Leadership Lessons From Seinfeld – FIRE!!!

Posted: March 13, 2009 in Church, Leadership

One important role of a leader in the church is to discern the nature of smoke (tension/conflict) and determine whether or not there is a real fire (imminent threat to the community).

I have found that in church life there will always be tension and or conflict among people.  WE are people after all.  But surrounding the tension and conflict are other people who can be easily incited and quickly panicked.  So at the first sign of smoke (tension/conflict) they are running around the church screaming “FIRE!!!”  What begins as a little smoke, through their dramatic response, becomes a raging inferno (at least in their retelling). 


  • Jump on the phone and call their friends. 
  • Have conversations in the hallways talking about the massive fire (conflict) that is underway.
  • Exude a spirit of panic and it is passed through e-mails, insinuations, and off-handed comments. 

In reality…it is just a little smoke.  There is no need to panic or freak out.  What is more dangerous to the church (the innocent children, older ladies, etc.) is the RESPONSE of the panicked person who is screaming “FIRE!!!”.

Good leaders know how to quickly defuse the situation by: 1) remaining calm (even if their is fire)…nothing is worse than trying to follow a panic-struck leader; and 2) speaking truth into the situation.  “There is smoke…but we are not in a blazing inferno.”  “There is tension between two people, but they will work it out…don’t make this into something it’s not.

By leading in this fashion, you bring about homeostasis (something we’ll talk more about in an upcoming post), and protect people from being trampled.

I LOVE SEINFELD!!  This is one of my favorite clips… “seemingly…to the untrained eye.” 🙂

  1. Jennifer C says:

    I agree with this 100% and find it interesting that you posted this today because I was thinking that I can be a person who jumps off “FIRE” very quickly when I am upset or mad. This is not a good gift that I have and I have realized this recently. One of my “goals” is to realize that people are just people and everyones REALITY is based on their own PERCEPTION of a situation. My perception is not the same as anothers in any given situation. It is good for people to have voices of REASON and that is something that I do not always have, as I am a very emotional human (look out).

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