Leading in Crisis is different than normal times

  • NEVER WASTE A CRISIS – quickly learn what is going on.
  • Accept your feelings and the feelings of those around them.
    • Acknowledging your humanity (feelings) is not denying God’s divinity. (That doesn’t mean you do not have faith).
    • Your feelings are your feelings.
      • When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, he prayed until his sweat became drops of blood. Jesus was full of faith, yet he also experienced feelings of being overwhelmed.  Jesus prayed, “Father, if it’s possible take this cup of suffering away from me, but not my will but yours be done.”
      •  In this instance, faith = obedience & sacrifice.
    • You may be feeling a certain way – but it doesn’t negate who GOD is.
    • There will be some people around us who are more pessimistic than others and others less so.


    1. Clarity – people want to know what is going on.
    2. Steady Emotions – leaders need steady emotions.
    3. Security – Lets be a calming influence on people – we will face these challenges together and we will get through out with the grace of God and each other.
    4. Speedy Action – do something and do it quickly. The longer you wait – the worse it gets.


  1. You have to collaborate – aks – who’s help do I need… seek advice.
  2. Coordinate with others – find out who else can help me. Coordinate finances and resources.
  3. Give up your turf issues – people tend to start getting more territorial than in times of crisis
  4. Deal with the crisis at hand –  This is not the time to do analysis. Now its time to say to ourselves – ‘How do we deal with the crisis at hand.’  Every crisis becomes time sensitive…
  5. Be a Peace Maker – be a calming voice in heightened emotions. Be a secure and stabilising voice and influence. This is the time to speak life.


    1. Creativity – we new ways of thinking.
    2. Flexibility – I know I used to do it like that – I have to do it another way.
    3. Fluidity –  lets adjust ourselves and make things happen. e.g. meeting on line.
    4. Inspirational leadership – 
      1. We need leaders who bring people up and declare that God is in control.
    5. Need for transparency
    6. Team work – we need a team that will come together and work together as s singular unit going forward.
    7. People need solutions – leaders are solution producers.  Give more solutions… that’s how people get promoted and rise up in whatever sphere of ministry and marketplace.
    8. People need leadership that is PREPARED for contingencies –
      1. the Difference between preparation and planning – Preparation is strategic. Planning is tactical.
    9. There will be conflict –  the distance between expectation and reality is known as conflict… the greater the distance the greater the conflict. If people have an expectation of you and reality is far apart… there’s bigger conflict. Some will agree, other will disagree with you.
      1. Crisis pulls out emotions from people.
      2. It doesn’t matter how well you write it, or say it, you can almost guarantee that misunderstandings will arise.
      3. Don’t take it personally as a leader when you are misunderstood.
      4. Change IMPOSED is change OPPOSED – there will be resistance.
      5. Learn through times of crisis – people see through their perspective and their experiences. When there’s a crisis it gets interpreted through their past experiences. e.g. we reflect through past experiences like the 2008 Global Financial Crisis or SARS outbreak in Hong Kong.
    10. People look for decisive leadership –
      1. Things are move at rapid pace during crises.  You will never have all the information to make a decision. Once the decision and don’t be half hearted about it.
    11. You can never overcommunicate in a crisis – 
      1. be careful that information is cascaded down – Try our best to use communication channels – going through Ministry Leaders & Connect Pastors.
      2. CLOSE the LOOP – those reporting to you have to be constantly closing the loop.
      3. Communication needs to be CLEAR and PRECISE… clarity and precision..
      4. Everyone is hearing the information EMOTIONALLY – even though we may be careful with our words and speak intellectually and rationally, it will still be heard from the heart and feelings.
    12. You can control your decisions but you cannot control the responses of the people – 
        • Often in the quest to play it safe, leaders can create more uncertainty and fuzziness. We need clear communication.
    13. Find your message and say it with precision –
      1. it takes courage as a leader.
      2. it’s not about yourselves – it’s not popularity contest. You will make difficult decisions and it’s still your responsibility.  It won’t be your fault but its still your responsibility.
      3. Its NOW your responsibility to lead through it and work through it collaborate with assurance.


  1. Provide people a safe place to talk without simplistic answers.
    1. Complicated situations… those who want to dialogue.
  2. Don’t make an enemy list.  When it becomes us and them… we become self destructives…  We are in this all together… it does not discriminate between rich and poor and no us and them… no enemy … its all us.
  3. Don’t draw premature conclusions – you’re not a CrossFit.
  4. Differentiate between types of crises – earthquake , flood & fire.  There will be an eventual conclusion to the crisis, probably with a long term recovery.
    1. Everybody wants to know WHEN it will come to an end.
    2. Leading in ambiguity is the HIGHEST LEVEL of LEADERSHIP.  We are now in unchartered territory.


  • the decisions you will make will make you. You (yourself) will change –
    •  how you think and perceive – there will be a new normal … Interpreting of life shifts.
  • During crisis new leaders will rise up
    • Some people who you thought were strong leaders may not be so strong.  The good news is new leaders will arise. Leadership is accelerated during a crisis.
  • Keep your eyes on your team –
    • who is a rising up? who is a stagnant?
    • You’ve got to look back and see the people who rose to the challenge.
  • Reset – Crisis shakes can shake our confidence in many areas but it also provides the opportunity for a RESET.
  • New systems & structures – As we see many churches moving online through technology – there will be new systems and new structures for the future.
  • Remember:  there is life after crisis.

Aa Christians let’s pray for:

  • God to turn this crisis for good;
  • your leaders who are making big long term decisions;
  • wisdom, grace and peace and
  • JOY –  Rejoice IN THE LORD always (not for the bad things that are happening) but for who He is.


(24 March 2020 adapted from Dr Sam Chand)