How to Lead Well During Challenging Times

We are living in challenging times.  2020 has been a difficult year in so many aspects.  

It's easy to lead when things are going well.  But when challenges come, it's time to step up and lead strong.

Let's look at some specific steps you can take when leading through challenges.

Lead well by being there.  Just show up. Face the challenges.  Walk toward challenges instead of running from them. Ask God to fill you with courage and wisdom.  

Acknowledge the challenge.  Ministry has its ups and downs.  We've all been there.  The Bible even talks about being faithful "in season and out of season."  

But sometimes our insecurities will cause us to stick our head in the sand and ignore the challengeWe tell ourselves that the ministry is fine and nothing needs to be fixed...while in our heart we know it's not doing well.  I think we all struggle at some level with our self-worth being tied to how healthy the ministry is and the temptation is to tell ourselves that it's not a slump to preserve our self-esteem.

Talk about the challenge.  This doesn't mean you go around whining to everyone about how bad things are or discourage everyone by acting like Chicken Little.  What it does mean is you gather some key leaders around you and get their perspective on the situation.  You will need others around who can help you work through the challenge. 

Find out why.  Find out what is causing the challenge.  Identifying the "why" helps you fix it.  Some of the reasons may be out of your control.  But usually most of the reasons can be fixed if you identify them.

Fix what you can fix.  What can you do to bring back the energy and excitement?  What can you do to fix the challenge?  Talk through this with your team and implement steps that can help you lead well through the challenge.  

A few years ago, the church where I was serving as Children's Pastor was facing a challenge.  We began to sense that our children's ministry was in a slump.  It started with some of our campus pastors noticing that the children's ministry's energy level at their campus was down.  As we talked with them and faced this challenge, we realized it was true.  In recent months, the children's ministry had kind of fallen under the radar and wasn't the life-giving, momentum-bringing force that it had been in the past.  

So, we decided to face the challenge head on.  We set some specific steps we could take that would help bring the ministry out of the slump.  We decided to have a big weekend where we would highlight the children's ministry church-wide.  The kids would led worship in the adult service, would pray for the offering and we would show a short video of what was coming up in children's ministry.  

A few weeks later, we had a big day for our children's ministry where our kids went all out to invite their unchurched friends. It was a big success with over 220 first-time families coming that weekend. 

We also upped our social media presence big-time with more posts on Instagram and Facebook.  We also began to be more intentional about sharing the stories of kids and families whose lives were being impacted.  We felt the excitement and energy level shift back up and there was a buzz in the air about the good things that were happening. 

There will always be challenges...rather than looking at them as set backs, look at them as opportunities to lead well. 

You can get lots more leadership coaching in my book "Lead Well in Children's Ministry.?"  It's available now at this link or at Amazon.

You can also be a part of our 6 month leadership coaching program for children's ministry leaders.  Dale will partner with you to improve your skills as a children's ministry leader in 6 key areas. You can get more info. at this link.