Against My Better Judgment

I was recently talking to another Executive Pastor who was graciously asking me how we’ve been doing since the Flood in Nashville.  He was praising our team for how quickly we responded and served our community in that crisis.  And I had to be honest with him and tell him that it was “against my better judgment.”

I know, I know… that sounds horribly insensitive and calloused, but here’s what I mean.

Responding to the catastrophe of the flood was one of the most intense leadership situations I have ever found myself in.

We had to move.

We had to move fast… and we had no idea how.

Literally we asked volunteers to show up to help with flood relief and we had no idea what we were going to have them do.  I’m not joking.

We didn’t know exactly how to prep them and we certainly weren’t prepared with paperwork, tools, supplies, etc.

We didn’t do any of the things that a responsible Executive Director would normally be sure to do.  (I shudder just thinking back on it.)

But here’s the deal.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t thinking about the need for those things.

It wasn’t that I was throwing all caution to the wind.

It just wasn’t practical or possible in the state of emergency that we were facing for me to have every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed before we acted that Monday morning after the flood waters had ravaged over 10,000 homes in our community.

People needed hope and help immediately and they couldn’t wait on forms, procedure & process.

Talk about a “grey” leadership issue.  The compassionate side of me was aligning with our pastors to create an action plan to get people out to help, but my administrative side was raising red flags about the need for order, systems and protections.

This wasn’t black and white.  It was grey… really grey.

In the end, I believe we did what God called us to do that day.  We responded.  We loved people.  We provided hope for people.  And we provided practical help on that first day of recovery.

And to put you administrative types at peace, we did add all the proper administrative paperwork.  Even by Day 2 of relief efforts much of those things were in place.

Why didn’t we wait a day to have all of our “ducks in a row”? Because honestly, hurting people couldn’t wait for that.

For another day, another time, another project, you better believe that we’ll have our administrative stuff in order.  For events that are planned and prepared in advance, there’s no excuse for not following proper protocol and protections.

That’s wise.  It’s good stewardship of the responsibility we’re entrusted with as administrative leaders.

But every once in awhile, you’ll get thrown a leadership curve ball and you gotta pray for discernment in leading through the shades of grey.

Ever found yourself in one of these situations?

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  • Morgan July 20, 2010  

    I came to CP for the first time the weekend after the flood. I was FLOORED to see the photos and video of what you guys had put together at the drop of a hat. God didn't care about paperwork when He called on you guys to help. And you responded the way you should have. I love it. The staff at Cross Point is unlike any I've ever witnessed, and I've only been exposed to a handful of you. God made storm clouds grey for a reason. You don't know what is going to come from them, but you know you need to take action. You guys did. So proud to be apart of this inspirational community!

    • jcatron July 20, 2010  

      Thank you so much Morgan!

  • Janice July 20, 2010  

    Morgan, I love the "storm clouds grey for a reason" analogy. Jenni, I'm so proud of you and your leadership through it all! Your heart is so big and this crisis just proves your capabilities whether black & white or grey. The Lord has blessed CP because you guys DO what He has called all of us to.

    • jcatron July 20, 2010  

      Thank you Janice – you are such a great encourager! Thankful for you!

  • alece July 22, 2010  

    i know i tried the last time i saw you, but i can't really find sufficient words for how much i respect and admire you and the ways you responded in the midst of this crisis. i learn so much from your leadership, jenni. thank you for being such an incredible example to me.

    • jcatron July 23, 2010  

      Alece, you are so sweet. Thank you for your encouraging support. So thankful to call you friend!