8 Decisions Leaders Should Make During a Crisis


One of the best books I’ver every read on leadership is A Failure of Nerve by Edwin H. Friedman. It’s a challenging read, but well worth it. The author was a Jewish counselor who wrote extensively on a counseling philosophy called Bowen Family Systems. The more I read about this way of looking at church leadership through ’systems’ eyes, the more I wish I had understood these principles 25 years ago. It would have saved me a lot of angst. Friedman lists 8 principles that leaders should practice when facing a crisis. I’ve paraphrased them and adapted them to pastoral leaders below.

What leaders should do in a crisis.

  1. Don’t let the crisis become the axis around which your world revolves.
  2. Develop a support system outside of your church such as counselors or other pastors.
  3. Stay focused on long-term goals.
  4. Practice spiritual disciplines.
  5. Listen to your body.
  6. Work out the balance between being responsible for yourself and being seen as difficult and self-centered.
  7. Keep a sense of humor.
  8. It’s time to make decisions when the same question brings no new informati0n.

When you’ve faced a crisis, what has helped you weather it?

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