One of the most powerful things I learned at the Catalyst Conference a couple of years ago in Southern California was from Andy Stanley. He said it was ok to be uncertain but it is not ok to be unclear. In his book “Next Generation Leader” he say, “Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape. There will be very few occasions when you are absolutely certain about anything. You will consistently be called upon to make decisions with limited information. That being the case, your goal should not be to eliminate uncertainty. Instead, you must develop the art of being clear in the face of uncertainty.”
I don’t know about you but that is tough! I think it is so easy to get frozen in place when things seem uncertain in our areas of leadership. Most people decide to do nothing, to keep doing what has always been done because that is familiar. This gave me hope though because there are many times in my ministry where things seem uncertain and it helps me to know that everyone else is just as uncertain as I am. It also speaks to me though about the importance of being clear in the face of that uncertainty. It is crucial for us as leaders to know what direction we are going even if we don’t know all the details of how we are going to get there.
In my current area of ministry my uncertain place is our summer youth mission trip. I have noticed not just at my current ministry but others as well that many times teens will go on a summer mission trip, be excited for a week, then go right back to their normal lives. Obviously this is not true of all the teens but for many it is. The teens will go serve those in need, be happy about being able to help and be thankful for what they have but it really didn’t lead to permanent change. With my team it is clear we want to get to a place where the mission trip not only affects them for that week (or a couple of weeks) but it encourages them to look around their own community when they go home and ask themselves how can I have an impact here? Do I know exactly what I need to do to make that happen? No. Even though the answer to that question is no it is not going to stop me from keeping that vision clear and striving after it in the face of uncertainty.
What uncertainties are you facing right now? How are you keeping your vision clear in light of that?