Cnlp 338: Sean Morgan on How to Lead Through Unpredictability, Leadership Lessons from the Military, and How to Prepare for the New Normal


Sean Morgan shares crisis leadership insights he gained from serving in the military in the Middle East and combines them with insights he’s learned from working with high capacity leaders in growing churches to give advice on leading through unpredictability, crisis and offer thoughts on what the new normal for churches and culture will look like.

Welcome to Episode 338 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey gives his latest thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis and how to respond as leaders.



One of the things that’s happened in this crisis is that so many people, almost every organization’s budget, has been blown up. And what do you do if you’re a church and your whole giving plan is off? Our friends at Generis have a brand new resource called Your Budget Just Blew Up…Now What? In this eBook, Generis Principal, Jim Sheppard shares some very practical advice on how to strengthen your church right now to weather the current storm and actually thrive in the months ahead.

Generis is making this new resource available exclusively to Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast listeners before they release it to everyone else. And, there’s a bonus chapter just for you. They’re also providing a support hotline during this time. They’ve got you completely covered.

Check out Your 2020 Budget Just Blew Up…Now What?, and get a free bonus chapter by going to

Pro Media Fire

Things are moving lightning fast as we’re walking into the new normal, but what if you had a digital coach to help you successfully navigate this unknown space? I think one thing we’ve all learned in the last two months is digital matters, and Pro Media Fire has realized that for a while.

They’re providing digital coaching and out-of-the-box creativity sessions to help you reach more people. Not only in this moment but beyond. And creative coaching is what drives their most successful program. It’s called the Church Growth Program. Here’s what that includes: Custom website, digital marketing, social media management, custom graphics and videos. And right now, for a very limited time, you get 40% off the regular price.

Apply to book a digital strategy session with Pro Media Fire, and get 40% off for a limited time at


Text CRISIS to 33777 to get access to Carey’s How to Lead Through Crisis online course

CDF Capital

4 Ways to Quick (and Unintentionally) Stop Your Innovation Curve and Miss the Future by Carey Nieuwhof


1.Your opportunities are actually responsibilities

Sean’s experience in the military changed his view of the “warrior mindset.” Most people view the warrior that goes off into battle as being heroic, taking an opportunity. But Sean sees it differently. Sean thinks that if you have been trained and equipped to lead in the challenging times ahead, it’s your responsibility to face those challenges.

Many people will call this opportunity, but Sean calls it good stewardship. So, when it comes to leading through this crisis, he views this as wartime. He sees high quality leadership in this unpredictable season as a responsibility not an opportunity.

2. Stay married to the mission and date the methods

Sean emphasizes that we are married to the mission and only dating the methods. In this crisis, many of you are doing everything you can to preserve your prior method. That is the wrong approach. What needs your time and attention right now is how you are going to keep the mission alive no matter what the methods look like.

Larry Osborne put it this way, “Many times we focus too much on the watering schedule, and we forget about the fruit that we’re after.” The church has a 2,000 year track record of growing and thriving in the midst of these pandemics. We aren’t going to stop now.

3. Keep the good that happened in the pandemic

So many leaders just want to “go back to the way things were.” This is wrong on many levels (Carey writes about why here.) During this interview, Sean points out that there has been a ton of good that has come out of this pandemic.

49% of churches are growing, many churches are seeing more salvations than ever before, and the church is focused on all 7 days of the week more than ever. We can’t lose these improvements when we go back to meeting in-person if we want to continue to thrive.


Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.


Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our new YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen. We’ll add select episodes to YouTube as time goes on.


The world is experiencing a series of unprecedented challenges, and you’re leading in the midst of it all.

I’ve got a brand new online, on-demand course, called How to Lead Through Crisisthat can help you lead your team, your church and yourself through the massive disruption.

The course is the gift from me and my team to you and leaders everywhere. In light of everything that’s going on, we decided to make it available 100% free.

Inside How to Lead Through Crisis, you’ll learn how to:

  • Cultivate a non-anxious presence that inspires confidence and trust.
  • Care for yourself so the crisis doesn’t break you.
  • Master the art of fast-paced, clear decision making.
  • Gather and interpret the most reliable data that will advance your mission
  • Advance digitally to scale past physical barriers and grow your outreach.
  • Lead your team and congregation remotely

While no one has all the answers in a crisis this big, in the course, I share the mindsets, habits, tools and strategies that I believe will help you lead through crisis to get you and the people you lead to a new (and better) future.

You can enroll and get instant access for you and your team here.


Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.

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Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

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Thank you for being so awesome.


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