for all that are working on the Gulf oil situation.

  • Lisa

    Thanks Mike and Pete for all you do to encourage me!

    My plan B. At 16 (28 years ago) I found myself pregnant, my boyfriend decided to marry the other girl who was also carrying his child. I was devastated and felt quite alone, my parents did not know until I was 7 months. My plan B – became a life long Plan B.

    I have never felt like much of a leader but God blessed me to have two amazing parents who modeled leadership in my crisis. Both my Dad and Mom stuck by my side and agreed to help me do whatever it would take to raise my daughter. 10 years later God blessed me by introducing me to the most amazing leader I have ever met. My husband Steve. He adopted my daughter and has faithfully fulfilled his role as her Dad, even to this day.

    The older I get the more I learn that real leaders are those who are quick to listen and slow to speak, full of love, grace and mercy for others. As I look back on the past 28 years, I think what I thought was a plan B was really God's Plan A!

  • Paulas Panday

    Hello, I found this article very meaningful. Yes, as a Leader we need Plan B. right now I am dealing a situation of my visa to go to a country to marry my Fiancée and if the visa doesn’t arrive in time, we have plan B, even C. we are not worried. but off course it will be difficult and not so convenient.. but not more difficult than having NO plan B. thanks for the encouragement.

    I am also a teacher. I work with presentation using modern multi media gadgets. some times it doesn’t work, and I also think about the plan B. without having plan B and suddenly things may not work with plan A, I will ruin my presentation, I will be frustration my audience. so Plan B makes me better Presenter of the Message.

    thank you so much.

  • http://www.colinfaulknerblog.com Colin Faulkner

    Thanks for sharing Pete. Look forward to the book. This is very timely. Jay Utley (who is an amazing teacher) spoke about "Plan B" this week at Irving Bible Church in Dallas, TX. I couldn't count the number of people sobbing at the end. It was so outstanding! Here is the audio if you're interested: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/james-series-p

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Thanks Colin. I'll check it out.

  • Mary West

    Ask God to lead you and He will. Ask God to provide and He will. Ask God to give you what is best and He will. Ask God to give you strength and wisdom and He will. He will show you how to create bridges across the high waters so that you can reach those who need Him.

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

    What I learned in a crisis, is that God is a better leader than me. I need to listen to what God wants, not what I want. When I kept in the word, God kept my head on straight and guided my path. When I allowed myself to become anxious, I made mistakes.
    The good thing about a mistake is, you learn from it.
    Totally going through a Plan B in my own life as I lost my job I had for 10 years and my home, but gained my stepson in the process. Now waiting to see what God has in store and trusting in HIM!

  • http://melindaguerra.adventures.org Melinda

    Failure can be the best thing for us… because when we fail at our own plans, we put ourselves in a place to really hear God's plans.

  • B H

    My best example of leadership in a crisis is a story about my wife. She always has an amazing ability to see an opportunity, that if she invests her time, she can make a tremendous difference in someone's life. She ran a childcare program for an extremely large organization. Over 3000 children enrolled daily. She was approached by a father who wanted to enroll his son into the summer camp program. His son suffered from a disability and the program was not suited for a child with his disability. The child was unable to walk and was confined to a wheelchair. Even though taking this child was a losing proposition financially for the program, she found a way to help accommodate this parent's needs, rented a handicap accessible bus, and enrolled the child in the program. For some background on the child, this child was born during a horrible accident. His mother was in a car wreck and they were able to save him, but he was a couple of months early. His mother did not survive the accident. He would often say he was a gift from God. His biggest concern during the day was the battery running down on his wheelchair. He would often ask the camp counselor to check his battery. My wife also was learning to swim that summer. At age 35 she decided to overcome her fear of water. Well, this child was not able to participate in swim days, due to his disability. When my wife learned to swim, she asked the boys father if he would feel comfortable if she held him in the pool on the following swim day. The father agreed and he indicated that his son was so excited about the opportunity to get in the pool, he rode around all weekend with a beach towel in his chair. Well that Monday he got in the pool with my wife and had the best time. This became a regular event and eventually other counselors would hold him in the pool. Well one afternoon I stopped by to visit my wife and she pointed out the child by the pool. One of the counselors was helping him in the pool. You could tell she was being very helpful and cautious. Well, once they were in the pool, all of the children gathered around this child and for those moments he spent in the pool, he was not a child with a disability, he was just like every other child in the program. My wife has this way of picking opportunities to make a huge difference with people. The child had a few more surgeries and was eventually able to walk. I think she learned more from him than he did in the program. Her time spent with this agency was filled with these types of stories. She always seemed to pick the right crisis to weigh in on. I am proud of her efforts to always maintain balance (taking swim lessons), taking on the responsibility herself, and being able to know the right time to invest herself in the opportunity.

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

    One of the things I've learned as a leader is to trust the team of people that God has placed around me, especially in a crisis. For example, I've lead several mission trips overseas. On one particular trip, one of the team members went out for a run – alone – in a city he was unfamiliar with (which was not allowed!) and forgot to tell anyone where he was going. When the rest of the team met together for lunch and realized that this particular team member was missing, I had NO idea what to do. I could've freaked out. I could've had a breakdown. Instead, I realized that I needed to trust the national leaders that I was working with to find the missing team member. It was there city, and they knew where to look. They eventually found him, and all of us were so thankful! In that time of crisis, small though it was, God showed me that I need people. Not only do I need people, but I need to trust others. And I need to trust Him. Leaders especially need to realize that we need to trust the team that God has given us.

  • http://www.thoughtsfromabroad.net Laine D

    Glad to hear Creed had a Plan B to add a Nashville Fundraiser to their 20-10 Tour. We all need a backup plan and being willing to BE THERE and let God use you is the start.

  • CanadianBeliever

    When the HR Manager was off of work for three months on an unexpected sick leave, I learned how to be flexible as I covered some of her responsibilities. These were in addition to my regular duties, but I willingly filled in for her, where I could. I would hope that most leaders would do the same for their co-workers, as this would encourage others to help out.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/shark_bait shark_bait

    In a crises, I watched the 'leadership' at my company fall apart and try to find an easy way out. I watched a few brave individuals step up and do the right thing, and getting shot down by their collegues.

    In a crises, it's not enough to say "This is what we need to do, because this is what leaders do." Real leaders will just say "This is what we need to do, because this is what we do." Even when it involved personal sacrifice, and danger.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JenniferLKing JenniferLKing

    This is a great post, Pete and Michael. Thank you. __When I lifeguarded at pools as a teenager, I remember learning the value in having a plan, because crises happen, and they usually happen too fast to create one on the spot. But for me, my biggest lesson has to be within our family– what to do when the unexpected happens. Our oldest son severely broke his arm one summer day right in front of us. Not knowing what exactly to do, my husband scooped him up, and we immediately drove to the emergency room 30 miles away. Later, we learned we should have called for an ambulance, because moving him like we did nearly caused permanent nerve damage. Last summer, two years later, our oldest son broke his other arm (amazingly), again, severely. My husband and I were not in town. Our son remembered exactly what to do: the babysitter called the ambulance. So, the biggest lesson I have learned is to empower those around us to know the plan when a crisis happens again–there is so much value in passing on the lessons learned, in preparing those who follow with wisdom to face a crisis. __Thank you for sharing with others your lessons learned for difficult times–a gift.__Sincerely, Jennifer King__

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Wow. Thanks for sharing Jennifer.

  • Jamie

    The greatest leadership lesson I learned in a crisis was my own crisis, when I needed leadership. I was not the leader at all. I was shown love, support, and and the path to a solution. I only hope I'd do the same if someone came to me needing help. The crisis might appear to be the test, but it's how you act from day-to-day, in the small things, that earns you the respect and trust of others that will mean they look to you as a rock.

  • Juan

    Hi Mike,
    In a crisis mode, what the Leadership lessons I learned are:
    – About personal accountability, that it is my choice to react negatively as a bad experience or positively as teachable lesson.
    – You think and do, it has to be quick
    – You get into a "surviving mode" with all your senses open, you are aware about your surroundings.
    – You have to communicate very clear and concise your message
    – You have to realistic without being pessimist
    – The buck stops with you

  • Nora

    The biggest challenge of leadership I have faced was the illness and death of my husband. Our children were 15 and 10 when he became ill and one year older when he died. He and I had always co- led in our family. We easily passed the responsibility back and forth as needed and collaborated all the time. Suddenly, it was all me. I took care of him, our children and our business, relying on friends and employees and a tremendous amount of prayer. I never imagined that I would have the role and I don't always feel like a leader but there it is. I didn't even know how to start the lawn mower. He had never let me mow the yard. There were so many things like that. What to do, what to do? Somehow, I have done it. Sometimes, I just fly by the seat of my pants. Sometimes, I feel powerful and in control. Either way, I know I can do it. It has been nearly 8 years since his death and sometimes it was yesterday. I know me better now. Never give up. Never let anything KEEP you down. Learn from EVERYTHING. If nothing else, lead yourself.

  • http://www.cugrow.com Janine McBee

    Crisis provides opportunity for God to expand and grow our skill sets.

  • bacling

    Here is what I appreciate about Pete's blog post which I think may also be a lesson for us as leaders, and yes the crisis provided the opportunity. Crosspoint was missional. They did something for somebody else, for the community, and they didn't wait. They sacrificed for the sake of those who were hurting. After having heard Reggie McNeal speak about this and reading his book about changing the scorecard for the church, I am more convinced than ever that this is what the church must do to reach people right here in America. We lost that somewhere along the way and became very focused on self and our empires instead of expanding the Kingdom. Thanks to Pete and to Crosspoint for being an example of the missional church.

  • Timothy Childree

    WOW,,,,,looking forward to an excellent read !!

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

    Thanks for the giveaway. Heart breaking what Nashville is still struggling through.

  • http://www.miller4family.blogspot.com Leslie Miller

    I am leading a small group of 10 women ages 25-40 and we are studying the book "PLAN B". God is doing amazing work and touching our souls in ways only He can.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Excited for your group Leslie. Praying God does some huge things through you guys.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/christopherbmac christopherbmac

    Like Jeff, I was an unwilling participant in a divorce. One piece of advice that I was given by a close friend was to act with integrity no matter what happens or what I hear because people are watching even though you may think they're not. As a volunteer youth leader with my church I knew that how I responded to this crisis in my life can/will have an effect on those I was leading and in their lives as adults. As a result of this I made a concious decision to run to God with my needs and not run from Him to set an example that they should follow. Was I always perfect? No, but I did my best and I lived my life in front of them doing the best I could and being as transparent as possible.

  • Julie Holland

    Thanks for the chance to win one of the books. On dealing with crisis……I think my biggest life "crisis" to date has been the many year illness and death of my Mother who died in 2006. Take everything a moment, hour, day at a time, breathe, be thankful and joyful in spite of how things are going, try not to let this consume you, take time for yourself, pray, remember other family members, and know that God's plan includes life events and challenges we do not understand and many times do not want to go through, but it is His plan and He will guide us through it.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/dvtaylor Darla

    3 years ago I had reached my dream, or so I thought. In June, my youngest child had just graduated and been accepted to a great college. My husband had attained career success, and the finances that it brought. I had lost 80 pounds and completed a triathlon, we were living in a beautiful home we had built… and all in all, it seemed our dreams were fulfilled.

    2 years and 10 months ago my world cracked. My husband came home early one day to tell me that in the midst of one of his most successful years, the company's new leadership had made a change, he was no longer included.

    Our last 2 years and 10 months have been the most challenging of our lives. I have felt I was drowning. In despair. In confusion. In aloneness. In fear.

    There have been many moments of "God… just this one thing…."
    Moments of desperation and begging and deep sadness.

    And yet deep in my heart, what I want more than anything is to believe that regardless of "this one thing" (however many "one things")… I want to trust God not only is there, but is there for me, with me, loves me. I want the peace that trust brings.

    I found your "Shattered Dreams" sermon series through The Bloom Book Club online. It is a rare chance I would listen to a sermon, but Angie and Jessica are so real and their hearts so tender- and my soul is just hungry enough- so I listened.

    I've lived with shattered dreams. I've struggled with seeking to control – yet knowing in my heart I could not control. My heart's prayer has been to become a better person through this journey. To grow. To become more tender, aware, present. My struggle has been to keep hope, and not become hard and bitter and cynical.

    Your messages encouraged me. Your words remind me of truths I have known and help me look forward with renewed hope and faith.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.recklesscertainty.com David

    Keep hearig good things about Plan B. Hope to read and pass along soon.

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

    In 2003, during the middle of intense fighting in Iraq, I became good friends with an Iraqi man and his family. His name was Mr. Mohammad. We couldn’t speak to one another. So we would just sit and contemplate each other’s world. I had great plans for Mr. Mohammad and his dear family. Until one day, an explosion so great, destroyed those plans, and our unspoken relationship.

    His daughter was 18. At 5:45am, as she was staking down her cattle to graze, the stake struck an armed fuse in the ground. When the dust settled, she was left fighting for her life for 20 minutes. I can still hear the screams and wails form the family members, including my good friend, Mr. Mohammad. His swollen eyes pierced my heart. He would never speak to me again.

    Lesson Learned: Although we need to plan for Plan B, sometimes Plan B doesn’t plan for us. When our leadership, rank, values and love for someone we’re trying to help, is totally cutoff for whatever reason, even in a crisis, we have to be prepared to believe that God has His divine Plan B in operation. If not, it’s becomes very difficult to go forward in life.

  • JD Nardone

    Lessons learned: His ways are higher…’my’ plan b often looks more like His plan a. I am no longer interested in good ideas, strategies, etc., I only want to pursue/engage God ideas. I am not the real leader, He is…working through me, if I allow Him to. I think too much, so I need to pray, listen, more. If I rely on my life’s experiences and natural skills, then I will reach a limit on my success(naturally), but when I focus on my spiritual gifts and developing an intimate relationship with God, through Jesus, daily, then I am fully equipped to achieve supernatural results (then, He, alone, gets all the glory). We are limited, He is not. Planning is good and necessary, but His plan will unfold, and it may conflict with my best attempt at controlling life. Becoming like a little child (3-4 yrs. old), is required, but often difficult for leaders…this is the key.

  • Debbie

    I have read "Plan B"…and I can't quite saying what an absolutely EXCELLENT book it is. The most important reason I have for saying this is that it continually and consistently puts the focus for living with/through/in the midst of "Plan B" experiences where it belongs — on God. Our God is the ultimate and only reliable leader and He is the one who has all wisdom, understanding and perfect motives — no matter what may seem to be the deciding factor He truly is the deciding factor and we can trust Him enough to follow Him no matter what. "Plan B" is a book that helps us focus on "Plan A" laid out by a loving God.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv Pete Wilson

      Thanks for your kind words Debbie.

  • Michael

    Testing. Please ignore. Thanks

  • Michael

    Testing via firefox. Please ignore. Thanks

    • Michael

      Testing response via firefox. please ignore.

  • http://bryanlopez.com Bryan

    I would love a copy of this!

  • adam0926

    At the beginning of my high school career, I absolutely ate, drank, and lived football. In fact, I had already made up in my mind to play professional football one day and there was nothing that would convince me otherwise. However, God had different plans for my life. After suffering over 30 pinched nerves, I was told that I had nerve damage up my spine and that to continue to play would lead to potential paralyzation and a .001% chance of death. However, hardheaded as I was, I decided to play anyways and received a blow that would put me out of football forever. Two months later however on a trip with my church, I experienced Christ like never before, accepted him as my savior and received what i believed to be my unmistakable call into vocational ministry of which I am still pursuing today. Through this, I learned that to truly be a leader, I have a responsibility and obligation to seek first the will of God for my life, not what I think the will of God is for my life. So many times, these two can be confused and we will begin to justify our own decisions based on human logic to make them sound like it is really the direction that God wants us to take.

  • http://www.marcmillan.com Marc Millan

    Absolute Gold bro. wow. Incredible insight. I love these two lines the most here…
    1. A good dose of humility and collaboration will serve you well while leading through crisis.
    2. If you will stay quiet long enough, you will start to hear some creative brilliance rise to the top.

    • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

      Thanks Marc.

  • http://www.NewGenCommunity.org Joe Slaughter

    We were new to the school and my kindergartner’s invitation to a birthday-swim party was the perfect opportunity to make new friends. I had no idea that by the end of the party, everyone in the class would know exactly who I was.

    Since my son was not confident in swimming, I kept an eye on him while I got to know different parents. Suddenly, a mom pointed at two little girls under the water and said, “They aren’t coming up.” The water was only five feet deep and the children were only six feet from the edge of the pool. The children were splashing, grabbing at each other, spluttering water and trying to get air as they pulled each other under again.

    “Plan A,” the perfect plan with an assurance of success was to call the lifeguard. He was trained to rescue children. I saw him a long way off, talking to someone, not in the water. “Plan A” would take too long for this emergency.

    “Plan B” was the worst plan I could imagine. It meant losing my personal dignity. Jumping into the five-foot deep water while fully clothed. Clothing, shoes, watch, cell phone, favorite pen – everything would be soaked. But there was no other way to save those little girls.

    In our efforts to be efficient and achieve strategic results, we prefer “Plan A.” It’s definitely the best choice when things happen the way you want them to. But in every project and in most of life, we seldom get to experience a perfect “Plan A.” Usually, some things have to be modified to achieve results and we end up with a mixture of “Plans A and B,” pushed into action to solve problems we knew nothing about until we were in the middle of an experience.

    My concerns about “Plan B” were correct. My personal dignity was gone. But the children were happy and the parents remembered me for the rest of the year.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/kellysinging KellySinging

    I've discovered numerous lessons can be learned from even mini-crises in day to day living which will help equip us for a major crisis if we are willing to pay attention. "Little" things such as the teacher for the Children's Church class couldn't come at the last minute and you are left to improvise the whole lesson. Or your equipment is fouling up and it's affecting the worship service. I've observed the difference when a leader has responded with anger or discouragement and I decided I didn't want a negative reputation with my team. I've learned a leader's attitude towards any situation will greatly affect the atmosphere and cause others to respond in a healthier way. I've learned not to complain about continual frustrating circumstances. It has been great to teach my kids these same principles. It's true that children will cry over spilled milk, and I start with even petty things such as that to reproduce character in them. God said those who are faithful in little will be faithful in much (Luke 16:10).

  • Michael

    Look forward to reading your book and hearing some of your sermons

  • http://www.underthewood.com Ryan Underwood

    One of my first trips as a youth pastor, a full night of planned activity fell-through, leaving us scrambling. while not really "crisis", I did observe that both the students and the leaders with me very quickly began to lose focus and as a result, begin complain and push the limits. I became frustrated because I was working on getting a new plan together and needed them to hang with me. Afterward, I realized that I should have stepped in much earlier as the leader, not necessarily with a plan, but rather with an assurance that we'd be able to stay on track. It felt like a playing out of the scripture "without a vision the people cast off restraint". I, as the leader, failed to give them a new vision, even if that vision was only that a new plan was coming quickly. Live and learn…

  • http://www.beingagirlbooks.com Shannon

    Several years ago my husband was on staff at a church that was downsizing and no longer had a place for him. Someone in the church offered him a position working for their company and a few days before he was to start a hiring freeze took place. We were stuck. With no place to work and no experience outside of ministry we had no choice but to seek God and knock on every door we could find.

    Through an unexpected turn of events he took a risky commission-only sales position with a friend and by God's grace was quickly able to work his way to the top of his company. A few years into this journey he was able to fulfill his dream of going back to school–and pay cash for his degree. This "Plan B" has now moved us to a new city and opened up numerous ministry adventures that we would have never experienced had my husband stayed in vocational ministry or been hired for that other position.

    All of this has taught me that there really is no cookie cutter definition of ministry. Far more lives have been reached through my husband since he hasn't been on a church payroll. Sometimes God really is in change even when it looks contrary to what you would expect from Him.

  • http://chocolatenonuts.blogspot.com Carrie Padgett

    The adage, “Leaders aren’t born, they’re made,” is proven true over and over again. Nelson Mandela. George W. Bush. George Washington. Florence Nightingale. Leaders don’t go looking for people to lead. They see a need, jump in to meet it, and bring others along with them. That’s the test of a leader: who does s/he bring with him/her?

  • http://www.uticamission.org Bill Dodge

    At the rescue Mission where I work, I think I could site many “crises” that require leadership. We often say that interruptions are not annoyances, they are our job.

    But a true crisis is that we have a neighbor who is bent on destroying our organization by legal threats and media bashing of our organization. I have learned to remain positive and to respond when the attacks take place. It looked a lot worse for us when I tried to remain silent as I had been advised.

    I have also learned to listen broadly as is suggested in the blog by Pete Wilson. At this point we have several lawsuits pending, and it is a really great distraction to our work (why does someone want to sue a homeless shelter???) but I have found in a way it has helped me seek out leadership lessons I may have learned in no other way.

  • http://gottabthankful.wordpress.com Brian

    The past 3 years have been a non-stop crisis for my family and I. My wife and I had a nice 6 figure income and were living comfortably within our means. We both lost our jobs within a few months of each other. I was working in the Christian Magazine Publishing world and my wife worked in the Christian music world and both had a major downturn in 2008. We are both working now but our income is about 1/5 of what it was. Through this situation our faith has deepened to new levels. We have learned how to trust fully on God. I have learned how to really step up and be the spiritual leader of my house. I know that by God’s grace I have been able to show my children how to step up and be a leader through very hard times.
    The biggest lesson that I have learned about leading in this crisis has definitely been that I can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. I must keep moving forward even when I don’t want to. On the bad days when the weight of the world is more than I can bear, I have to dig deep in my faith and let God know I can’t so He has too.
    I am so very thankful for this crisis that still hasn’t passed us by. I am learning to live in my crisis and I can’t wait to give God the Glory for it all when it ends.

  • grace w.

    I'm going to be really honest with you and say I'm not even sure this qualifies, but I'm going to try anyways.

    I want this book, quite frankly, because my life is one big fat plan B. Nothing, and I mean nothing, has turned out the way I thought it would. I was a reckless youth that did and experienced things I couldn't even type here. I have struggled my entire life with demons I am sick to death of. But, I went to one of the most (if not "the" most) renowned Christian Universitys in the country because I thought I should, and because I thought it would "fix" me if not at least get me on the way to being fixed… but what I left with was incomprehensible depression and enough in loans to buy a small house (so not kidding). And because of circumstances beyond my control, I was forced in my mid-20's to move back in with my parents, where I still reside- BUT, with no job to show for my education.
    Here I am now, a few years from 30, with no money, no career, no real true friends, no church, no family of my own, debt I can't even wrap my mind around….. not to mention depression, anxiety and a host of other mental "afflictions". I pray every single day that God would simply move in my life, let me know He is there and He cares and still in fact has a plan for me like I read so many times growing up in my southern Baptist church- BUT for whatever reason, God has chosen to remain muted in my life. Silence is all I have ever known from God and I am sick of it. I just want everything to change. All I want is to be in a place where I experience true joy and contentment (not to be confused with happiness) like Paul talked about… and make a difference in this world on some level. There are things like adoption and woman facing or that have faced abortion (for obvious reasons) that I am incredibly passionately about, and want to "get in to" so to speak, I just don't know how.
    I thought Pete's book could, at the very least, give me a good word on where to go from "here". A very dark, very scary "here"
    But, this wasn't pity me post… I promise. I just wanted you to see where I was coming from.

    Thank you, Mr Hyatt, for reading this. :)

  • Dennis Preston

    Probably the greatest lesson in leadership I learned during a crisis was when I was put on probation for a company I once worked for. I, along with other sales people, had "perfected" the art of complaining about why we coud not get business done, so much so as to excuse myself for not achieving my numbers. I knew my #'s weren't good, but still I was shocked (can you say self-pity?) when I was put on probation. After stewing for a while, I then read about the greatest releaser of high achievement in a person's life, but the one that most of us avoid at any cost: adversity (thank you to Rick Joyner for this insight). He said often those who have the greatest talents, when given special breaks, do not reach their potential. But those who have to overcome hardships, develop skills and bring forth talents they never knew they had.

  • Dennis Preson

    Part 2
    I realize my situation/crisis was of my own doing; yet, when I took responsibility for achieving no matter what the circumstances, I began to grow, and achieved numbers that even surprised my boss, who had put me on probation. So, in a nutshell, what appears as if it will crush you or your organization (after all, we are an organism, and have to bring to collaboration our various skills and talents to achieve, just like a leader does with a group), will often be the thing that propels you to greater heights.

  • Flo

    Your four leadership lessons are on target, in my experience. I would add one more to your list that I have learned over the 20 years I have led nonprofit human services organizations. That is this: Do not be afraid to admit when you are wrong and then apologize. This may not be applicable for a team mobilizing a flood response, but in a crisis of the business kind, it sure does fit. Humility is not a common trait, so when someone is willing to admit a mistake, an error in judgment, or an organizational or personal misstep, people pay attention. Just think how much better off we would be if some of our political and business leaders paid more attention to admitting their mistakes and less on covering them up.

  • Peggy

    When you own your own small business, you are always having a Plan "B". Never would I have thought I would have to come up with a Plan B for my staff when one of our very regular customers suddenly died of a massive heart-attack.

    This customer was very loyal to our business. Everyday he would sit in the corner table with a friend and compose music, write and just meet with people. He was known for his gifts in jazz music and often played in our coffee house to help bring in customers. He loved talking with our staff members, wearing tie-dyed shirts and drinking our coffee. My staff was extremely devistated after they received the news of his passing. Having a young college-aged staff, I struggled on how to help them cope with this. Then the idea hit…make and wear tie-dye shirts to his funeral service.

    So with his widow's blessing, my husband, myself and our staff members made tie-dye shirts and wore them to his funeral to honor him and what he meant to us. I believe "Plan B's" can sometime be very simple way to deal with devistation or a crisis.

  • johnsonrn

    Having been the lead pastor of churches for over thirty five years I have encountered a lot of crises. However, the ones that were the most challenging were those where someone attacked my integrity and character. Being the personality I am, my first reaction was to defend myself (or to be perfectly honest to put the other person in their place). As I started to verbally putthis other perosn in their place God's still, small voice simply said – BE QUIET! After a few brief moments of demanding an explanation from God, I simply obeyed.

    I learned that I cannot and must not defend myself. If I am wrong I just need to admit it and ask for forgiveness from the other person or persons. If I am not wrong I cannot convince them of that. So, I have learned (and am still learning) that it is best to let God defend me.

  • http://abinkley.wordpress.com abinkley

    Who knew, when we met at Gower Elementary, that 4 years later everywhere we looked, we would see Pete's face? Not me. I knew it when we started having to add more and more services after moving into Cross Point Nashville's campus. We are proud of you, Pete.

  • http://paulstohler.wordpress.com Paul Stohler

    When I was a youth minister many years ago now, a situation arose in our church. Long story short, I almost ended up testifying in court with a student on each side of the judge’s bench. I learned that no matter how hard it was, or how much it cost me, I had to stand up for the truth. I had heard the testimonies and I knew what was right and what happened. It was up to me to decide if I was going to stand up for truth or play both sides and become political. I chose the side of truth, yet it cost me friendship and more. I know in my hearT that I gained more by standing up for truth in a time of crisis. It is a must!

  • Jon

    Leadership in crisis lesson… I am a Student ministries pastor in FL and I come across all kinds of crisis’ with teenagers some as petty as “my boyfriend broke up with me” to ultra series ones like “I’m depressed and sucial what do I do?”

    One of the powerful and best things we can be for people in crisis is there. I’ve found that people in crisis a lot of times want/need somebody that will simply just “be there.” I think many of us miss out on some much “ministry” because our insecurity takes over and we don’t feel like we have the answer when sometimes the answer is just “being there.”

    A while back we had a girl that OD’d on cocaine and all kinds of other stuff… She was literally at deaths door. The doctors most promising report was “she might live with severe brain damage.” I didn’t have the words to say to the family but I just kept showing up to the hospital. Long story short God supernaturally healed her and 10days later the doctors were amazed to say the least when she walked out with not even one side affect. A miracle is a gross understatement.

    Pastor Pete I am sure you guys didn’t have a clue what to do with the flood, but you showed up anyway. Moses didn’t know what the heck he was going to do with the Israelites but He went. Leadership in crisis is a lot of times about just “being there” and then doing what God asks us to do.

  • Tracy

    I came down from Lexington, KY (Quest Community Church) to connect with Cross Point in their flood efforts. I spent the whole day cleaning out homes of people who lost everything and the greatest thing I leared in that crisis was in the middle of all that devastation God was still moving in people's lives and he was healing through people being his hands and feet. I saw that it takes a village to save a village, and that people still need love and compassion in a world where that is not really showed. I seen that if you show people a true picture of Jesus they will still run to him. The material things of those people was changed that weekend, but because of the leadership at Cross Point church the real important thing may be their eternal lives may have changed by showing them who Jesus really was during that time of need.

  • Letha Schrader

    Just when we thought we were exactly where God wanted us, He threw us a curveball. He moved us out of comfort zone, away from our friends, and Murphy's Law took over; meaning everything that could go wrong did. Why when we had gotten so close to God did He rip away all security we had found. That's when we discovered we were fooling ourselves. We weren't following God, we were following people who had taken God's place. At first, we wanted to leave church. That's when God found us and showed us HE iS the BOSS! Now we've moved cities, downgraded houses, and are entering new means of service. I'm so thankful that He took over and put people in our path that we could trust!

  • 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.


  • 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

    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!!