Leading In Difficult Times

Rob Pacienza Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

The COVID-19 Pandemic has quickly changed the world we live in. Uncertainty, fear, confusion and financial loss can cause us to lose perspective quickly. As Christians, how are we to lead in difficult times? How does it look different than the world? Many are faced with challenging decisions in the weeks and months ahead. 

For some, we are in a fog, not knowing what tomorrow will bring. As men and women who follow Jesus, we need a perspective that reflects the reality of our hope. Difficult times can be seen either as an obstacle or an opportunity. My hope is that we do not waste this moment and grow as leaders at home, at work and in our communities. 

One of my heroes in the Bible is the Apostle Paul. He is a leader of leaders. He exhibits a rare combination of strength and humility. If you know anything about his life and vocation, it was anything but easy. In fact most of his adult life is marked by one leadership crisis after another. If anyone understood what it meant to navigate through difficult times it was Paul. 

Nearly 2000 years ago, Paul wrote a letter called Romans. In chapter 15 he demonstrates what it looks like to lead well while dealing with the pressures of this life. Using Paul as an example, my hope is that two things would happen in this season of uncertainty: Clarity of Mission and Dependence on God.


1.Clarity of Mission

Many people have no mission or purpose. Leaders must always have a focused goal. God did not create us to be aimless in this life. In Romans 15:16, Paul clarifies that his singular mission was to bring the good news of God to the Gentiles. I’m sure there were days when he was weary, confused and might have lost perspective of his calling. But here Paul articulates with laser precision his aim in life. Let’s take advantage of this current situation to clarify our ultimate mission for our families and our work. What seemed to be a priority yesterday might not be one today. What changes do you need to make personally and professionally in order to achieve the goal that God has called you to? What distractions need to be eliminated? 


  1. Dependence on God
Printed image of Jesus in Grace Church Chiangmai, Thailand . Printed from the end of 20 cent. Originally by Korean artist

The world says to dig deep in these moments and rely on your inner strength. How’s that working today? The Christian is called not to a life of self-reliance, but utter dependence upon God. Paul could have easily boasted in his accomplishments and sufferings, but in Romans 15:18-19 he chooses to speak of nothing except what Christ had accomplished through him. He can only point to the power of God at work through every challenge that he faced. We are weak, but He is strong. May we lead in such a way that our testimony at home and at work is that we demonstrate a hope and peace that surpasses all understanding. Where in your life, both personally and professionally have you been self-reliant? What areas do you need to completely surrender to God? 


Are you feeling overwhelmed and anxious? Well you’re in good company. So did Paul. But this is what he chose to do about it: he pleads with his friends to pray for him by the power of Jesus (Romans 15:30). Jesus is the perfect leader, not Paul. This is where our power comes from. “In Christ Alone My Hope Is Found.”

On the other side of any challenge or crisis may we be known as leaders who appeal to the only source of true hope and lasting peace. My prayer is that God would use this moment to raise up men and women who have a laser focus mission in life and a rock solid dependence upon Him for every situation they face. By His grace and for His glory, may we lead better than ever before!


Rob Pacienza is Lead Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale. Visit crpc.org

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