Leading in the Storm, pt1
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
From time to time, we have storms in our lives. Currently, we are facing a storm with COVID-19 that impacts every area of our lives. The temptation is to come up with a quick answer because, after all, leaders give answers. However, a quick answer may not be the right answer or may only be a partial answer.
If you don’t ask the right questions, you won’t get the right answers.
In Scripture, there is a pattern with those we esteem so much, that these guys had the ability to ask very uncomfortable questions. Good leaders, especially in a storm, will not avoid the elephant in the room.
In Judges 6, Israel was in trouble. God had turned them over to the Midianites. Every harvest season, the Minianites would raid the Israelites’ harvest. Israel was suffering greatly-- economically and in every other way. They began to cry out to the Lord.
Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.” Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’”
Gideon asked two questions: If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about?
This is not to say that just because we are with the Lord, we don’t have problems. What Gideon was seeing is that things were bad, there was no hope and no progress, there was no leader. He was seeing a disconnect. In the past, he saw that even when there were problems, resistance, and/or oppression, there was hope, blessing, and progress. He wasn’t seeing that then.
Years ago, I had a great conversation with a state legislator in Pennsylvania. We were discussing how to move forward on some of our pro-life activities. He said, “You have to find churches that do missions. Only churches that believe something is wrong will attempt to fix it.”
That might sound simple, but it is profound. I had to find people who were engaged in missions; those are the people, he was saying, who will get involved in pro-life work. I changed my focus. I found churches that were doing missions, and those were the churches that became our pro-life partners. They saw the pro-life issue as part of the gospel issue. They understood, as local congregations, that they were there to remedy problems.
The Elephant in the Room
In Judges 6, the Midianites were a problem. The Midianites were a problem, because Israel had created the problem. Israel had sinned. And God didn’t snap His fingers to draw them out of it. He looked for a man who would ask the right questions that would mobilize people to move forward and work on a remedy.
In our nation, we are looking at a big problem. The problem is not JUST the virus. Obviously, the virus is definitely a problem. The problem that pertains to us, on a local level, is how do we do our vision? The problem isn’t: How do we come together on Sundays? Yes, that is part of the problem, because coming together on Sundays is part of the vision. It’s a critical part of the vision, and you can’t do the vision without coming together. But you don’t have to come together just on Sundays. What this forces us to do is to be the church outside of our own context. We have contextualized ourselves to just be a Sunday morning group. We would like to deny that, because our values and theology deny that. But our habits and our culture confirms it. That’s how it’s been. I’m not saying there is something wrong with that. But right now, we can’t depend on that anymore.
This situation, this elephant in the room, must cause us to understand that this is not just a virus problem, but a problem of how we do our vision. How do we do the things that God has told us to do without necessarily packing as many people into a building on a certain day of the week (which is our norm and not a bad strategy)? The church does need to meet, come together, reach out, have corporate worship—that might just require some creativity for a period of time.
When God came to Gideon in the midst of problems, He called him “a mighty man of valor.” God called out who he was. Gideon asked God great questions: If Your presence is here and Your purpose is here, why is all this happening and where are Your miracles?
When you actually diagnose a real problem that is worth solving, you will need a miracle somewhere in that remedy. You are going to put your heart, wallet, and hand forward, but somewhere in that mix, there is going to be a miracle. This is important to understand. When we lead in a storm, we must ask the right questions, discern, diagnose, discuss the problem, fix our eyes on the solution, and then we begin to move forward.
Problems come. But the pattern of oppression and defeat is not something that God wants us to live in.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!