5 steps on Leading Your Team Through the Unknown
Since January 2019, our country has been amid its most unknown and daunting eras of it’s time. Many leaders have felt the weight of not knowing what to do. Leaders can deal with the unknown by burying themselves in confusion or leading their organizations and teams through the chaos. When a leader reacts to society’s issues, they either find themselves reactively embracing excuses or proactively finding solutions. Youth Leader, what are you doing with the influence God has given you? We all have in common, especially in times of crisis, a charge to have compassion and care for tomorrow’s future thought leaders during unknown circumstances and conditions.
But how? How do we do this in the presence of everyone’s opinions? Where does this type of leadership boldness come from? We must sit in the stillness of our mediation and disengage from our trusted, well-thought plans to indeed produce what God called us into leadership to accomplish. It is in this space where these next five steps, I pray, will act as guidance steps in your leadership journey.
The first step you can take with your team during these uncertain times is to simply stand. God’s word reminds us that we should put on the whole armor of God.
Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (Ephesians 6:13 -14)
During the unknown, maybe you are not to be the example of knowing what to do, maybe God is calling you to be an example of standing in your faith, trusting that God knows what to do. Often well-thought leaders feel the answer in unknown circumstances can be found in the next engagement of intellectualism. However, what if the answer was in your next step of faith. Which is to be seen by standing in the unknown.
The second step in this journey is to “take heart” in what you are embracing in your leadership journey through the unknown. Leaders cannot lead their team through the unknown if they have not accepted the unknown. “Be strong and take heart, all of you who hope in the Lord.” (Psalms 31.24). Let’s blend this biblical smoothie with the mandate found in the great commission. Jesus reminds his followers in verse 18 that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him” (Matthew 28:18). When we embrace the unknown and our lack of authority in the unknown, youth workers can rely upon and trust in God’s sovereignty in the unknown. As we take heart and lead our teams through the unknown, we can trust in the authority of His peace ruling over our hearts. If we take heart, we must let the peace of God become the umpire (the final say).
The third step is with our minds. One example of this is found in the African American thought leader Arthur Fletcher. He was head of the United Negro College Fund. Arthur led this organization during one of the most challenging times in American history and coined the phrase, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Arthur’s philosophy is still important as we apply it in leading our teens through the unknown. What we do and how we think when charged to lead is important! Many leaders today don’t know what is happening in society anymore. It is in these moments I like to wait for a second thought to show up. Leader, I like to call this trusting in the afterthought. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “afterthought” as an idea occurring later or something (such as a part or feature) not thought of initially: something secondary! Leader, my philosophy is simple: Once you take your heart to God, God can trust your mind. Take a step into the unknown with your mind today.
The fourth step is toward getting wisdom and getting it today. Unknown territories require unknown tactics. It is here, Youth Workers, that we must find someone who doesn’t look like us, think like us, and have the same background as us to guide us through these seasons of unknown. It can be challenging to wrap our minds around this if we aren’t first open to the Lord for wisdom.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.(Proverbs 3:5-6- King James Version)
Today, allow God’s wisdom to overwhelm what is overwhelming you. Ask God to help you! Heavenly Father, will you grant us knowledge and understanding during this uncertain time of leadership.
If God is willing to give us answers, are we willing to listen to them? Youth Worker, let’s submit our youth programming, creativity and plans to God from a place of humility. Our postured heart could be the invitation necessary for answers in unknown places. It can be scary at times “not knowing” what to do, but in that place of “knowing” not what to do allows God to “do” in your leadership. Let’s be honest, God needs our faith in leadership, not our face. God doesn’t need our poker faces. The Lord just needs your heart. Will we let Him humble our hearts today? C hoose to submit to Him as we take our team through the unknown.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.