A Scriptural Framework for Leadership During Crisis
Dear School Leaders (and all leaders):
Below is a scriptural framework that helps me get through tough times. It is a bit long, but I hope it can encourage you. Scripture always has the answer, even for us as public leaders. We must not only remember Who called us but also how to access His peace and wisdom in times like this. And yes, you must also take care of yourselves. His Word covers all of this . . .
Romans 13:1 – There is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
Officials in our nation, states, and communities are making tough decisions that few of us would like to make. Pray thankfully for these God-appointed authorities. This includes school officials or leadership in your organizations. Likewise, if you are in authority, God placed you there. You can count on Him to get you through this – and even more importantly, to bless your schools and community.
Esther 4:14 – “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther did not see herself as a leader, but she found herself in a position to literally save lives. She did not shrink away from that responsibility. Be confident that like Ester, you are in your position for such a time as this. Your schools and communities need you. God has placed you where you are.
I Thessalonians 4:11 – Mind your own business
During this crisis, people will attempt to pull you into many worthwhile initiatives – but as a school leader, you have more than enough on your plate. Mind your own business, people, and family first – otherwise they (and you) could suffer.
John 15:16 – You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.
He chose you for this day. He appointed you to this position as a school leader. He ordained you to be successful on behalf of the staff and students you serve. Your community will get through this, and He is using you to help.
Proverbs 16:9 – A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
Few people enter school leadership as a career choice. Most of us just planned to be teachers, but God somehow directed your steps to your current position. The weight we feel on our shoulders may simply be the hand of God. After all, Jesus did say, My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 28-30) Sometimes, it is simply a matter of changing perspective. What a blessing that He has trusted you at this time!
Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ
God did not free the Israelites so Pharaoh could kill them in the desert; neither did He raise you to your current position so you could fail during this crisis. He established you as a school leader by His grace, and by His grace, He will complete this good work in you. This is His work – we are all just fellow laborers with God. (I Corinthians 3:9)
Matthew 6:35 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Your days are currently filled with enough trouble of their own, don’t add unnecessary stress to them by thinking about things beyond your control or authority. Concern is healthy and keeps you focused on things you can impact. Worry is unhealthy – distracting you from what is important and making you unproductive. You have plenty of staff and students needs to address today without making it harder through worry.
Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
You are facing hundreds of needs and decisions simultaneously. Those concerns can become worries and lead to anxiety, which locks us up mentally. Prayer can miraculously sharpen our vision and focus our efforts back on what matters. Do you bounce ideas off colleagues? Well, bounce ideas off God in prayer, too. It’s spiritual collaboration! It works, and you will have peace that surpasses understanding as you face this crisis.
James 1:5-6 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind
This is the Leader’s Promise! Pray for wisdom and He will provide it, just do not doubt that He will answer. Sometimes it arrives at last minute, but He promises us the wisdom we need when we need it, so do not worry. Pray for wisdom, but be mindful that God’s wisdom has certain characteristics . . .
James 3:17 – But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
James not only revealed the promise for wisdom (James 1:5-6), he also defined Godly wisdom so we would know good wisdom from bad wisdom. Whenever I am arrogant or run people over (which has happened far too often), that is not Godly wisdom. His wisdom starts out peaceable, and if a tough decision is ultimately necessary, it is without partiality or hypocrisy. Your community needs Godly wisdom right now.
1 Peter 5:9 – Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
The enemy will try to convince you that you are the only one experiencing this tremendous pressure. During times like this, we can find some comfort in knowing that we are not alone. Every other school leader in your state is wrestling with the same challenges, problems, and questions. This crisis may be bigger than you, but you are not alone!
Proverbs 11:14 – Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
Since you are not alone in this, bounce ideas off colleagues in collaboration and confess your worries to God in prayer. You cannot be expected to have all the answers, but God has certainly connected you to people who have the one you need right now. And educators generally love to help!
I Samuel 30:6 – Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughter. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
Be ready. Distressed people looking to you for answers will often point fingers of blame at you. They are worried about their families and very lives. When this inevitably happens, do like David did and strengthen yourself in God’s presence, through prayer. Seek fellowship with other leaders who face what you face. Pick up the phone and call a fellow school leader when you are down.
Luke 5:16 – So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
If Jesus had to get away occasionally for His own mental, spiritual, and emotional health – YOU DO TOO! Your people need you. Take breaks and disconnect as much as possible. And pray! You will be better for it!
Proverbs 3:27 – Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.
When struggling with a tough decision, remove any barriers of blessing to the people you serve. Sometimes that simply means getting out of the way. Sometimes that means making a tough call when laws/regulations are unclear. Do not be afraid to do good if you have the power to do it.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 – Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might;
Nothing relieves worry or anxiety like action. Do all you can do to serve your people, and do it with all your might. God’s grace will fill in the cracks. When in doubt, just do what you can do at the moment for the people depending on you.
I Samuel 17: 37 – “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
None of us have faced anything like this. I do not remember the “pandemic” chapter when working on my certification. Nevertheless, David’s past experiences prepared him for Goliath – and likewise, your past “lions and bears” prepared you to protect your people during this crisis. Just like David protected all of Israel from Goliath, you will stand in the gap for your community.
I Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua faced a responsibility that no one had ever faced; nevertheless, a lot of people depended upon him. There was no rule book, but God ordained him to lead a group of people through tough times to an era of unparalleled blessing. I believe our schools and communities will emerge from this challenge stronger and better than ever before. Therefore, school leaders, “be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Be strong, dear leader, for God has placed you in school leadership for such a time as this. Resist worry, serve your people, protect your family, and honor God, for He called you to lead a school and a community. Above all, remember: God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
God Bless You and the People You Serve,
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