Building A Bomb Shelter
I'm too young to remember the Cuban missile crisis. I really don't remember much about the cold war at all except for President Reagan's "tear down this wall." My mom told me a story about how tense things were during that time. So much to the point that when a car had a blowout while driving down their street they thought a bomb had gone off. People were stocking up supplies and building rooms with two feet thick walls of concrete. That's what you do when you anticipate a bomb, build a bomb shelter.
I think that's true of leaders too. When we see a problem stirring, we prepare ourselves and our teams for the impending explosion. We get together all that's important and do all we can to protect it. So how do we as leaders navigate these volatile situations?
First of all we have to be in tune with our teams and organizations well enough to anticipate when an explosion is possible. It could occur for a variety of reasons. I've been in student ministry for a while and for me this seems to occur in direct relation to relationships. Drama builds, someone doesn't handle a situation the correct way and BOOM! This could be dating/romantic relationships or really any relationship. A while back we had a couple, both on my student leadership team, decide they wanted to date. They didn't date very long and the break up wasn't the worst thing we've seen but the backlash of some things not being handled well took our team almost two years to get past. I didn't see it coming so I ended up having to do a lot of damage control and repair work.
Secondly, and this may be the most important step, is try to defuse the bomb. You may be doing this as you pour the concrete walls but it's so crucial. After all, the best way to protect your team from an explosion is to keep it from happening. Ideally people involved in the situation follow what Christ teaches in Matthew 18 and go to them but there are times in which we as leaders have to step in and nudge in the right direction. Explosive Ordinance Disposal is a dangerous job and even though you may lose some fingers, metaphorically speaking, you've saved lives. Have a conversation in a grace-filled way in the hopes it will allow someone to see the results of their decisions. We often don't realize until it's too late that we don't live in a vacuum. Even our ideas have consequences for those in our lives.
Lastly, reinforce the weak places. An explosion, and the debris that comes with it, will follow the path of least resistance. That means the places on your team or organization that are the weakest or the least prepared will take the most damage. That also usually means those places will require the most work to make right again. You don't have to run around yelling "take cover" or "incoming" but you can prepare your team for impending explosions. First by teaching them how to navigate relationships biblically then modeling it in your life and leadership.
How would you go about handling a bomb? Has there been a time in your leadership in which you didn't handle ordinance properly and had to clean up a mess? I encourage you to be intentional with the relationships you have in order to do it well.