The Ministry Advantage

Calm is Contagious

If a coach were to walk around from office to office in your organization and ask the question, “When a problem arises here, is your leader calm, cool and collected, or does the person suddenly go into reactive mode to resolve the crisis?” Every person and every situation might evoke a different response. It is in the organization’s best interest to have a plan in place for how it responds to problems.

The old British government’s phrase, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” has taken on new popularity, likely because it resonates with us today in times of crisis. The lead pastor is the one who creates an environment of calm or chaos for the rest of the team. Resolving problems through a filtered perspective versus emotion keeps everyone on task and allows the right decisions to be made in a rational way. This does not mean that the leader is cold hearted and unfeeling, but instead, is able to process emotion as needed and still direct the rest of the team without losing sight of their shared goal.

We Have a Problem

If there is a church, there are people, and if there are people, there are problems. How you deal with the problems in a proactive versus reactive manner will save energy, time and relationships. Not all problems are easy to solve and the filters for defining the root of the problem instead of the symptoms takes time.

It has been stated that by asking the “why” question five times in a scenario, the root of the problem is eventually exposed. By breaking down a process into steps, it is easier to expose all factors associated with the problem. Problem solving requires knowing the dimensions of the problem by examining who is or may not be involved and discerning where and where the problem occurs.

Internal or external factors that affect the problem will also need to be examined. Step back from the problem if it is too difficult to be objective. When it is time to look at potential solutions, it is necessary to consider both advantages and disadvantages to the proposed resolutions.

Going back to the what, who, when where and how questions will also be used in the solution process. Problems affect people and so do solutions. An appropriate solution can only be found if the leader has done enough analyzing and investigating to look for hidden obstacles that will hinder resolving the problem. A careful examination with a decision analysis template will allow an objective outcome; this template will help the individual look at the problem and solution through the right channels.

Ask yourself these questions: What needs to be accomplished by solving the problem? What conditions will hinder or support the course of action? Have alternative courses of action been considered? There are all questions that should be considered before making the final resolution decision. Finally, consider how to determine if the problem is solved. This process takes significant time from individuals committed to the cause, but it is integral to finding the right solution to unique challenges.

Using the Top Guns

Brainstorming with people inside the group or leveraging outside sources may be helpful in finding solutions to existing problems. Many minds are perhaps better than taking on the responsibility and the outcome by oneself. Depending on the complexity of the issue, it is sometimes wise to involve objective individuals who do not have a personal agenda or emotional ties to the situation. The decision making process to resolve the problem needs to take as much time and filtering as the uncovering of the problem.

Calm is contagious. To complete the tasks above requires a calm, clear mind and if the leader exhibits calmness in the midst of the storm, others will definitely absorb the emotional peace that comes from a strong leader.

Remember: quick fixes predict short term solutions.

GOING FURTHER: Free training modules are available online to help your team learn from successful models for creating a culture of intentional families. You can access these links here at Ministry Advantage.

This week’s article is submitted by Russ Olmon, President of Ministry Advantage, and Deb Mertin, Ministry Advantage coach. For more on this and other helpful subjects, go to

For over ten years Ministry Advantage has been one of the premier church resources that provides coaching and training for pastors and church leaders helping them turn their vision into reality.

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