Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leading Through Uncertainty - CLARITY

Last Friday I had the opportunity to hear Andy Stanley (pictured) speak at the Leadership Business Conference at Lancaster Bible College. Andy is the Sr Pastor at North Point Community Church in Atlanta with 22,000 people attending three campuses. In my opinion he is one of the most effective communicators of our day. He spoke on the topic of “Leading through Times of Uncertainty." What a timely topic as anyone who is leading today is leading through uncertain times. Let me use my blog today and tomorrow to try to summarize Stanley’s main points as I heard them and as I wrote them down.

Uncertainty is a permanent part of leadership. We will always be dealing with uncertainty because we always have limited knowledge. Why do we have limited knowledge? We have limited knowledge because we don’t know the future. It is a myth to think that if I were a good leader I would always know exactly what to do. The fact is that uncertainty does not equal poor leadership. Uncertainty is why we need leadership. If there were no uncertainty there would no need for leaders.

God is often most active and most recognizable in times of great uncertainty. Even though life is uncertain, God is not uncertain. We have the opportunity as leaders to leverage uncertainty to the glory of God. In times of uncertainty we have the opportunity as leaders to lead with hope to the glory of God. History, what we would see as the good parts and the bad parts of it, is all about the glory of God. Our ultimate goal as leaders is to figure out how God is glorified in times of uncertainty.

So what do we do as leaders in times of uncertainty? Stanley gave two words which characterize our leadership in times of uncertainty. The first key word is CLARITY. We can afford to be uncertain but we cannot afford to be unclear. The more uncertain times get the clearer we should be about why we are doing what we do.

When Joshua took over leadership from Moses God told him to lead Israel across the Jordan and to take possession of the land He had promised to them. Now up to this point all they had done for the past 40 years was wander. I’m sure that when Joshua gave them the new marching orders there was a lot of uncertainty. But Joshua made sure that they all knew very clearly what the vision was. There were many questions to be answered but one things was immovable…their vision. They were crossing the Jordan.

Uncertainty brings about emotion. As a result it is easy to lose our clarity and make some real bad decisions. We must remember that clarity will trump uncertainty every single time. When times are uncertain, we must retreat back to our vision. One thing must remain crystal clear and that is what we came together to do. That is why having a clear vision is essential. The clearer the vision the easier it is to bring clarity.

Andy Stanley shared the vision of their church that they keep clear. From the very beginning they were in it to, "Create a church that unchurched people loved to attend."

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