Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Leading Through Uncertainty - FLEXIBILITY

Yesterday in my blog was the first part of my summary of Andy Stanley’s (pictured) talk at Lancaster Bible College last Friday on the topic of, "Leading Through Times of Uncertainty." We saw that uncertainty is a permanent part of leadership. We saw that uncertainty is why we need leadership. We also saw that God is very active and recognizable in times of uncertainty. We then begin to look at the two words that characterize our leadership in times of uncertainty. Yesterday, we discussed the first word which was "clarity."

Today let me complete the summary by talking about the second key word which is FLEXIBILITY. As we saw yesterday, our vision must remain clear and stay the same but we must understand that our plans can change. The problem is that we tend to confuse our vision with our pans. In times of uncertainty, plans fail and when they do we then feel like failures. We must remember that plans fail but even when they do our vision stays the same. That is where flexibility comes in. We should be infatuated with our plans but we should be in love with our vision.

Stanley then wrapped up his session with three final applications. Here they are:

First, be honest with your leaders and your followers. In other words, don’t pretend to know what you don’t know. Learn to confidently express your uncertainty. Respond like this, “I don’t know right now but we are going to figure it out.” Or say, “I don’t know right now but God has always been faithful and He will lead us in this one too.” Those statements express true uncertainty but it does so with confidence.

Second, seek counsel. Leadership is not making decisions on your own but owning the decisions you make. No matter how smart and successful you are you still need to listen and to learn. Isn’t it interesting that the person in the Bible who talked about wisdom the most was the person who needed it the least…Solomon.

Third, pray for wisdom all along the way. That needs no further explanation.

When the session was over, I then had the privilege to be one of 12 people to have lunch with Andy Stanley. We sat around the table in the President’s Dining Room at Lancaster Bible College and for nearly two hours we were able to discuss with Andy all kinds of issues facing the church and church leaders. It was awesome!

My questions to Andy centered around his process of message preparation. I was interested to learn that Andy starts with a team that comes up with the main concept of a series. Then he meets with his creative team (a totally different group of people from his concept team) to discuss the creative elements that can be used for the series. Then it is Andy’s job to put the content into it. Content comes last. My process has always been just the opposite. I always start with the concept, then add the content, then go to my creative team. Now that is something for me to think about!

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