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In his book, Geeks and Geezers, Warren Bennis made a scientific study of leaders and what characterized them. He found, “The ability to find meaning and strength in adversity distinguishes leaders from non-leaders more than any one single quality. When negative things happen, non-leaders feel powerless and like victims, leaders on the other hand find fresh purpose and resolve.”

Do you want to be a good youth leader, or a great one? A good Christian, husband or wife, parent, disciple…or a great one? We are currently scrambling, learning how do ministry in a whole new way since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our world. Many jobs have been lost or put on hold, the students we lead that would normally be in school are doing school from home, graduations and proms have been canceled… Not only are our students looking to us for answers, but our personal worlds and routines have been turned upside down. Stop and ask yourself this strategic question from a leadership stance, what are you doing with that tough challenge? Are you letting it make you feel powerless…like a victim? Are you camping out in resentment, hurt or anger? We all certainly do that to a degree for a short period of time, so I’m not trying to call you to a guilt trip, but do you move past the hurt, disappointment, anger, resentment and the bitterness to pretty quickly try to assign meaning and strength to your adversity?

The Bible promises us “In this world you will have tribulation…” (John 16:33) Translated it means, “Don’t look now folks, but it is a promise, you’re going to have trouble.” You’re going to have challenges, that’s life, no matter how amazing a Christ-follower or a leader you are. Great leaders find and assign meaning and strength in the middle of that adversity and from that take some fresh purpose and a fresh sense of resolve.

I call these “crucible” moments. The crucible is that place where we get crushed and what’s inside of us comes out usually by a lot of pressure, sometimes heat, everything but enjoyment. It’s in these moments that leaders move beyond blame to create a future that really matters. How are you doing with your crucible moments?

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