by | Sep 14, 2023 | Leadership, Ministry Leader, Pastor, Surrender, Trust

Leadership tosses a variety of storms our way . . . some are garden variety storms; others are white-knuckle events.

In today’s post I want to unpack a familiar passage of Scripture with you, explore some of the larger storms leadership tosses at us, and then outline four “seismos moments” tips I hope you’ll find both helpful and encouraging.

In Matthew 8:23-27 we’re introduced to the following story: “Then he (Jesus) got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Leadership has its stormy seasons, right?

In verse 24 Matthew describes this storm as “a furious storm.” The Greek word here is “seismos” and is normally used to describe an earthquake. In other words, this was no garden-variety storm.

The disciples reacted to this “seismos” moment with panic. In their anxious state of mind, these experienced sailors momentarily forgot Who was in the boat with them. They woke Jesus up with a shout, “We’re going down Lord, don’t you care?” I’m sure they wondered, “How can He sleeping at a time like this?”

Ever been there? Your calling goes through an incredibly stormy stretch, and you wonder, “Jesus, where are You?” The disciples didn’t understand at this point of their spiritual journey that Jesus was Lord over the seismos moments in their life.

Jesus’ reaction is awe-inspiring. He commanded the wind and the waves to be still, and immediately calm was restored. Mark 4:39 says, He “Rebuked the wind.” The aorist tense in Greek is used, which indicates He rebuked the winds once and they ceased blowing and the water immediately became like glass. The disciples were genuinely overwhelmed with shock and awe when they experienced firsthand Jesus’ authority over the wind and the water. They discovered He is Lord of the seismos moments in their life.

Leadership tosses a variety of storms our way:

  1. A personal loss of health—physically, mentally, or emotionally—can be a storm.
  2. People who leave the church you pastor for no sound reason and the pain that accompanies it.
  3. The stinging criticism of some who stay at the church you lead and feel it’s their ministry to tell you everything that’s on their mind.
  4. The infidelity of a staff member that is both personally heart-breaking and puts the organization you lead in a vulnerable spot.
  5. Anything that makes you feel like your leadership life is spinning out of control can be considered a genuine storm.

Some storms are sudden and catch us off guard and unprepared.

Some storms give us advance notice. You can see the dark clouds gathering, if you’re paying attention. The good news is that Jesus doesn’t abandon you even when you miss the storm warnings, because He is Lord over the seismos moments in your calling.

Sometimes Jesus will calm the storm around you immediately—sometimes He will calm you even though the storm still rages. Either way, Jesus is Lord of your storm.


If you find yourself in the middle of a seismos-variety storm, let me share four ideas with you that will help you navigate your seismos moment:

  1. Get on your knees and cry out to Jesus.
  2. Get on the phone and call your safest, most trusted friend.
  3. Reach out to a coach who can serve as a sounding board.
  4. Resist the temptation to jump out of the boat.

Rooting and praying for you today,